Two months after the April 17 filing deadline for tax returns, 99 percent of taxpayers eligible for refunds have received them, state Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas Mattox announced today. By the filing deadline, more than a million refunds totaling $730 million had been sent out, a 29 percent increase over the same time last year.
At this time 10 years ago, millions of refunds had yet to be issued, he said, adding that the agency has worked to make it easier for taxpayers to do business with the state. The Tax Department has implemented safer refund methods, easier filing options and more “Free Filed” returns.
Of the 6.1 million refunds that have been issued, nearly 70 percent were either deposited directly into bank accounts or using a new debit-card option, making the process safer for taxpayers, according to Mattox. The number of paper checks issued is down 15 percent from last year.
Other highlights of income-tax refunds this year:
—The state paid 1.5 million Earned Income Tax Credit programs totaling nearly $1 billion. Ninety-four percent of benefits go to families with children. The average credit for a family with two kids is $940. The credit offsets a filer’s liability and can dramatically increase a refund. The Tax Department launched a series of summits on the Earned Income Tax Credit which helped reduce the burden on applicants.
—More New Yorkers e-filed their tax returns this year than ever before. Eighty-seven percent of the 9.23 million returns filed were submitted electronically, a 10 percent increase over last year.
—Taxpayers with incomes less than $57,000 can file their state and federal returns at no cost by accessing Free File on the department’s website. Usage increased 16 percent this year. The agency estimates millions more taxpayers are eligible for this service.
—Income-tax rates this year are the lowest for middle-income New Yorkers in 58 years.