Can you file your taxes for free in New York? Maybe.

Background. One of the only things I kept after my 2011 divorce (besides the television) was our tax preparer. He was a friend of the family, and he worked very hard to make sure we paid our fair share to the government and, when possible, received our fair share back.

I continued to employ his services after the divorce, and he was the kind of throwback tax preparer I appreciated. He did all his mathematics with a solar-powered calculator and a pencil. He wrote neatly on every form. He let me know what I owed, and he let me know when I would receive a refund. And, side note, he had the cutest little black cat that wandered around the office.

Anyway, three years ago, he underwent bypass surgery and was not able to prepare my taxes. I worried about this – because I didn’t want to rely on one of those corporate tax preparation companies or software programs that charge you an enormous amount for tax work. No, he said, there’s a better option. New York State offers free tax services for both federal and state forms, depending on your age and income bracket.


Yes, seriously.

You can click at this link and, if you qualify, you can file your federal and state taxes for free.

Note that I said “if you qualify.” Because there’s a bit of a caveat here.

You get free online tax preparation so long as …

  • your federal adjusted gross income (AGI) is $41,000 or less regardless of age, or
  • you are 57 years old or younger with a federal adjusted gross income (AGI) of $60,000 or less, or
  • your federal AGI was $73,000 or less and you served as Active Duty Military (including Reservists and National Guard).

Got it? Good.

Now New York State partners with three online tax companies – OLT, TaxSlayer and FreeTax USA, all of whom have their own requirements. I used the OLT platform in 2020, 2021 and 2022 – it was a simple, step-by-step interface and was as free as air and sunshine.

Until this year. At least for me.

See … I took care of all my tax papers this year, went on OLT and started filling out everything. It was only then that I discovered – after completing all the tax documents necessary –

I’m too old for free filing. At least on the state level. My federal taxes were still free, but I was nicked $9.95 for New York State filing because I’m over 57 years of age.

Wonderful. </sarcasm>

I mean … it’s only $9.95, it’s not like it’s $99.95 … but still, I’m not enamored with paying a surcharge for my state tax preparation.

But I’ll look at it the same way I look at my taxes every year. Pay my fair share, and receive back my fair share. And as long as both are met, then everything is equitable.

And now it’s just waiting for Uncle Sam and Aunt Kathy Hochul to send me my refunds.

Minus the $9.95 that Kathy Hochul took because I’m over 57. Pfft.