The most sweeping reform of federal tax law in decades has created a lot of chaos for taxpayers– just on their federal returns, but New York officials say there are also a few important changes for state taxpayers.
Just this week, the State Department of Taxation and Finance has advised New York taxpayers to take another look at the Earned Income Tax Credit, and changes in the STAR program–the school property tax exemption.
In a survey of New Yorkers applying for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the state tax department found Empire State taxpayers have really been missing the boat.
For the last reporting year, the 2016 tax year, state officials found more than 380,000 New Yorkers missed out on that tax benefit, losing out on $5.2 billion in tax refunds.
The Earned Income Tax Credit was created to give lower income workers the equivalent of a pay raise. It is for people who don’t make enoiugh to pay taxes, or only a minimal amount, but they get a substantial refund.
Greenard Poles, the Tax Director at the Hope Center in Buffalo–a program sponsored jointly by the Internal Revenue Service and the United Way, said a New York family with three children can earn as much as $49,000, and receive the credit, in a addition to other credits and deductions they have coming to them.
“There is Earned Income Credit, there is Child Tax Credit, and then there is the dependent credit, and all of those end at certain years. Dependent care credit ends at age 13, Child Tax Credit ends at age 17.”
Poles also pointed out, a taxpayer doesn’t even have to have a child to get the Earned Income Tax Credit. The limit on income for a single person is $14,000.
State tax officials are also instructing property owners who are 65 years or older, and are receiving the Enhanced STAR school tax exemption–or will be applying for the first time–they now have to take an additional step in proving their income is within state guidelines, through the Income Verification Program (IVP).
State tax officials are also emphasizing to those taxpayers 65 years or older, and need to file their Income Verification form, only have until next Friday, March 1, even if they have received the Enhanced STAR previously.
Without the formal income verification, those homeowners 65 years old and over will only qualify for the Basic STAR exemption. Click here for more information.