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22% of LI income tax returns not filed, with 2 weeks to go, state says

A fifth of Long Islanders still haven't filed

A fifth of Long Islanders still haven't filed their tax returns, state officials say. Credit: Bloomberg/Daniel Acker

Twenty-two percent of income tax returns from Long Island remain to be filed, with two weeks before the deadline, state officials said.

More than 328,000 tax returns out of 1.5 million from Nassau and Suffolk counties still must be filed, according to state Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Michael Schmidt. The deadline is July 15.

Schmidt said more than 50% of local taxpayers will receive a refund; last year, 900,000 got refunds. The average 2019 refund is projected to be more than $1,450, up from an estimated $1,166 for 2018.

State and federal officials extended the tax filing deadline by three months because of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown of nonessential activity to slow the virus’ spread.

“We encourage those who haven’t already filed to do so before the July 15 deadline, especially if they’re owed a refund at this financially challenging time,” Schmidt said, referring to record unemployment due to the coronavirus-induced recession.

Long Island’s percentage of still-to-be-filed tax returns “is consistent with the statewide percentage,” Tax Department spokesman James Gazzale said on Tuesday.

Taxpayers with 2019 household income of up to $69,000 are eligible to prepare and file both federal and state tax returns  using free software available on the tax department’s website. Go to tax.ny.gov/pit/efile/default.htm. Instructional videos may be found at tax.ny.gov/pit/efile/filing-checklist.htm.

Taxpayers with 2019 income of up to $55,952 are eligible for Earned Income Tax Credits on their federal and state returns. The credits can be as much as $8,852 for a couple with three or more children. More information is available at tax.ny.gov/pit/credits/earned_income_credit.htm.

For more information, taxpayers can call the tax department at 518-457-5181. The wait time is about 1 minute, Gazzale said.

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