Last minute tax filers can get help, and for most it is free
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – You might remember the long lines at the post office every year on April 15th, “Tax Day”–tax returns had to be postmarked no later than midnight–or face the taxman’s wrath.
Those days are over, most returns are filed electronically, but getting your taxes done is even more complicated, and there is lots of help for Western New Yorkers.
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance provides helpers at five tax assistance sites across Erie County every day, including the Central Library, for taxpayers with incomes less than $62,000 a year.
The workers don’t provide tax advice, they show taxpayers how to navigate
The e-file software, provided by H&R Block and the United Way, is free for folks who fit the income guidelines, and while the state help is free, it is only to navigate the software–no tax advice.
“We are here to help the taxpayers e-file their returns for free,” said state tax spokesperson Kathleen Richardson. “They can come use our computers, our laptops, our printers.”
But there is also tax preparation available for those making slightly less, provided by volunteers who are trained by the IRS, and they can get specific help with their returns.
“Anyone that is earning $54,000 or less can have their taxes prepared for free by a certified IRS-trained tax provider and tax preparer,” said Andy Lashua, the Director for Financial Stability at the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.
Lashua also reminds Western New Yorkers, even workers who don’t make enough money to pay taxes might benefit from filing a return. In many cases the government actually pays those workers through what is known as the Earned Income Tax Credit.
“It is a tax credit so that as long as someone had an earned income, and for those that have children, depending on the number of children they have, that amount can really be substantial, and that is added to that return.”
This year everyone is getting some degree of relief—three extra days to file. Tax Day, 2016 falls on Monday, April 18th, due to the Washington, D.C. observance of Emancipation Day, which is a holiday only observed in the nation’s capital.