Facilitated Self Assistance (FSA) program
If your income in 2020 was $72,000 or less, you qualify to receive free virtual tax assistance from the department. We can help you electronically prepare and file your 2020 federal and state income tax returns at no cost.
During a pre-scheduled virtual webinar session using WebEx or Zoom, our department representatives will guide you through free tax preparation software, step-by-step, as you complete and file your own tax return. Our online tax software is a safe and secure way to file. It’s quick and easy!
What you need to file:
- a lap-top, desktop or tablet, plus a smart phone or webcam to verify identity
- basic computer skills
- an active e-mail account
- all your tax documents
- a copy of your 2019 tax return (if you filed)
Note: If you used our FSA program in the past, the software this year has changed. You can still file with us this year, but you will need to create a new account with the new software. Remember to have a copy of last year’s return available so you have all the information you need to easily e-file!
Register for a virtual session
Register to attend a virtual session directly with the department or through one of our partners.
Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to our intake questionnaire. You should review and fill out the intake questionnaire to ensure you have all the documents needed to complete your return during the session.
Not interested but still want to access free tax preparation software
From the comfort of your home, you can use your own computer, tablet, or mobile device to prepare and e-file your income tax returns whenever and wherever you want using the same secure software we use during our FSA sessions. To learn more, visit Free File.
Important: Make sure you review the eligibility criteria for each software provider before selecting a product.
How to have a successful FSA filing experience
You must have all of the following information available on the day of your scheduled session:
- email address
- copy of your 2019 tax return or your 2019 federal adjusted gross income (FAGI), if you filed a tax return last year.
- photo ID, including driver license, state-issued nondriver ID or NYC ID (for you and your spouse, if filing jointly).
- birth dates and Social Security numbers for you, your spouse, and your dependents
- proof of income (wages, unemployment, interest and dividend statements):
- Forms W-2, 1099-G, 1098, and other 1099 forms
- any documents that show additional income, including cash income
- Forms 1095-A, B, or C, Affordable Healthcare Statement
- information related to any tax deduction or credits you’re claiming
- your banking information (the account number and the routing number for your bank, which you can find on a blank check)
Note: If you received unemployment from the New York State Department of Labor, you must visit Department of Labor to obtain a copy of your 1099-G unemployment statement.
Tip: Completing the intake questionnaire will help make sure you have what you need!
It helps to create the online account in advance of the webinar session and start on your return. When you create your account, you’ll need to:
- Decide on your username. It must be at least six characters.
- Create a password. It must:
- be at least eight characters,
- include at least one uppercase letter,
- include at least one lowercase letter,
- include at least one number, and
- include at least one special character ($, #, %, or !).
- Complete the security questions and answers (each question must have a different answer).
Note: It’s best to select security questions that never change (for example: first job, name, and model of first car). In addition, you should document your username and password, and save it in a safe location for future use. You may use our printer-friendly document to record your username, password, and security questions. You will need your username and password each time you access the software.
The average in-person tax assistance session takes approximately an hour to prepare returns; however, in this virtual environment you should allocate additional time to complete your return. When you join the session, you will be placed in a private breakout session to check your photo ID, driver license, state-issued nondriver ID, or New York City ID. You will then be placed in the main session where you will prepare you return privately on your computer or mobile device as we guide you through the steps.
After you file your return, you need to:
- Keep a printed copy of the return and confirmation page, if applicable, for your records.
- Check your email account to ensure your return is accepted by the IRS and New York State. The software will forward you an email confirming if your return was accepted or rejected.
- If your return is rejected, sign into your online tax software account and follow the instructions provided in the email. If you are still unable to submit, contact us or the partner for assistance.