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Get ready to file your income tax return

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Need to file an income tax return? You have options! You can use your computer, tablet, or mobile device to prepare and electronically file whenever and wherever you want. You may even qualify for free e-file software or assistance with filing. For more information, see:

Prepare to e-file

Electronically filed returns are more accurate than paper-filed returns. Additionally, most New Yorkers who electronically file their returns can receive their refunds up to two weeks sooner than paper filers.

Select your software

Depending on your income and other criteria, you may be eligible to use Free File software to electronically prepare and file your federal and state returns in 2024. See Free File your income tax return for the most up-to-date information.

If you do not qualify to use one of the Free File software providers, you still have choices that may work for you! See Other e-file options to learn more.

See if you qualify for free tax assistance 

Depending on your income, you may qualify for free online tax assistance from the department. We can help you electronically prepare and file your federal and state income tax returns.

See Taxpayer Assistance Program (TAP) for more information.

Take note of the due date

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 late payment. If you can’t file on time, see Apply for an extension (on or before the filing deadline).

If you’re claiming a dependent, review the eligibility requirements

Use the IRS’ interactive tool Whom may I claim as a dependent? to help you determine whether you can claim a dependent on your income tax return.

Only claim credits you can provide documentation for (if asked)

Income tax credits can increase your refund or reduce the taxes you owe, but you should only claim credits you can prove you’re eligible for. See Recordkeeping for individuals to learn what counts as proof. After filing your tax return you may be asked to provide documentation.

If you make estimated tax payments, review your payment history

Using your Individual Online Services account, review your tax account balance for estimated tax payments to ensure you are reporting the correct amount on your return. Reporting the correct amount reduces filing errors that can delay or reduce your refund.

Gather your information

Before you begin, have: 

  • an active email account (enables you to keep track of the status of your return)
  • a copy of last year’s tax return or your prior-year federal adjusted gross income (FAGI)
  • a driver license or state-issued nondriver 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 and tax withheld (wages, interest, and dividend statements):
  • your tax account balance (the total amount you paid throughout the year toward your income tax)
  • Forms 1095-A, B, or C, Affordable Healthcare Statement
  • information related to any 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)
  • NY529 College Saving Account information (if requesting refund to be distributed)

When you’re filing

Declare all income

All income for full-time, part-time, temporary, self-employment, cash, and supplemental employment is taxable. If you had multiple employers during the year, provide information for every W-2 you received.

You may also need to report income and information from Forms 1099-G if you received:

If you don’t include all sources of income, the processing of your return may be delayed.

Use direct deposit

Have your refund directly deposited into your bank account and receive your refund up to a week sooner!

Be sure to double check the routing and account numbers for your account. See Direct deposit of your income tax refund to learn more.

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 also sign the return.

Thoroughly review your return before you submit it

Errors will increase the processing time and can significantly delay your refund. Look for the most common filing errors before you submit your return, such as:

  • failing to enter whole dollar amounts;
  • using brackets to show a loss: write -5 instead of [5];
  • entering withholding and estimated tax on the wrong lines;
  • forgetting to enter, or incorrectly entering, Social Security or identification numbers (if the identification number on your Form W-2 is wrong, contact your employer to obtain a corrected form);
  • using incorrect postage on your envelope;
  • failing to indicate if you maintained living quarters in New York City;
  • failing to include the total amount of tax withheld during the year;
  • failing to include New York City and Yonkers tax, if applicable;
  • failing to report the income information from every Form W-2 you received for the year (if you had multiple employers, you should have received multiple W-2s);
  • failing to include unemployment income;
  • failing to add back the federal deduction of up to $10,200 for unemployment (this applies only for tax year 2020); and
  • entering an incorrect mailing address.

After you file

Request electronic communications from the department

The best way to communicate with the Tax Department about your return is to open an Individual Online Services account and request electronic communications for both Bills and Related Notices and Other NotificationsLog in to (or create) your Individual Online Services account. 

Check your refund status online

Wondering when you'll receive your New York State refund? Check your refund status online. Statuses are updated daily, and you'll know the time frame for receiving your refund.

Keep a copy of your New York State income tax return for your records

Keep copies of your return and any books, records, schedules, statements, or other related documents for at least three years after you file your return.