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Hochul, Code for America announce March 12 launch of free program to help New Yorkers file tax returns online


Wed, Mar 6th 2024 07:15 pm

Gov. Kathy Hochul and civic tech nonprofit Code for America announced the March 12 launch date for a new tool aimed at making it easier for eligible New Yorkers to file their taxes at no cost.

Hochul’s team said, “FileYourStateTaxes – a joint effort of New York state and Code for America – will allow eligible New York residents to file their state taxes for free and provide integration with the Internal Revenue Service’s direct file pilot, allowing eligible individuals to file federal tax returns online as well.”

“Filing your taxes should be free and simple and, starting March 12, we’re launching a new, no-cost option to streamline the process for millions of New York taxpayers,” Hochul said. “Thanks to our partnership with Code for America and the IRS, New York is delivering on its commitment to helping New Yorkers access vital government services, meet their tax obligations, and recover tax benefits.”

CEO Amanda Renteria said, “Code for America shares New York state’s belief that the tax system should work well for everyone, which is why providing a free, easy way for New Yorkers to file a tax return is a priority for us both. FileYourStateTaxes will help close the tax benefits participation gap in New York and ensure families can access the funds for which they are eligible.”

A press release stated, “New York is one of 12 states participating in the direct file pilot, and one of only three providing seamless, integrated state tax filing. Upon completing the federal return on the IRS website, New Yorkers can export their information from direct file to FileYourStateTaxes and complete a state return within minutes. Built in partnership with Code for America, FileYourStateTaxes can help low- and middle-income New Yorkers save hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees and improve access to critical credits like the state and city Earned Income Tax Credit, and the newly expanded Empire State Child Credit.”

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Amanda Hiller said, “Direct file is a great new tool that will allow certain New York taxpayers to file their federal and state taxes for free – saving hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees. I urge taxpayers to check to see whether it’s right for them.”

Consistent with plans laid out by the IRS, direct file and FileYourStateTaxes will fully open to all eligible taxpayers on March 12. Both products have been undergoing iterative rounds of scaled testing over the past several weeks and are currently available to the public in their final beta testing phase. Interested taxpayers can start their free tax filing process at directfile.irs.gov.

Eligibility to participate in the direct file pilot is limited to filers reporting certain common types of income and claiming common credits and deductions.

Hochul’s team noted, “It is likely you will be eligible to use Direct File if:

√ “You lived in New York all year, and do not have income from another state.

√ “Your only income sources are wages, Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, and/or up to $1,500 of interest.

√ “You want to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, or credit for other dependents.

√ “You only plan to claim the standard deduction and/or deductions for student loan interest and educator expenses.”

Full information on direct file and FileYourStateTaxes eligibility is available at https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/efile/direct-file/, directfile.irs.gov, and fileyourstatetaxes.org.

Additional Filing Options for New Yorkers

FileYourStateTaxes is one of several free or low-cost tax filing options for New Yorkers, and free file services for low-income New Yorkers remain in place.

New York also partners with the Free File Alliance, under which leading tax preparation companies make available free tax software for those who meet income qualifications.

The press release stated, “Generally, if your federal adjusted gross income (AGI) was $79,000 or less, you may be eligible to file federal and NYS income tax returns for free. Learn more here.”

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