Attorney General James, County Executive Poloncarz, Mayor Brown Offer Tips For This Tax Season

BUFFALO – New York Attorney General Letitia James, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown today continued their efforts to protect and inform New Yorkers by offering tips and information on various resources available this tax season. With this year’s Tax Day only a month away, the officials are raising awareness about tax credits that may be at New Yorkers’ disposal, to ensure taxpayers receive the benefits they have earned. Additionally, Attorney General James urged New Yorkers to stay vigilant and report any suspected tax scams to her office. 

“Tax season may feel overwhelming to many New Yorkers, but thankfully there are resources available to lighten the load,” said Attorney General James. “I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of the organizations dedicated to helping out during the tax preparation process, and to utilize all of the tax breaks for which you qualify. Additionally, please stay vigilant against bad actors trying to take advantage, and you can always report concerns and complaints to my office. I am proud to partner with County Executive Poloncarz and Mayor Brown to help raise awareness and ensure New Yorkers have all the information they need for a less stressful tax season.”

“Tax season is here and it’s important to know how to file properly so that taxpayers are aware of all possible tax relief and are taking advantage of it, as well as avoiding unscrupulous tax preparers and scams,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “I urge people preparing their taxes to check with the Attorney General’s office to ensure that everything is correct, and I thank Attorney General James for this outreach effort.”

“These resources will help Buffalo residents get their taxes done properly,” said Buffalo Mayor Bryon Brown. “I am proud to partner with Attorney General James and County Executive Poloncarz to help spread the word and ensure our constituents know about the support that is available for them. I urge Buffalo tax filers to utilize this information and take advantage of the tax credits they qualify for. And, I encourage everyone to spread the word so more of our neighbors can benefit from these services.”

As part of their ongoing efforts to help New Yorkers file their taxes safely and help reduce the stress the tax filing process can cause, Attorney General James, County Executive Poloncarz, and Mayor Brown want to ensure New Yorkers are aware of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Free Filing program. Additionally, New York state has the Taxpayer Assistance Program (TAP) under which eligible New Yorkers can receive free virtual tax assistance from the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance. New Yorkers should know that there are Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites where they can get their tax returns prepared free of charge. Locally, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County oversees the WNY Regional VITA Network, which offers free tax preparation to eligible residents. Anyone using a tax preparer is encouraged to check their qualifications and history through the Better Business Bureau and consult New York’s Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers

Attorney General James, County Executive Poloncarz, and Mayor Brown also remind New Yorkers filing their taxes to apply for tax credits, which can reduce the amount of income tax you owe. Major programs available for eligible New Yorkers include the Empire State child credit, the property tax relief credit, the earned income credit, the solar energy system equipment credit, and many more. For more information about available tax credits, please visit New York state’s Department of Taxation and Finance income tax credit page.

Additionally, Attorney General James, County Executive Poloncarz, and Mayor Brown urge New Yorkers to remain vigilant against deceptive tax preparer schemes. One scheme to be aware of is tax preparers who deceptively claim to get your tax refund quicker, but will charge high interest rates and fees in the form of Tax Refund Advance Loans. Additional schemes include tax preparers who manipulate your financials to illegally inflate your tax return, and fraudsters who make false promises of free tax preparation services, only to deceive people into paying for those services. 

Any New Yorker who suspects that they are a victim of a scam are encouraged to report it to the Office of the Attorney General by submitting a complaint online or calling 800-771-7755. Tax scams should also be reported to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.  

Today’s action is the latest in Attorney General James’ efforts to protect consumers from fraudulent tax schemes and practices. Last week, Attorney General James provided tips to protect consumers from fraudulent tax schemes. In May 2022, Attorney General James secured $141 million for millions of Americans who were deceived by TurboTax into paying for tax services that should have been free. In March 2022, Attorney General James issued a notice to ensure New York cryptocurrency investors were informed about their tax obligations. In March 2021, Attorney General James shut down a deceptive telefunding charity and ensured that future efforts to raise money would clearly inform New Yorkers that such donations are not tax deductible.