In another step forward for its language access initiative, the New York State Taxpayer Rights Advocate said today that the Tax Department has added staff and supervisors at its main New York City office to better serve Spanish-speaking taxpayers.
The Advocate - Camille Siano Enders - announced the change before a gathering of consumer advocates and non-profit organizations meeting in Brooklyn.
"This customer service initiative will help us to better assist downstate taxpayers while eliminating the language barrier for Spanish-speaking individuals," she said.
Last year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed an Executive Order directing all State agencies to help people with limited English proficiency better interact with State government. Aligning with that effort, Tax Department added language translation resources to accommodate the most commonly spoken non-English languages in New York State. Ms. Siano Enders noted that the highest number of language assistance telephone calls from taxpayers involve Spanish - often as many as 2,000 per month.
The six new bilingual taxpayer service representatives and their two supervisors are located at the Tax Department's MetroTech office complex on Jay Street in Brooklyn. The Advocate said that expanding our Spanish-speaking representatives in New York City improves the Department's ability to assist the Spanish-speaking community downstate, while supplementing the existing Spanish-speaking staff in Albany, where the Tax Department is headquartered.
Ms. Siano Enders also told the advocacy groups today that the Tax Department has added outreach specialists throughout the state in an effort to improve communication with taxpayers. Through a regional approach, these specialists will focus on raising awareness on the availability of important credits for low and moderate income New Yorkers, including the Earned Income Tax Credit.