2010-04-09 / Community

Free Tax Preparation Services Available

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz announced that, with approximately one week left before the April 15 deadline to file taxes, more than 2,100 New Yorkers have already used the City’s first ever free online tax preparation site to file their 2009 tax returns. Using the free tool, New Yorkers can claim refunds like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Care Tax Credit (CCTC). As of this writing, of the 2,100 users, over 900 have filed directly through the City’s website www.nyc. gov and 1,200 have used the City’s drop-in locations, which provide free assistance from certified tax specialists. New Yorkers who earn $58,000 or less annually – about 2.7 million people – qualify to electronically file their federal and state tax returns for free on the City’s new online tax preparation service. In 2008, New Yorkers claimed approximately $2.3 billion in total EITC tax credits. During the 2009 tax season, the City’s 311 phone system fielded more than 35,000 EITC-related inquiries.

“Using the City’s free online tax preparation site is the fastest, easiest, greenest, and most accurate way that qualifying New Yorkers can file returns and collect their well-deserved refunds,” said Bloomberg during the announcement. “There are only two weeks left to file taxes, so go online or call 311 for more than 70 tax sites around the City that are helping return thousands of dollars to hardworking New Yorkers for free.”

Free Online Tax Preparation

The City’s first ever free online tax preparation service was created as part of the City’s 8th Annual Tax Credit Campaign, which increases awareness about tax credits that can put money back in the pockets of working New Yorkers. The campaign is spearheaded by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment. The free online service is sponsored by One Economy Corporation – a nonprofit that uses the power of technology to empower people to enter the economic mainstream – with their online tax filing software called The Beehive. City residents interested in filing their taxes online using the City’s new service should visit www. nyc.gov and make sure they have the following information:

•An e-mail address; •2008 Adjusted Gross Income or self-selected pin number (Call the Internal Revenue

Service at 800-829-1040 to get these numbers before filing); •W-2 forms from all employers; •All 1098 and 1099 forms; •Proof of any other income, e.g. lottery winnings; •Total paid for child care provider and the provider’s Taxpayer Identification

Number or Social Security Number (if claiming the New York City Child Care

Tax Credit); •Bank account and routing numbers (if direct depositing a refund); and •Name, address, and phone number of landlord (if claiming the Renter’s Credit).

When preparing tax returns online, City residents should type in “NYC” not “New York” when prompted to fill in their locality from Box 20 on the W-2 form.

Assisted Online Free Tax Preparation

The City also offers drop-in locations where certified tax specialists from Food Bank for New York City can assist New Yorkers as they file their taxes online and answer any question they may have. The following locations offer free assisted online tax preparation, which also includes computer usage and Internet access:
•Northern Manhattan Improvement
Corporation (NMIC) 76 Wadsworth
Avenue, New York, NY 10033-7038
•St. John’s Bread & Life 795 Lexington
Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221
•CAMBA 1117 Eastern Parkway,
Brooklyn, NY 11213 (Enter on Utica
Avenue)
•Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council,
1125 Grand Concourse (between Mc-
Clellan Street and East 166 Street),
Bronx, NY 10451

More than 70 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout the City also prepare tax returns for filers with dependents who make less than $50,000, or filers with no dependents earning less than $18,000, free of charge. Volunteers at the City’s VITA sites help City residents file for many tax credits including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the New York City Child Care Tax Credit. In 2009, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites in the EITC Coalition helped more than 26,900 New Yorkers obtain an average EITC refund of $1,900. With the CCTC, families earning $30,000 or less could be eligible to receive up to $1,733 to reimburse out-of-pocket costs for child care for children up to the age of four.

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