News Tips
  
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Tax filing season officially begins tomorrow. The state Department of Taxation and Finance has some tips, via a news release:

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance kicked off the personal income tax filing season today by offering taxpayers a number of helpful tips and informative videos aimed at smoothing the filing process.

Last year, the Tax Department processed 9.9 million state personal income tax returns.  Of those, a record 86% were e-filed. Also in 2012, more refunds were paid earlier than ever before; by the April filing deadline, an additional 1 million refunds were paid compared to the prior year.  

“Electronic filing is the fastest, most efficient and safest way to file your tax returns,” said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox.  “And, by e-filing, you will receive your refund much quicker than if you send in a paper return.”

Top Tips for Filing 2012 Income Taxes

-Always file. And do so by the deadline of April 15th, 2013.  If you owe taxes, you’ll avoid penalties and interest for late filing.  Taxpayers should file for an extension before the deadline if they can't file a return by the 15th of April.

-Declare all income.  All income earned from employment or self-employment is subject to income tax - even income received as cash.  This applies whether the income is earned for full, part time, temporary or supplemental employment.

-Look into credits.  The Earned Income Tax Credit is a state and federal program that brings substantial refunds for working individuals and families.  The state credit alone could mean up to $1,767 for a family with three or more children – this on top of a maximum federal credit of $5,891.  Other New York credits are available, too, such as the Child and Dependent Care Credit and the Empire State Child Credit.  

-Receive your refund on a debit card. Check the box on your return that says you’d like your refund on a debit card.  The Tax Department’s debit card can be used like any debit card and, in most instances, there’s no charge for withdrawals or purchases.  Taxpayers - even those without bank accounts - can take it to a bank and withdraw the entire amount for free.

-Free File.  If your income is $57,000 or less, you may qualify to “
Free File” and use free tax preparation and e-filing software.  But you’ll only qualify for federal AND state Free File by visiting the Tax Department’s Web site.

-Hiring a tax preparer?  Know your rights before you hire a paid tax preparer.  For instance, ask for a written estimate of all fees before handing over your tax records.  These rights are spelled out in the Tax Department’s “
Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers” publication available free at its Web site.

For more information
●  Watch videos  on
avoiding common income tax errors, income tax credits and many more topics on the Tax Department’s YouTube channel
●   Read about the
lowest tax rates for middle-class New Yorkers in nearly 60 years
●   Follow the Tax Department on
Twitter and YouTube  

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