NYC Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga today kicked off the tax season and urged all eligible New Yorkers to file their taxes for free through NYC Free Tax Prep.
Residents who earned $85,000 or less and file as a family, or those who earned $59,000 or less and file as an individual or couple without dependents, are eligible to file through NYC Free Tax Prep. NYC Free Tax Prep provides free, professional tax preparation services that helps New Yorkers keep their full refund, including valuable tax credits, like the enhanced NYC Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which was expanded last year for the first time in 20 years. Last year, NYC Free Tax Prep filed more than 84,000 tax returns, saving New Yorkers more than $13 million in tax preparation fees. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin accepting tax returns today, Monday, January 29th through Monday, April 15, 2024.
“Many New Yorkers are still struggling right now, and by offering NYC Free Tax Prep without any cost to residents of the five boroughs, our administration is making it easier for families to file their taxes and keep money in their pockets,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “We went to Albany to secure the first increase in the city’s Earned Income Tax Credit in 20 years, and we are thrilled to offer New Yorkers NYC Free Tax Prep to help them receive their fair share this tax season.”
“An annual tax refund represents a lifeline for so many working New Yorkers and their families, even more so since last year’s historic enhancement of the NYC EITC,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “Thank you to the Mayor, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, and all of the city’s tax preparation partners for working each tax season to provide an essential service to support our neighbors.”
“NYC Free Tax Prep offers trusted and professional tax preparation services to thousands of New Yorkers each year, helping them get the fullest refund possible at no cost to them,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “Eligible New Yorkers deserve to claim these credits and file their taxes without having to pay a commercial preparer a portion of their hard-earned money. If you earned $59,000 or less as an individual, or a family that earned less than $85,000, I urge you to file for free and claim your refund.”
NYC Free Tax Prep Services:
- In-Person Tax Prep—sit down with a volunteer preparer: At in-person tax prep sites, knowledgeable IRS certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) volunteer preparers help filers complete an accurate tax return. More than 130 sites across the city will be opening in the coming weeks.
- Drop-off Service—drop off your documents and pick up your completed return later: With drop-off service, filers can drop off their tax documents and pick up the completed return later.
- Virtual Tax Prep—like in-person free filing but online: Virtual Tax Prep is an online service where an IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparer will video conference with filers to help prepare their tax return using a secure digital system. Filers can submit photos or scans of tax documents to the preparer, confirm their identity, and complete their return by video call with a preparer. Filers will need access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone; a stable internet connection; and the ability to download secure video conference software.
- Assisted Self-Preparation—free online tax prep on your own or with help: Assisted Self-Preparation allows filers to complete their tax return online on their own and an IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparer will be available by phone or email to answer questions. Filers will need access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone; a stable internet connection; an email address, and their 2022 adjusted gross income (AGI) or self-select PIN.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC):
The EITC is available to working families and individuals with low and moderate incomes. Last year’s enhancement of the NYC EITC, the first increase in NYC in almost 20 years, will help 800,000 New Yorkers who qualify to better afford essential items like food, rent, and utilities.
Last year, the NYC EITC increased from a 5% match of the federal EITC levels to 10-30% depending on the filers’ income, meaning more money back for more New Yorkers. Under the City’s enhancement of the EITC, a single parent with one child with an income of $14,750 saw the benefit increase from $187 to $933—a 400% increase. A married couple with two children and an income of $25,000 saw their New York City benefit increase from $308 to $925 under the City payment—a 200% increase.
NYC Free Tax Prep for Self-Employed New Yorkers:
NYC Free Tax Prep for Self-Employed Filers provides free tax preparation services tailored to the needs of gig workers, freelancers and small business owners who often face barriers to filing taxes and managing financial recordkeeping. In addition to providing annual and quarterly estimated tax filling preparation assistance, workshops and one-on-one consultations help the growing number of New Yorkers who perform gig and freelance work to learn the basics of tax filing and recordkeeping best practices as self-employed filers. To be eligible for tax preparation services for self-employed filers, New Yorkers must have business expenses of $250,000 or below. New Yorkers can find a site with these specially trained tax preparers by selecting “Self-Employed/Schedule C Assistance” on the NYC Free Tax Prep Map site finder; Business owners can find upcoming workshops on the DCWP event calendar or request a workshop for your organization or community by completing an online form on the DCWP website.
Paid Tax Preparers:
The City encourages eligible filers to file for free with NYC Free Tax Prep but consumers who use a paid tax preparer should ask the preparer for the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers (additional languages available), read it carefully before having their taxes prepared. Consumers should also be on alert for predatory tax preparers that overcharge, charge hidden fees, or file their return without permission.
“The IRS is very proud of its longstanding partnership with DCWP and the efforts taken to provide more financial literacy resources and free tax preparation services to New York City residents,” said Tatiana Ligonde, IRS SPEC Liaison. “The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has aided low- to moderate-income workers and families through significant tax breaks and much-needed refunds. The EITC is one of the federal government’s largest antipoverty programs, offering financial assistance to hardworking Americans. People may ask why IRS promotes EITC Awareness Day every year, and my response is that 20 percent of eligible taxpayers unknowingly do not claim the credit. Therefore, it is important that we remind families and workers about EITC since we understand that lives, incomes, and personal circumstances will change over time.”
“In today’s climate, when financial stability is paramount, access to free tax prep services is crucial for the economically disadvantaged,” said Blondel A. Pinnock, President and CEO, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration.“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to file their taxes without the strain of exorbitant fees. By removing financial barriers, Restoration enables families and individuals to maximize their returns by putting money back into their pockets, boosting the local economy and fostering a sense of financial security. We are tremendously grateful to continue our partnership with DCWP to further our efforts to close the racial wealth gap and empower our communities.”
“After two decades of partnership with NYC Free Tax Prep, it continues to be a proven method for returning money to the pockets of thousands of hardworking New Yorkers,” said Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO of Urban Upbound. “This collaborative initiative ensures that during tax season and beyond working New Yorkers can rightfully claim the tax credits they are owed, without the need for expensive and even predatory filing services.”
“NYC Free Tax Prep offers an invaluable service for Staten Islanders, ensuring they get their complete refund along with vital income supports like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit,” said Jaclyn Stoll, Executive Director of Project Hospitality. “Project Hospitality provides this service through three offices on Staten Island, allowing residents to have their federal and state tax returns prepared at no cost. Additionally, there’s a convenient virtual appointment option available.”
“BronxWorks is proud to provide NYC Free Tax Prep services to the community,” says Eileen Torres, CEO of BronxWorks. “These services are a crucial resource for eligible New Yorkers, especially for those who can claim valuable tax credits to support their essential needs. As we enter tax season, BronxWorks looks forward to once again helping our neighbors file their taxes free of charge.”
“NMIC is thrilled to continue our important collaboration with DCWP to offer free and efficient tax preparation services as part of NYC Free Tax Prep,” said Brendy Iglesias, Assistant Director of Benefits & Advocacy Services at NMIC. “These services play a crucial role in enhancing the economic empowerment of our community members. As we look forward to a year of growth, we are particularly excited about expanding our services for self-employed filers to further contribute to the financial well-being of individuals and families in our community.”
“At Grow Brooklyn, we are profoundly grateful to be a part of NYC Free Tax Prep, a vital initiative led by the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection’s Office of Financial Empowerment,” said Makeela Brathwaite, Executive Director of Grow Brooklyn, & Free Tax Prep Virtual Services Director. “Our collaboration in this program allows us to fulfill our mission of empowering our community by helping taxpayers access essential credits and services. We deeply appreciate the opportunity to work alongside the DCWP and all the fellow community-based organizations, whose staff and volunteers, just like ours, contribute to the financial well-being of New Yorkers with our services. The program’s commitment to free, high-quality tax preparation aligns perfectly with our dedication to ensuring that our community members receive the credits they deserve. We are proud to play a role in this impactful initiative and remain committed to assisting our fellow New Yorkers in navigating the complexities of tax preparation.”
“COJO Flatbush is grateful once again to the NYC DCWP in partnership with the IRS’ popular VITA/TCE program for the privilege of providing tax preparation services to our neighbors and alleviating the anxieties and expenses that come with preparing tax returns,” said Louis P Welz, CEO of COJO. “By maximizing allowable deductions in all areas, including the crucial Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, NYC Free Tax Prep makes a tremendous difference to so many household budgets, especially in these tough economic times. Since even a relatively routine return prepared by an accountant will cost a person a couple hundred dollars, multiply that by the number of Tax Prep clients we service and you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars remaining in the pockets of community members.”
“We are incredibly grateful to DCWP for supporting our NYC Free Tax Prep program,” said Julia Jean-Francois, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park. “With this support we serve thousands of low-income families with high quality, professional tax filing services that return millions of dollars in returns to our community. We see the immediate positive impact of this program on lifting neighborhood families out of poverty.”
New Yorkers can call 311 or visit nyc.gov/taxprep to choose the best filing option for them and find the most convenient location if choosing in-person or drop-off tax prep. A checklist of what documents New Yorkers need to bring with them to file and multilingual information about the services are available at nyc.gov/taxprep. In-person services are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Armenian, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Korean, Russian, Urdu and others to come. Visit nyc.gov/taxprep to stay up to date and join the #FreeTaxPrep conversation on DCWP’s social media channels.
Since the beginning of the Adams administration, DCWP has put more than $315 million back into the pockets of New Yorkers through consumer and worker restitution, debt relief, and financial empowerment programs. In 2023, DCWP held businesses accountable for violating the city’s workplace laws, securing almost $10 million for nearly 6,000 workers across multiple workplace cases. DCWP made strides in supporting the city’s growing self-employed population by securing more than $275,000 in worker relief over L’Officiel USA’s widespread failure to pay freelancers on time or fully, in violation of the city’s “Freelance Isn’t Free Act.” DCWP also launched an expansion of NYC Free Tax Prep services for self-employed filers, providing free tax preparation services for gig workers, freelancers, and small business owners. In November, Mayor Adams and DCWP celebrated a win for delivery workers, beginning enforcement of the nation’s first Minimum Pay Rate for app-based restaurant delivery workers. And, just last week, DCWP earned another major win for New Yorkers when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied a challenge of the “just cause” provision of the city’s Fair Workweek Law.
The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)—protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 45,000 businesses in more than 40 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, DCWP 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, DCWP 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. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities.
- New Book Uncovers The Stunning Stories Behind West Africa’s Hidden Photographic Treasures
- NYC Releases Workers’ Bill Of Rights: Your Labor Rights Guide
- Grubhub And Others Launch $200K Microgrant For NYC BIPOC Restaurateurs
- New York City Public Schools Unveils “Hidden Voices: Stories Of The Global African Diaspora”
- Bronx: Black K.A.R.E. Wellness Health Fair In Co-op City