Free Tax Help Available in New York State

New York — Hundreds of free tax preparation sites sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service are now open across New York State. The IRS partners with nonprofit and community organizations to provide free tax preparation services for qualified taxpayers.

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free tax help generally to people who earn $51,000 and less. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program offers free tax help to taxpayers with priority assistance to people who are 60 and older. Many sites have multilingual volunteers who can assist people with limited English skills.

Taxpayers need to present the following items to have their returns prepared:

·           Photo identification

·           Valid Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents

·           Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for taxpayer, spouse and dependents, if applicable

·           Birth dates for taxpayer, spouse and dependents on the tax return

·           Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers

·           Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)

·           A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available

·           Proof of bank or credit union routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit

·           Other relevant information about income and expenses

·           Total paid for day care

·           Day care provider’s identifying number

To file taxes electronically on a Married Filing Jointly return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

Trained and certified community volunteers can help eligible taxpayers claim valuable credits and deductions, such as the Child Tax Credit or the Credit for the Elderly. Many people may also get assistance in claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a significant financial boost to low- and moderate-income workers. Volunteers can help eligible taxpayers file a tax return, even if they do not have a filing requirement, and specifically claim the credit to get the benefit.

To locate the nearest VITA site, taxpayers should visit or call 800-906-9887.

As part of the IRS-sponsored TCE Program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteer counselors help people of low-to-middle income with special attention to people age 60 and older. To locate the nearest TCE site, taxpayers should visit or call 888-227-7669.