State offers free tax help

The state’s Department of Taxation and Finance encourages eligible taxpayers to register for a free virtual tax-filing assistance session.

If your federal adjusted gross income in 2020 was $72,000 or less, you qualify to receive free virtual tax assistance from the tax department, which will guide you through the process of electronically preparing and filing your 2020 federal and state income tax returns at no cost.

During a pre-scheduled virtual webinar session using WebEx or Zoom, department representatives will guide you step by step as needed through the free tax-preparation software as you complete and file your own tax return.

The tax department extended the filing due date for New York State personal income tax returns to May 17, 2021, to match the extended due date for federal income tax returns.

Register for a session

You can register to attend a session directly with the tax department or through one of its partners.

Once you register, you will receive an email with a link to the webinar session. You will also receive a link to the free tax software and an intake questionnaire. Please review and fill out the intake questionnaire to ensure you have all the documents needed to complete your return during the session.

To register, see Register for a virtual FSA session.

To have a successful e-filing experience, you should:

— Have all tax documents and personal information for each person on the return available for the webinar session;

— Use the software link to set up an account in the free software;

— Plan to spend up to two hours in the webinar session; and

— Follow up by checking your email within 48 hours once you submit your return.

You can review the documents to have on hand and an explanation of how to create an account to use the free software at www.tax.ny.gov/fsa.

Free file software

If you’re confident enough to file on your own, you don’t need to attend a virtual session. You can use your own computer, tablet, or mobile device to prepare and e-file your income tax returns whenever and wherever you want using the same secure software at no cost. To learn more and determine if you qualify for Free File, visit Free File your income tax return (Spanish, Chinese, Russian).

For related information, see the two-minute video Tax Department response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

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