Department Of Consumer Affairs Reminds Eligible New Yorkers On Vita Awareness Day To File Their Taxes For Free

Today, on Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Awareness Day, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas reminds New Yorkers that there is just a little over a month left to file taxes before the April 17, 2018, deadline. Commissioner Salas encouraged New Yorkers who earned $66,000 or less in 2017 to file for free using NYC Free Tax Prep available at more than 200 sites citywide or online.

“With Tax Day quickly approaching, we encourage all eligible New Yorkers to use our services to file their taxes safely and for free and to ensure you are maximizing your refunds by claiming the tax credits you’re entitled to,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “We know that New Yorkers need to stretch every dollar to take care of themselves and their families – or even add to their savings, which is why they shouldn’t pay for tax preparation services if they don’t have to. By ensuring that our hardworking families aren’t leaving any money on the table this tax season, we hope to help create thriving communities across the city.”

Throughout the tax season, NYC Free Tax Prep includes more than 200 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and AARP Tax-Aide sites citywide, as well as online self-preparation at nyc.gov/taxprep. New Yorkers can call 311 or visit nyc.gov/taxprep and use DCA’s interactive map to search for the most convenient free tax site, and text “Taxes” to 42033 (message and data rates may apply) to find the nearest location and receive tax season updates and reminders. A checklist of what is needed to file is available at nyc.gov/taxprep.

The City’s free tax filing options:

· For most sites, New Yorkers with an annual income of $54,000 or less with children or $30,000 or less without children, can visit one of more than 200 free tax sites in the five boroughs. At the sites, returns can be prepared in-person by an IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparer or dropped-off to be completed by the preparer. At the convenient drop-off sites, filers can drop off their tax documents and return later to pick up the completed return or receive it by email.

· New Yorkers earning less than $66,000 can file their taxes online for free at nyc.gov/taxprep. The City partners with Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation and MyFreeTaxes, powered by H&R Block and in partnership with United Way Worldwide, to offer these services.

This year the City’s network of free tax preparation providers opened 20 new sites, with new locations in every borough, in an effort to better serve New Yorkers in communities identified as being in need of free tax preparation services and likely eligible for tax credits. Some of the neighborhoods receiving new sites include Eastchester and Claremont in the Bronx; Downtown Brooklyn, Sunset Park and East New York in Brooklyn; Harlem in Manhattan, Elmhurst and Corona in Queens, and the North Shore of Staten Island. Many of these sites are open in collaboration with other City agencies, including NYC Health + Hospitals and the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) through their Cornerstone program sites. DCA is also collaborating with the city’s library systems and other City agencies to make it easier for library patrons and other computer lab users to access the NYC Free Tax Prep’s self-prep service online.

DCA has been conducting outreach events throughout the season, including hosting NYC Free Tax Prep pop-up locations to underserved communities with gaps in Free Tax Prep services and DCA’s first-ever NYC Free Tax Prep-a-Thon, a 12-hour tax filing marathon and resource fair, which was held at schools in all five boroughs. This year’s advertising campaign continues to run in the city’s subway cars, stations, bus shelters, and telephone kiosks, as well as in print, on the radio, and online. DCA sent a targeted mailing to approximately 600,000 EITC-eligible New Yorkers and, with the help of the City’s tax season partners, is distributing approximately 780,000 informational brochures in multiple languages.

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Consumers using a paid preparer should ask the preparer for a Consumers’ Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers (also available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish) and read it thoroughly before having their taxes prepared, and also get DCA’s Tips Regarding Tax Preparers.

For more information about NYC Free Tax Prep, visit nyc.gov/taxprep or call 311. You can also text “Taxes” to 42033 (message and data rates may apply) to find the nearest location and receive tax season updates and reminders and join the #FreeTaxPrep conversation on @NYCDCA’s social media channels.

The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCA licenses more than 81,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCA protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCA empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCA also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCA and its work, call 311 or visit DCA at nyc.gov/dca or on its social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

What you need to file:

Identification:

· Government-issued photo ID (includes IDNYC)

· Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers and birth dates for you, your spouse, and your dependents

Proof of Income:

· Forms W-2,1099s, or income and expense records if you are self-employed (Go to nyc.gov/taxprep for a list.)

Other:

· 2016 tax return (if available)

To file online: You need your 2016 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) or Self-Select PIN Number. If you cannot find this information on the return, visit IRS.Gov/GetReady or call 1-800-829-1040.

· Proof of health insurance coverage or Health Insurance Exemption Certificate for you, your spouse, and your dependents

· Payment records for child care, including the provider’s name, address, and Employer Identification Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, or Social Security number

· Records of cash and non-cash charitable contributions

· Account and routing numbers for direct deposit of your refund

If you are filing a joint return, both spouses must be present.

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