The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced important tax tips to follow and common errors to avoid this filing season.
“Our goal is to make tax filing as easy as possible for all New Yorkers,” said New York State Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion. “By following this straightforward advice and being mindful of common mistakes, taxpayers can avoid refund delays and meet their tax obligation in a stress-free way.”
Tips to follow:
1. File and pay electronically – E-filers are 20 times less likely to have an error on their returns and can receive their refunds up to twice as fast as paper return filers.
2. File for free – Taxpayers with incomes of $64,000 or less are eligible to electronically prepare and file both their federal and NYS returns under the Free File program. To prevent any unexpected charges for the state return, taxpayers should only access free options directly from: tax.ny.gov.
3. Use direct deposit – Have your refund directly deposited into your bank account and receive your refund up to a week faster. Be sure to double check the routing and account numbers for your account.
4. Use free tax assistance sites – Taxpayers with household incomes of $64,000 or less in 2016 can e-file their state and federal income tax returns for free at any of the Free Tax Assistance Sites statewide. Check here for updates on locations and times. Also, if your income is $54,000 or less, you’re eligible for free federal and state tax preparation by trained IRS and AARP volunteers. Visit IRS: free tax preparation to find a site near you.
5. Always file on time – To avoid penalties and interest, file on time—even if you can’t pay in full; the penalties are much higher for late filing than for late payment. 2016 tax returns are due by Tuesday, April 18.
6. Declare all income – All income for full, part-time, temporary, or supplemental employment—whether received in cash or reported on a Form W-2 or Form 1099—is subject to income tax.
7. Sign and date the paper return – You, and your spouse if you file jointly, must sign your return. If you hire a tax preparer to file your return, the preparer must sign it as well.
8. Get the credits you deserve – Income tax credits can increase your refund or reduce the taxes you owe. One of the most valuable is the Earned Income Tax Credit. Visit the Tax Department website, tax.ny.gov/eitc to review eligibility requirements and see if you qualify.
9. Check your refund status online or sign up for email alerts – These are the fastest ways to get updates on your refund.
Thoroughly review your tax return before you submit it to avoid common mistakes. Errors increase processing time and delay any refund due.
Here’s a to-do list to help avoid the most common filing errors:
1. enter whole dollar amounts;
2. do not use (brackets) to show a loss;
3. enter withholding and estimated tax on the correct lines;
4. double check Social Security or identification numbers after entering them;
5. make sure you use the correct postage on your envelope;
6. indicate if you maintained living quarters in New York City;
7. include the total amount of tax withheld during the year;
8. include New York City and Yonkers tax, if applicable; and
9. enter the correct mailing address.
For more information: