Far Rockaway, Queens – In response to recently-announced Saturday e-file tax workshops scheduled in Far Rockaway by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D – Far Rockaway) is calling on the agency to revise its schedule to accommodate Shabbos observers.
“I applaud the state for offering taxpayers free help to file their taxes online, however this service should be available to all our families,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “Holding the events on Saturdays prevents so many in the community from getting the assistance they need. I urge the agency to revisit their schedule and consider adding days that don’t interfere with Shabbos.”
In a letter to Taxation and Finance Commissioner Jerry Boone, Assemblyman Goldfeder wrote that his office recently received the agency’s schedule for e-file tax workshops in Far Rockaway over the next four months. According to the letter, Goldfeder noticed that all eleven events scheduled at the Queens Library Far Rockaway branch were on a Saturday. This conflict with Shabbos prevent many in the community from utilizing the valuable resource during tax season. The Assemblyman called on Boone to consider revising the workshop schedule to make the events more available to the frum community.
The e-file tax workshops bring state volunteers to the community to provide free help filing taxes online. In all, 160 such events will be held at sites throughout Queens and Nassau counties during the months of January-February. According to the agency’s website, individuals earning less than $62,000 in 2015 are eligible to prepare and e-file both federal and state returns free of charge. More than 90% of taxpayers are eligible to file at least their state taxes online, the website states. Taxpayers can utilize the state’s free filling software by going to www.tax.ny.gov
Assemblyman Goldfeder’s request comes amid numerous recent efforts to help local residents during tax time. Last week, Goldfeder called on the NYC Department of Finance to schedule additional city property tax informational sessions in the community. On Friday, Goldfeder will take his concerns with the city’s property tax regime to a public hearing convened by the Assembly Committee on Real Property Taxation. For Goldfeder, making information more readily available can translate into real savings for middle class families in the community.
“With our current tax codes as complicated as they are, it’s often hard for families to understand the benefits and tax breaks available to them,” concluded Goldfeder. “Being well-informed can often make the difference on tax returns.”