Taxes
Taxes by John-Morgan is licensed under CC-BY 2.0

With less than a month until Tax Day—April 18—the city is reminding New Yorkers that they can prepare their taxes for free granted their eligibility. 

Just recently, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection held a press conference reminding New Yorkers of the Free Tax Prep service. The conference was held in participation with several organizations that are assisting with the service, such as the Food Bank for NYC. Free Tax Prep allows eligible New Yorkers to retain their full refund, alongside tax credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Those who are eligible include families with dependents who made $72,000 or under and individuals who earned $50,000 or under in 2021. 

“NYC Free Tax Prep offers trusted, professional service to help New Yorkers keep their full refund, keep their full refund, and claim valuable tax credits,” said the press secretary for DCWP, Carmel Agnant, in an email interview. “Refundable tax credits have been shown to reduce poverty and help families meet basic needs such as food, rent, and childcare.” 

New Yorkers seeking this tax assistance can find their nearest site out of 120 located across all five boroughs. Virtual, self-help and drop-off services are available as well. 

This year, provisions have been introduced to NYC Free Tax Prep. According to DCWP, the changes brought in 2022 will allow money for more people when they file taxes this year. 

“The Child Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit have all been expanded,” said Agnant. “Many people will now be eligible for the first time or for more money.”

For example, those who file EITCs and are ages 19-24 and 65 without children can claim up to $1,502. Filers can also use incomes from 2019 or 2021 to determine which one will qualify them for a larger credit. 

The city also hosted outreach events and canvassed areas that are the most in need of this free service. According to DCWP, as of March 21, 97 of these efforts were completed. Agnant provided a table outlined with target areas of the city that have been a large focus of outreach campaigns. Some of these areas include several zip codes in Brooklyn and The Bronx. 

“The Mobile Outreach Units are providing free tax prep during the month of March and have been in Williamsbridge/Norwood the Bronx, Port Richmond, Staten Island and East Harlem in Manhattan,” said Agnant, adding that there will be units in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Jackson Heights, Queens in the coming weeks. 

Funding for NYC Free Tax Prep is funneled through the city itself and part of that is contracted through non-profit partners that provide the service to individuals and families. 

“We encourage eligible New Yorkers to file with NYC Free Tax Prep to claim valuable credits and avoid preparer fees,” said Agnant. “The tax credits including the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Child and Dependent Care Credit are available to help families meet their most basic needs.”

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