Coronavirus in NY: Tax preparation still happening, even from a distance


State and federal tax deadlines have been moved to July 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the extension, tax preparers are still working to help people collect and submit and pay their taxes to the IRS who are still accepting returns and processing refunds.

Both larger companies like H&R Block and local offices like Johnston Tax Service in Syracuse are doing tax consultations over the phone as they are trying to limit live interactions due to social distancing. You can drop off documents to the offices and a tax preparer will call with any questions as they get them ready to file.

Jackson Hewitt advises customers to first call and see if a local office is open and ask about the hours.

Once your taxes have been are prepared, there are a couple of options. H&R Block can send your completed return to you electronically for you to review and approve. Johnston allows for document pick up and have the client sign authorization forms for eFile. However, they are willing to mail back documents as well for those who are elderly, sick, or otherwise do not wish to come into the office. A nominal fee may apply.

Companies like TurboTax offer online options to get on-demand access to CPAs and EAs for unlimited tax advice, answers, and a final review of your documents.

Along with online tax software, H&R Block also offers their Tax Pro Go where a client can upload their tax documents through their mobile phone and a tax pro will prepare their return virtually.

Want to go the DIY route? H&R Block will still offer human help via chat, screen sharing or a phone call with their Online Assist program.

If you need a deferral on your taxes, file Form 4868 to request an extension by July 15. This extension would give you until Oct. 15 to file your return, but payment would still be due by the extended payment deadline on July 15.

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