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Free tax filing assistance available in Western New York


Thu, Feb 24th 2022 07:45 pm

Virtual sessions pair taxpayers with Tax Department experts to guide them through filing process at no cost

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance encouraged Western New York residents in need of tax filing assistance to register for a free virtual session. Taxpayers with federal adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less qualify to receive free virtual tax assistance from the Tax Department.

“Our free tax filing assistance program is a simple, safe and secure way for taxpayers to submit their returns at no cost,” Acting Commissioner Amanda Hiller said. “Virtual sessions are available right now for Western New York residents, and I encourage all those who are eligible and in need of filing help to register today.”

During a prescheduled virtual webinar session using WebEx or Zoom, a Tax Department expert will guide taxpayers through free tax preparation software, step-by-step, as they complete and file their own tax return.

To register, see “Register for a virtual FSA session.”

Once registered, taxpayers will receive a confirmation email with a link to an intake questionnaire. Taxpayers can review and fill out the intake questionnaire to ensure they have all the documents and equipment needed to complete their return during the session.

Those documents and equipment include:

√ A laptop, desktop or tablet, plus a smart phone or webcam to verify identity;

√ Basic computer skills;

√ An active email account;

√ All tax documents; and

√ A copy of a 2020 tax return (if filed).

All sessions are virtual so, if a taxpayer’s preferred site is fully booked, they can choose another site.

If a taxpayer can’t find a free virtual session to fit their schedule, they can access Free File software on their own right from home. Free File software is available at the Tax Department website, www.tax.ny.gov. Taxpayers with income of $73,000 or less in 2021 can electronically complete and submit their federal and New York state income tax returns online at no cost.

Nearly 255,000 taxpayers used this software last year, saving them a combined $51 million in tax preparation fees. To be directed to the free filing options, click “Free File your income tax return” on the Tax Department’s website. The department noted, “It’s easy, fast and secure.”

It added, “Free File can help millions of taxpayers claim valuable tax credits without the cost of hiring a tax preparer. The software will help ensure you claim all the credits you deserve, including the earned income tax credit (EITC).

“To ensure you're not charged a fee, you must go to the Tax Department’s website to complete your return. You’ll save on preparation fees, prevent costly errors, and ensure that you receive any refund you’re owed in the most efficient way possible.”

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