The state Department of Taxation and Finance recently announced it has expanded free translation and interpretation services to the public. The reason for the additional support is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order last year that directed all state agencies to improve access to government for people with limited English proficiency.
The Tax Department has been providing a limited number of Web pages and documents in Spanish and providing interpretation services in multiple language for taxpayers, it significantly expanded the number of vital documents that are available in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Italian, Korean and Haitian Creole, the most commonly spoken non-English languages in New York. The agency has staff that can provide interpretation services in 37 languages, including Vietnamese, Swahili, Polish, Farsi and Hebrew.
“An individual’s language should not be a barrier to receiving information and assistance from our Department,” Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox said in a statement. “Our goal is to help taxpayers with limited English skills better understand our publications and services, such as money-saving credits, for which they may be eligible.”
The agency is now including a brief multi-language insert in many of its mailings to individuals, businesses and tax-return preparers.
Over time, the department plans to expand the number of translated documents available on its Web site as part of an ongoing effort to broaden access to information for all taxpayers, said Margaret Sherman, deputy commissioner for processing and taxpayer services.
“Taxpayers who receive notices from us can now reach our call center staff and ask for the document to be interpreted into any language,” she said.
One of the most commonly called numbers at the Department of Taxation and Finance is the Personal Income Tax Information Center, 518-457-5181.