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Tuesday, February 4, 2014
While many people haven't even begun to think about their taxes yet, last week some New York state residents already had their refunds in the bank.

The early filers had used the New York State Department of Taxation's new Income Tax Web File, which enables state tax returns to be prepared and e-filed earlier than ever before – at no cost. As a result of Web File and other free tax preparation options, more than 85% of New Yorkers can now prepare and file their state taxes for free, according to the state department.

“By adding Web File to our array of more than 60 online services, we are making free income tax preparation more accessible than ever before,” said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox.  “If you’re in the ten percent who filed paper returns last year, visit our Web site to learn about the new free e-file options available to you. E-filing is safer, faster and more accurate than paper filing – and you’ll get your refund at least twice as fast.”

The average refund for an e-filed return is issued in 21 days, compared to 8 to 12 weeks for those who file paper forms. It also boasts a lower error rate because e-file software does the math for you.

To receive refunds even faster, taxpayers should have them directly deposited into their bank accounts, the tax department said. Refunds via debit cards also are available, and of particular convenience for taxpayers without bank accounts.

Two-thirds of New Yorkers can prepare and e-file their federal and state returns at no cost through an approved e-file software provider available from the Tax Department’s Web site. The taxpayer’s adjusted gross income in 2013 must be $58,000 or less.

“You cannot be charged to e-file your state return – it’s the law,” Commissioner Mattox added.  “But taxpayers are often caught off-guard when software providers require them to pay to prepare their state return.  Use the free options directly from our Web site to ensure you’re not charged.”

More than 212,000 New Yorkers, who are not required to file income tax returns, file credit forms for refunds each year. For the first time, these individuals and families will be able to electronically file their forms – and receive their refunds twice as fast as they have in the past. The accepted credit forms are Form IT-214, Real Property Tax Credit and Form NYC-210, New York City School Tax Credit.

The filing deadline is April 15th this year.

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