File for free: Some New Yorkers eligible to file taxes free online

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- The majority of Americans are now using some form of eFiling software to file their taxes. Almost 89.1% of individual returns and 72.9% of all returns were filed electronically in 2020, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

There are a number of software programs that allow people to file their taxes for free if they meet certain income and age requirements or are active in the military.

Filing taxes electronically is the quickest way to get a tax refund because the funds are deposited directly into a chosen bank account. Many programs offer support by email or telephone. Most also have a frequently asked questions section on their website.

Not all programs participating in the IRS Free File program can be used to file federal and state taxes. There are nine free eFiling tax offers in the program. Of those, four can be used by New York residents to file both federal and state taxes: OnLine Taxes, TaxAct, TaxSlayer, and TurboTax.

Free file tax services for federal and N.Y. state returns

Federal adjusted
gross income
AgesActive duty militaryQualify for earned
income tax credit
OnLine Taxesbetween $16K-$72Kallwho made $72K
or less
no
TaxAct*$63K or less56 or youngerwho made $72K
or less
yes
TaxSlayer*$72K or less51 or younger as
of Dec. 31, 2020
who made $72K
or less
yes
TurboTax*$39K or lessallwho made $72K
or less
yes
* On Consumers Advocate list of the “10 Best Tax Preparation Software of 2021

Regardless of an individual or family’s tax situation, eFiling taxes requires research to understand credit or deduction eligibility. Though it can save money on tax preparation fees and help people make better decisions about their financial future, according to Smart About Money.

What’s needed to eFile?

  • Active email address
  • Copy of 2020 tax returns or federal adjusted gross income
  • Driver license or state-issued non-driver ID (if filing jointly, you will also need your spouses)
  • Birth dates and Social Security numbers (you, your spouse, dependents)
  • W-2, 1098, 1099 forms or other documents showing income
  • Affordable Healthcare Statement (form 1095-A, B, or C)
  • Information for credits being claimed
  • Bank account and routing number
  • NY529 College Savings Account information

*Source: NYS Department of Taxation and Finance

Other possible documents

  • Property tax receipts, annual mortgage statement, and home improvement receipts
  • Childcare receipts
  • Money spent on healthcare
  • Charitable donations

*Source: TurboTax

Printing a copy of tax returns could save money and prevent delays in the future. Prior year information may not be accessible through eFiling software. Prior year returns, back six years, can be requested through the IRS, but can only be requested by mail and will cost $50. For individual and all other returns complete IRS Form 4506 and mail to:

Internal Revenue Service
RAIVS Team
Stop 6705 S-2
Kansas City, MO 64999

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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