As tax season begins, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo is urging residents to take advantage of available New York State tax credits. Dozens of money-saving credits are available, but each year many New Yorkers fail to take advantage of them.
“Every year, millions of dollars in credits go unclaimed because people are unaware that they qualify,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell). “Many Broome County residents are eligible for these credits that could put thousands of dollars back in their pockets.”
Some credits that local families may qualify for include:
• the Empire State Child Credit, a refundable tax credit worth up to $330 per child for ages 4-16;
• the Child and Dependent Care Credit, a tax credit based on a sliding income scale for working parents who pay for child care or those who live with a spouse or dependent who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care;
• the federal Child Tax Credit, a non-refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 per child under the age of 17, or the refundable Additional Child Tax Credit; and
• the Real Property Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit worth up to $375 for eligible homeowners and renters.
Workers with low or moderate incomes can qualify for the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), recouping portions of the income tax withheld from their paychecks.
To qualify for the New York State and federal EITC, you must:
• have worked full or part time at some point during the calendar year;
• be raising “qualified” children at home;
• have income below $39,131 ($44,651 if married) with one child;
• have income below $44,454 ($49,974 if married) with two children;
• have income below $47,747 ($53,267 if married) with three or more children; or
• be a worker between the ages of 25 and 65, earning less than $14,820 ($20,330 if married) with no children.
For more information on any of these credits and to find additional credits you may qualify for, visit tax.ny.gov.
There is also free assistance is available for many people who may need help preparing their taxes. The IRS-certified volunteers with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provide free tax preparation services to individuals and families with annual incomes of $54,000 or less, people with disabilities, the elderly and those with limited English skills. For those 60 years of age and older, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program can also provide assistance at no cost to you. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, visit irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers or call 800-906-9887.
If you’d like to get your return quicker, you are also encouraged to file electronically. 92% of all New York filers already file electronically; it’s safe, accurate, and easy. In fact, the error rate for e-filed returns is 20 times lower than for paper returns. And, if your combined income for 2015 didn’t exceed $62,000, you can e-file for free. For a list of free e-filing times and locations visit https://tax.ny.gov/fsa/central.htm.