New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga kicked off the tax season on January 28, 2023, and encouraged single-filing New Yorkers who earned $56,000 or less in 2022, or families who earned $80,000 or less, to file their taxes for free using NYC Free Tax Prep.
NYC Free Tax Prep provides free, professional, tax preparation that can help New Yorkers keep their full refund, including valuable tax credits, like the newly enhanced New York City Earned Income Tax Credit (NYC EITC). The new NYC Free Tax Prep for self-employed New Yorkers will also provide income tax services to freelance workers and small businesses. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began accepting tax returns on Monday, January 23rd and will continue to do so until Tuesday, April 18.
“We know that many New Yorkers are struggling right now, and we want them to know the city is here for them,” said Mayor Adams. “Last year, we went to Albany to secure the first increase in the city’s Earned Income Tax Credit in 20 years. Now, thanks to our administration’s efforts, freelance workers, gig workers, and small businesses can take advantage of free tax prep, along with eligible individuals making less than $56,000 a year or families making less than $80,000. New Yorkers deserve their fair share, and we are putting more money in their pockets this tax season.”
NYC Free Tax Prep for the Self-Employed
NYC Free Tax Prep for self-employed individuals seeks to expand the availability of free tax preparation services for gig workers, freelancers, and small business owners who often struggle to file taxes and manage financial record keeping and face limited access to capital, banking services, and loans. Through this new year-round service within NYC Free Tax Prep, self-employed individuals and owners of businesses can work with specially trained preparers on their annual and, later in 2023, quarterly estimated tax filings, including workshops, one-on-one consultations, and other resources on record keeping and tax filing.
This tax season, the NYC EITC is increasing from a five percent match of the federal EITC levels to 30 percent, depending on the filers’ income, meaning more money back for more New Yorkers. Under the city’s enhancement of the EITC, a single parent with one child with an income of $14,750 will see the benefit increase from $181 to $905 — a 400 percent increase. A married couple with two children and an income of $25,000 will see their New York City benefit increase from $299 to $897 under the city payment — a 200 percent increase.
NYC Free Tax Prep Services include:
- In-Person Tax Prep — sit down with a volunteer preparer: At in-person tax prep sites, knowledgeable IRS certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) volunteer preparers help filers complete an accurate tax return. Nearly 140 sites across the city will be opening in the coming weeks.
- Drop-off Service — drop off documents and pick up completed returns later: With drop-off service, filers can drop off their tax documents and pick up the completed return later.
- Virtual Tax Prep — like in-person free filing but online: Virtual Tax Prep is an online service where an IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparer will video conference with filers to help prepare their tax return using a secure digital system. Filers can submit photos or scans of tax documents to the preparer, confirm their identity, and complete their return by video call with a preparer. Filers will need access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone; a stable internet connection; and the ability to download secure video conference software.
- Assisted Self-Preparation — free online tax prep on one’s own or with help: Assisted Self-Preparation allows filers to complete their tax return online on their own and an IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparer will be available by phone or email to answer questions. Filers will need access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone; a stable internet connection; an email address, and their 2021 adjusted gross income or self-select PIN.
Paid Tax Preparers
The city encourages eligible filers to file for free with NYC Free Tax Prep but consumers who use a paid tax preparer should ask the preparer for a Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers (available in multiple languages) and read it carefully before having their taxes prepared. Consumers should also be on alert for predatory tax preparers that overcharge, charge hidden fees, or file their returns without permission.
New Yorkers can call 311 or visit New York City’s tax prep website to choose the best filing option for themselves and find the most convenient location if choosing in-person or drop-off tax prep. A checklist of what documents New Yorkers need to bring with them to file and multilingual information about the services are available online. In-person services are available in English, Arabic, Armenian, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu, and other language are yet to come.