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Tax hotline hours extended ... and other business briefs


Tax hotline hours extended

The state Department of Taxation and Finance will extend its call center hours to help businesses and tax professionals who may be using the department's new tax filing system for the first time. About 250,000 individuals will be using the new system, which officially launched in September, to file sales tax returns due Dec. 20. The new system will allow business owners to report and file sales taxes online in one go, and will also streamline the process for the department to distribute the tax revenue to local municipalities. Until Dec. 20, the tax department's call center line will be open at 518-485-2889 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The department will also be offering two online webinars to go over how to use the new system. To register for the webinar or to learn more about the tax filing system, visit -- LISA DU


GM adds 500 Buffalo jobs

General Motors says it expects to add more than 500 jobs at a Buffalo-area plant that will make engines for the automaker's new versions of two popular pickup trucks. The V8 engines for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra line of pickups will go into production early next year at the GM Powertrain plant in the town of Tonawanda, just north of Buffalo. GM unveiled new versions of the trucks Thursday in Detroit. The Tonawanda plant currently employs about 1,100 hourly and salaried workers.


Airline: No-show penalties

Southwest Airlines Co. will start charging a no-show fee for passengers who fail to cancel tickets before their flights. The company also said Friday that fees on early check-in and oversized bags are going up. Southwest brags that it doesn't charge ticket-change fees, and it lets customers apply the price of an unused ticket to a later trip. But customers who take advantage of those policies are leaving too many seats empty, the airline says. Southwest will charge the no-show fee on its cheapest fares, "Wanna Get Away" tickets. Neither the date nor the amount of the fee has been set. -- AP

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