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File tax returns for free at Western New York assistance sites

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Wed, Feb 12th 2020 04:50 pm

NYS Tax Department expands partnership with local colleges to offer more ways to e-file federal and NYS income tax returns at no cost

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance announced it’s partnering with multiple colleges in Western New York to offer free electronic tax preparation and filing resources to students, faculty and members of the community. Those with income of $69,000 or less in 2019 may be eligible to file their federal and state taxes at one of the Tax Department’s free tax assistance sites.

“College students who can no longer be claimed as dependents on their parents’ income tax returns may be required by law to file their own tax returns,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt. “I’m thrilled to help by offering free services to these college students and faculty in our expanding partnership with colleges around New York state.”

Free tax assistance locations include:

  • SUNY Buffalo State University, 1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo
  • Monroe Community College, Downtown Campus, 321 State St., Rochester
  • Monroe Community College, Brighton Campus, 1000 E. Henrietta Road, Rochester

 

Other tax assistance sites are open to any taxpayer earning $69,000 or less in 2019. These include

  • Central (Downtown) Library of Buffalo, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo
  • Central Library of Rochester, 115 S. Street, Rochester

One can find a schedule of dates and times at each free tax assistance site in Western New York on the Tax Department website.

What to bring:

  • Email address
  • Copy of last year’s tax return or the amount of your prior year’s federal adjusted gross income
  • Driver license or state-issued ID (for you and your spouse if filing jointly)
  • Birthdates and Social Security numbers for you, your spouse, and your dependents
  • Income statements (wages, interest and dividends), including W-2 and 1099 forms
  • Statements related to any property taxes paid or mortgage interest payments
  • Forms 1095-A, B or C, Affordable Healthcare Statement
  • Information related to any credits you’re claiming
  • Your banking information (account number and routing number)
  • NY 529 College Savings Plan information if you have an account

Tax Department experts will be on hand to guide you through the tax preparation and filing software. At certain locations, they can assist taxpayers in multiple languages.

The IRS and AARP also offer free tax filing services at locations statewide. If one’s income is $55,000 or less, AARP volunteers and certified IRS volunteers can help them prepare both federal and state returns at no cost. To locate volunteers nearby, visit the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) webpage: Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers.

Free Tax Preparation Software Available Online

One doesn’t need to visit a free tax assistance site, though: If eligible, one can also access and use the same free software anytime from a computer, smartphone, or tablet at www.tax.ny.gov.

Click Free File your income tax return on the Tax Department website to be directed to the tax preparation software. Using the software can reduce filing errors that delay return processing and refunds. It also prevents valuable credits from being overlooked.

Filing information

Your federal filing status is used to determine one’s filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain credits, and correct tax. If one is a New York resident, one must file Form IT-201, Resident Income Tax Return. If one is a part-year resident, one must file Form IT-203, Nonresident and Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return.

One has additional filing responsibilities if one is a New York City or Yonkers resident or part-year resident, or have Yonkers income, or are subject to the MCTMT. To determine the proper forms to file, visit the Tax Department website, www.tax.ny.gov (search: resident).

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