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Filing tips

Keep in mind our tips when filing returns and credit forms.

  1. File and pay electronically.
    New Yorkers who electronically file their returns are 20 times less likely to have an error on their returns and can receive their refund up to twice as fast as paper filers.  See Electronically file your return for free and Make a personal income tax return payment online to learn about our free electronic filing and payment options.
  2. Use direct deposit.
    Have your refund directly deposited into your bank account and receive your refund up to a week faster! If you don't have a personal bank account, you can also request your refund in the form of a debit card or paper check. See Direct deposit of your income tax refund and Income tax refund debit cards to learn more. Be sure to double check the routing and account numbers for your account.
  3. Use New York's free tax assistance sites.
    Individuals and families earning less than $62,000 in 2015 can file their state and federal income tax returns online and for free at any of the 85 Free Tax Assistance Sites statewide. Tax Department volunteers are on-site to help taxpayers through the process. See Free tax assistance sites for more information.
  4. Always file on time.
    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. See Request an installment payment agreement if you can’t pay in full, or see Apply for an extension (on or before the filing deadline) if you can’t file timely.
  5. Declare all income.
    All income for full, part time, temporary, or supplemental employment—whether received in cash or reported on a Form W-2 or Form 1099—is subject to income tax. 
  6. 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.
  7. Get the credits you deserve.
    Income tax credits can increase your refund or reduce the taxes you owe. See Videos and demos to learn about the child and dependent care credit and earned income credit, and see Income tax credits for a complete list of credits.
  8. 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 timeframe for receiving your refund. 
  9. Keep a copy of your return for your records.
Common filing errors

Some of the most common filing errors to avoid include:

  • failing to enter whole dollar amounts
  • using brackets to show a loss (you should place a minus sign immediately to the left of the amount)
  • entering withholding and estimated tax on the wrong lines
  • 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.)
  • forgetting to enter 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
  • entering an incorrect mailing address
Lost your federal Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement?

If you lose your W-2, contact your employer's payroll office to request a copy. If you cannot obtain the W-2 from your employer and have your final payroll check stub for the tax year, use the information on your paystubs to fill out Form IT-2102.6, Certificate of Income Tax Withheld.

Updated: March 30, 2016