For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Launches Remote NYC Free Tax Prep Services
Eligible New Yorkers Can Have Their Taxes Prepared Virtually or Use Assisted Self-Preparation
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the Agency is now offering remote free tax prep services with NYC Free Tax Prep. New Yorkers who earned $64,000 or less in 2019 are eligible for Virtual Free Tax Preparation with a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) certified preparer. New Yorkers who earned $69,000 or less in 2019 are eligible for free Assisted Self-Preparation. Taxpayers have an additional three months to file their taxes with the deadline being extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.
“As we are currently faced with a public health crisis, we strive to continue making our services accessible to New Yorkers,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “With many New Yorkers experiencing significant financial hardships due to COVID-19, we want help ease that stress and frustration by offering our trusted and professional tax prep services virtually so that all eligible New Yorkers can continue to file safely and for free—and to claim their vital stimulus payments.”
NYC Free Tax Prep remote services includes:
- Virtual Free Tax Preparation: New Yorkers with an annual income of $64,000 or less with children, or $45,000 or less without children, are eligible for Virtual Tax Preparation. Those who need assistance claiming their Economic Impact Payment also qualify for this service. Filers can submit photos or scans of tax documents to the preparer via a secure platform, confirm their identity using secure video conference, and complete their return by video conference or by phone with a preparer. Filers will need access to the internet and a smartphone, tablet or computer to use this service.
- Assisted Self-Preparation: New Yorkers with an annual income of $69,000 or less can complete their own 2019 tax returns using eligible free tax filing platforms and receive assistance from an IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparer over the phone or by email. Filers will need access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone; a stable internet connection; an email address, and their 2018 adjusted gross income (AGI) or self-select PIN. Visit nyc.gov/taxprep to check eligibility limits for each tax site.
Several of DCWP’s NYC Free Tax Prep providers are now providing remote services, with more providers beginning in the coming weeks. Services are available in English, Spanish, French, Haitian-Creole, Russian, Arabic, and others to come. Read the checklist
of what documents filers need to have on hand in order to file. Visit nyc.gov/taxprep
to stay up to date on which providers are offering remote tax prep services.
Economic Impact Payments
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, eligible individuals and families will receive by direct deposit or mail Economic Impact Payment (stimulus payment) of up to $1,200 (for single filers) and $2,400 (for married couples filing jointly) plus an additional $500 for each dependent child under age 17. If you receive federal benefits and are not required to file taxes, NYC Free Tax Prep can guide you on how to use IRS tools to check the status of your stimulus payment; get your full payment if you have dependent children under age 17; and get your payment by direct deposit. It is strongly encouraged to have a bank account in order to receive your payment safely and quickly. Find out if you are eligible and what actions you need to take in order to receive your stimulus check: What You Need to Know about Economic Impact Payments
. DCWP also has information about NYC SafeStart and other bank or credit account options
“We, at the Internal Revenue Service, are delighted to see that our IRS-certified VITA volunteers are stepping up to provide free contactless tax preparation service during this crisis,” said Louis Morizio, Territory Manager, Stakeholder Partnerships, Education & Communication NYC, IRS. “It is a very important service to provide to low-income taxpayers in NYC to help them file their tax returns, get the refunds that they are entitled to, and to assist them in receiving their Economic Impact Payments.”
“This tax season, thousands of New York City households are facing significant income shocks as a result of COVID-19,” said Gregory Schiefelbein, Citi Community Development NY Tri-State Market Director. “Through our commitment to support free, digitally-provided tax preparation services, Citi aims to enable New Yorkers living on lower incomes to access tax credits and stimulus funds that provide a much-needed financial cushion and help bolster household financial resilience.”
“At Bed Stuy Restoration we are too keenly aware of how this crisis affects us all but disproportionately those that live on limited economic means,” said Tracey Capers, EVP and Chief Program Officer, Bed Stuy Restoration Corporation. “We are pleased to work with DCWP to provide our community with the free, professional tax filing services that were interrupted when we had to pause in-person service until the extended tax-filing date of 7/15/20. We will work hard to ensure people get the resources they so need, access stimulus dollars, and prepare them for the days ahead by connecting them with financial counselors for budgeting and saving.”
“We are deeply grateful to our partners at the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for offering us the opportunity to provide our trusted free tax preparation and filing services online so that our participants can complete their taxes and draw down their stimulus payments,” said Julia J Francois, Co-Director of Center for Family Life. “So many of our neighbors are in desperate financial need at this time, and we are honored to serve our community and provide this much-needed support.”
“During this time of greatest need, the COVID-19 Pandemic has hindered our ability to deliver in person tax preparation but not our ability to remain mission focused and provide virtual free tax preparation,” said Met Council Emanuel Negron, Director of Benefits Access. “Met Council’s volunteer preparers are open for business and ready to serve. Met Council appreciates the partnership with the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for providing us the opportunity to provide free tax preparation so that New Yorkers can file their taxes, receive important tax credits and access their stimulus payments. The vast majority of our fellow New Yorkers are in financial need due to the disruption of income and or employment and we are ready to service our community and deliver this vital support.”
“In this critical time when the pandemic has benched our ability to do tactile tax prep I’m glad that we have conquered the technology that will allow us to offer it,” said Bishop Mitchell G Taylor, Co-founder & CEO of Urban Upbound. “Every year hundreds of thousands of families depend on NYC Free Tax Prep to assist them in getting them the returns they need, this year it’s critical. Urban Upbound is ready to go, and we thank Commissioner Salas for finding a way to get this back on track”
About 2020 NYC Free Tax Prep:
NYC Free Tax Prep increases awareness about tax credits that put money back in the pockets of working New Yorkers and helps qualifying New Yorkers file their taxes. EITC is one of the largest poverty reduction programs in the U.S. and is a federal, state and New York City tax credit for qualifying families, non-custodial parents (NYS EITC only), and single individuals who work full time or part time or are self-employed. For working families in New York City, EITC claims can be worth as much as $8,852 when combined with state and City credits. Families with low incomes who are employed or underemployed and have child care costs for children up to age four could also be eligible for up to $1,733 with the NYC Child Care Tax Credit (NYC CCTC).
The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 75,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at nyc.gov/dcwp or on its social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Melissa Barosy | Jade Acosta
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection