‘Chaos’ reigns for taxpayers, preparers despite late tax deadline

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Remember that relief you felt when the taxman gave you another month to get your taxes done? Well, the deadline is Monday, and we’re looking into what may be one of the most exasperating tax seasons in many years.

“‘Chaotic’ would probably be the best word I would describe it by.”

Tim Eliason is among the many tax professionals sweating over the changes in the law this year, some of them coming after tax returns had already been filed. Eliason told us, many of their clients at EG Tax Service don’t know what to expect.

“They sit down and you would think they are coming to their funeral because they just make the assumption they are going to owe money because they did not work and they had all this money coming in from the government,” said Eliason.

The state Department of Taxation and Finance is standing by to help New Yorkers meet Monday’s deadline. Those with incomes under $72,000 are eligible to Free File their taxes, both state and federal, through the state’s website.

“It is user-friendly software. It is a series of questions that just prompts you to give the correct information — all the information. It will also prompt you to claim the credits that you deserve,” added NYS Taxpayer Advocate Margaret Neri.

Margaret Neri heads up New York’s Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, and she says one of the most overlooked benefits of tax law is the Earned Income Tax Credit for those whose income slides in under the radar.

“If you are a family with three dependents and you are earning about $56,000, your combined federal, state Earned Income Tax Credit would be close to $8,000. That would be a refund in your pocket,” said Neri.

And Neri says free filing is the easiest and fastest way to get your refund.

“It is going to prompt you to put your direct deposit information in there. You will get your refund within weeks, if not, days.”

you still need to file an extension, Neri and Tim Eliason advise paying what you think you owe to avoid penalties and interest. In addition to the website, the state tax department’s call center is extending its hours to 7:00 Monday night.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.

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