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Rep. Rangel Urges New Yorkers To Use Tax Prep Program And Save At Tax Time

Mar 12, 2013 Issues: Taxes

 

In Visit With Taxpayers in the Bronx, Rangel Calls on All New Yorkers Who Made Less Than $57,000 to Use Free File to File Their Taxes for Free

Bronx, NY –On Monday, Congressman Charles B. Rangel urged eligible New Yorkers to use the IRS and New York Free File programs to save money at tax time. During a visit with constituents at the Bronx Library Center, one of Food Bank For New York City’s Free Income Tax Services, Rangel urged all eligible New Yorkers to use the Free File program, which provides taxpayers who made $57,000 or less in 2012 - 70 percent of all taxpayers – free use of name-brand tax preparation software. The event was sponsored by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA).

Free File helps eligible taxpayers save on the cost of tax preparation, which costs an average of $246. The software offered by Free File also helps ensure taxpayers claim deductions and tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), one of the nation’s most effective anti-poverty tools. The IRS estimates that 20-25 percent of taxpayers eligible for the EITC fail to claim it, many because they do not know they are eligible such as grandparents raising their grandchildren. Last year, 1.7 million New Yorkers claimed the EITC and received an average of $2,212 back from the IRS.

“The Free File program helps working families in New York file their taxes for free, and claim credits like the EITC, which is an effective anti-poverty tool,” said Rep. Rangel, who fought to enact EITC in 1975 and has since been a champion in Congress to expand it. “This program, which doesn’t cost a dime of taxpayer dollars, also takes the confusion out of tax preparation and keeps money in the pockets of working people who need it most. I strongly urge eligible New Yorkers to use this easy and convenient program, and save at tax time.”

“With the help of the tax preparation software products made available through Free File, filing taxes is easier than many people think. If you can send text messages, use email or surf the Internet, chances are you will have no trouble with Free File,” said Chris Long, who represented CCIA at the event. 

New York is one of 22 states plus the District of Columbia that sponsors a state Free File program, allowing residents to easily and accurately complete both their federal and state taxes for free with the software product they choose.

During the event taxpayers used the library’s computers to access the software available through Free File and students from Frederick Douglass Academy, Congressman Rangel’s alma mater, served as volunteers.  The trained student volunteers greeted taxpayers, explained the program, helped them log on to software and connected them with a tax expert from Food Bank when they needed professional tax expertise.  The Food Bank For New York City was a pioneer in helping taxpayers learn how to self-prepare their taxes with Free File and inspired a nationwide network of community organizations to provide the assistance, as well.

Created in 2002, Free File is an innovative, public-private partnership between the IRS and electronic tax software companies, that enables eligible taxpayers to choose from among the best-known and most trusted commercial tax preparation software products to prepare their federal return for free.  Because New York sponsors a state Free File program, taxpayers eligible for the IRS Free File program can use the software they select to also prepare and file their state return for free.

According to the IRS, 36 million taxpayers have prepared their federal returns through Free File since the program began more than a decade ago.

For a listing of Food Bank For New York City’s Free Income Tax Services Sites visit www.FoodBankNYC.org or call 311.

To learn about Free File and who is eligible to file their taxes for free visit the following web sites

-   www.FreeFile.IRS.gov

-   www.tax.ny.gov/pit/efile/freefile_eligibility1.htm

-   www.taxprephelp.org

About CCIA: The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) is an international nonprofit membership organization dedicated to innovation and enhancing society's access to information and communications. CCIA promotes open markets, open systems, open networks and full, fair and open competition in the computer, telecommunications and Internet industries.