By LORENA RAMIREZ
Congressman Charles Rangel announced on Tuesday that 14 tax preparation companies and the Internal Revenue Service were donating free online tax preparation software to low-income New Yorkers.
New Yorkers earning $60,000 or less were eligible to use Free File online through the IRS website and file for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit that “many working people are unaware they are eligible for,” Rangel said.
Created in 1975, the credit reduces the amount of taxes low to moderate income taxpayers owe, and may also give them a refund. Last year the IRS estimated that 20 percent of taxpayers eligible for the credit failed to claim it because they did not know they were eligible.
“The tax services offered at Food Bank including Free File help taxpayers get every federal credit and deduction they deserve during filing season,” said Rangel, who was joined by representatives from the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the Food Bank for New York City at the event in Harlem.
“Free File is our way of helping New Yorkers learn how to do their taxes themselves by having a tax coach around and seeing that taxes can be easy and you can do them yourself and you don’t need to necessarily pay someone to do them for you once you know how,” said Triada Stampas of the Food Bank.For
Eleven of Food Bank’s 120 full-service and drop-off sites citywide offer the Free File program with “assisted self-prep.”
“The assistance really helps people get over the hump and develop that confidence that they can actually do these forms themselves,” she added.
Food Bank was braced to increase the number of tax returns filed citywide by 50 percent.