Most Long Island families with children are in line to receive $350 from New York State again this year, though unlike in 2015, the money will be in the form of a tax credit, not a check in the mail.
The state Department of Taxation and Finance recently posted on its website (on.ny.gov/1mFS5rA) Form IT-114, which taxpayers who are eligible for the Family Tax Relief Credit must complete and mail with their 2015 personal income tax return. For taxpayers filing electronically, tax-preparation software will automatically determine eligibility and apply for them, so they don’t have to submit the form.
The tax credit was first given last year based on information from 2012 tax returns. No application was necessary to receive the refundable credit, which consisted of a $350 check mailed to eligible households.
The checks now have been replaced by credits applied to 2015 state personal income taxes. In some cases this will mean a larger tax refund, according to Tax Department spokesman Geoffrey Gloak.
He said the tax credit equals $350 per family regardless of the number of children in the household.
To be eligible, the taxpayer must have lived in New York State for all of 2015, have at least one dependent child under age 17 as of Dec. 31, 2015, have adjusted gross income between $40,000 and $300,000, and have a 2015 state tax liability “of zero or greater,” after credits.
Gloak estimated more than 212,000 Long Island families would receive the tax credit, about the same as last year. More information is available at on.ny.gov/1QdQ2Hc.
State Sen. John J. Flanagan (R-East Northport), the majority leader, praised the tax credits and separate property-tax rebate checks on Wednesday but said he and his GOP colleagues would seek to reduce taxes permanently.
“I love the idea of a rebate check, but frankly I’d like to be doing tax cuts instead of giving people back their own money — which they should have had in the first place,” Flanagan said in a speech opening the Senate’s 2016 session in Albany.
The tax credit and the Property Tax Freeze Credit program were established by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature in 2014. The freeze credit is delivered as a rebate check.
The tax department has begun sending checks to eligible Long Islanders. Gloak estimated about 600,000 checks would be distributed locally by next month.
For many homeowners, the property tax rebate checks are substantially larger than last year. However, some checks have been reduced because local governments failed to meet state requirements, most notably keeping tax increases under the state Property Tax Cap, which was 1.56 percent last year.
The rebate offsets “two years of school tax increases and one year of increases for all other jurisdictions, as long as they complied with the requirements,” Gloak said. “We expect that, statewide, the average credit amount will be 2.5 times more than last year.”