NYS Tax Department Receives National Taxpayer Service Award for “Income Tax Web File” and E-file Education Campaign Targeted efforts increased e-filing to 92% of all tax returns, paper returns down 20%
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The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has been presented with the Federation of Tax Administrators' Taxpayer Service and Education Award for its two-pronged approach to increase electronic income tax filing, also known as "e-filing."
The Department first developed NYS Income Tax Web File to provide a free e-filing option for New Yorkers regardless of income. Building on that effort, the Department undertook a broad education campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of e-filing. The result was a significant increase in the number of taxpayers who file electronically to 92% of overall filers.
"This is yet another example of our administration providing unprecedented service to taxpayers while improving the efficiency of government operations," said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. "By decreasing the number of taxpayers filing paper income tax returns, we are saving New Yorkers from the additional costs of processing those returns, while ensuring that refunds are delivered accurately and quickly to taxpayers."
"Thank you to the Federation of Tax Administrators for this tremendous honor and to our Department staff for working so diligently on this successful campaign," said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone. "We aim to provide exemplary service to taxpayers, and by choosing to file electronically, they receive their refunds faster and are 20 times less likely to have an error on their returns."
"Income Tax Web File"
In 2013, New York State developed "Income Tax Web File," which significantly increased the number of taxpayers who could e-file their New York State income taxes for free.
Launched in January 2014, "Web File" was available to taxpayers regardless of income, and increased by 42% the number of taxpayers who could file at no cost.
As a result, nearly 90% of New York taxpayers can now file their New York State income taxes for free.
Targeted Education Campaign
The Department's educational campaign included targeted mailings to taxpayers and tax preparers who had previously filed paper returns. The Department also prepared video and radio public service announcements, web promotion and community outreach. Of the 860,000 paper filers who received targeted mailings, 25% made the switch to electronic filing.
An additional aspect of the e-file education campaign is a growing network of Free Tax Preparation sites across New York State. This year, the Tax Department welcomed taxpayers into 80 locations statewide. As an alternative to hiring a tax preparer, which can cost hundreds of dollars, Department experts - in several languages - were available to assist taxpayers with the user-friendly software. The software helps to ensure the return is accurate and that valuable tax credits aren't overlooked.
The Federation of Tax Administrators is a national nonprofit organization of government tax and revenue officials with a mission to improve the standards and methods of tax administration.