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Department of Taxation and Finance

Prepare to E-file: Tax Season Begins January 29 NYS Tax Department offers tips to ensure a smooth tax season and highlights free tax return filing options

For Release: Immediate,

For press inquiries only, contact: James Gazzale, 518-457-7377

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced that the income tax filing season officially kicks off on Monday, January 29. If you haven’t already joined the 9.5 million New York taxpayers who e-filed in 2017, please consider the many benefits of e-filing before you decide to file on paper. E-filing is safe, easy, and fast—and free for eligible taxpayers.

“All returns undergo the same systematic review, but e-filers typically receive any refunds due two weeks sooner than paper filers,” said New York State Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion. “The tax preparation software used also helps filers avoid careless errors that can cause significant delays.” 

Tips to follow:

  1. File and pay electronically. E-filed returns are more accurate than paper-filed returns. Most e-filers receive their refunds two weeks sooner than paper filers. 
  2. File for free. Taxpayers with incomes of $66,000 or less are eligible to electronically prepare and file both their federal and NYS returns under the Free File program. To prevent any unexpected charges for filing the state return, taxpayers should only access free options directly from the Tax Department's Free File page.
  3. Use direct deposit. Receive your refund up to a week faster by having it directly deposited into your bank account. Be sure to double check the routing and account numbers for your account.
  4. Use free tax assistance sites. Taxpayers with household incomes of $66,000 or less in 2017 can also e-file their state and federal income tax returns for free at any of the Free Tax Assistance Sites statewide. Check here for updates on location and times. Also, if your income is $54,000 or less, you’re eligible for free federal and state tax preparation by trained IRS and AARP volunteers. Visit the IRS at Free Tax Preparation to find a site near you.
  5. 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 for late payment. 2017 tax returns are due by Tuesday, April 17, 2018. 
  6. 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.
  7. Get the credits you deserve. Income tax credits can increase your refund or reduce the taxes you owe. One of the most valuable is the Earned Income Tax Credit. See EITC—cash that counts to review eligibility requirements and determine if you qualify.
  8. Sign and date the paper return. If you do choose to file a 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 sign it as well.
  9. Check your refund status online or sign up for email alerts. These are the fastest ways to get updates on your refund.
  10. Thoroughly review your tax return before you submit it to avoid common mistakes. Errors increase processing time and delay any refund due.

Avoid common filing errors by following this advice:

  • enter whole dollar amounts;
  • don’t use (brackets) to show a loss;
  • enter withholding and estimated tax on the correct lines;
  • double check Social Security or identification numbers after entering them; 
  • make sure to use the correct postage on your envelope (or e-file instead!);
  • indicate if you maintained living quarters in New York City;
  • include the total amount of tax withheld during the year;
  • include New York City and Yonkers tax, if applicable; and
  • enter the correct mailing address.

For more information

Questions? Call us at 518-457-5181

Tax filing tips