Income Tax Preparation Assistance
The following information outlines services and resources for help with filing Federal and State income tax returns:
Can I get help with filing my income tax return?
Yes, the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP sites will be open during the tax-filing season. VITA is a free IRS sponsored program to help low- and medium-income workers to have their taxes prepared and electronically filed at no cost and it ensures that workers receive all the tax credits to which they are entitled. All sites will be available by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment, just call the Capital Region information hotline at 2-1-1 (just like 9-1-1).
Who are the tax preparers?
The tax preparers at each of the sites are volunteers from the community or Union College. Each preparer has completed IRS training.
Individuals can receive tax information or have their taxes prepared for free by visiting one of the VITA centers. Returns are filed electronically in most instances and there is no charge for the service.
What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?
The Earned Income tax Credit (EIC) is a special tax benefit for people who work full- or part-time. If you qualify, you'll owe less in taxes and you may get cash back. Even if you don't owe income tax you can get credit. But, you must file a federal tax return.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Estimator
OTDA now has a new and useful tool that will quickly help both workers and eligible families to provide a good estimate of what level of EITC would be available to an eligible family depending on their tax status and family size. The EITC Estimator can now be found on the Department's website at http://www.otda.state.ny.us/main/reform/estimator/default.asp
Are there other tax credits that I may be eligible to apply for?
Child Tax Credit
The Child Tax Credit, worth up to $1,000 for each qualifying child, is a non-refundable credit used to reduce the amount of tax owed. However, if the child tax credit exceeds the amount of tax owed, the taxpayer may claim the difference as an Additional Child Tax Credit, which is a refundable credit and may be claimed by filing Form 8812: Additional Child Tax Credit with federal taxes.
There are two education credits that may be claimed by each eligible student by completing federal form Form 8863: Education Credits (Hope & Lifetime Learning Credits).
Hope Credit: This credit applies to the first two taxable years of post-secondary education. $1,500 is the maximum credit per student that may be claimed.
Lifetime Learning Credit: This credit is based upon the total of qualified education expenses. The maximum credit is $1,000 per year.