NY?Connects And The New Year 2014

Most everyone likes to think about New Year’s resolutions at this time of year. Committing to them is completely another thing. Here is one New Year’s resolution that you can stick to: call NY Connects for information and assistance for services and opportunities for you in the New Year. You can call NY Connects about various programs like exercise and classes to improve your health.

How about the other big one: stop smoking. This is a great goal, and most of us who have done this did so with support from others. NY Connects has a listing of resources available to you to kick the smoking habit. Every hospital has a resource available to the public for this big challenge.

The tax season is coming. I can’t think of anyone who enjoys tax season except the talented folks who prepare them and help out all the rest of us in this yearly task. There are some services for tax preparation that you may find helpful right here in Chautauqua County. People can get information and assistance with referrals to many community agencies and programs designed to help people remain at home and offer support in their communities. NY Connects assesses your needs and then gives you options you can choose from to meet them. The Chautauqua County NY Connects phone line is available to all people in Chautauqua County, as a first call for information and assistance.

In the north part of the county there is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program or VITA. This program is sponsored by the Chautauqua County Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition. This coalition works to help income-eligible people file their federal and New York State Tax returns and claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you worked in 2013 and meet the income eligibility guidelines you could be eligible for assistance in filing. An Earned Income Tax credit is a credit for people who work and earned less than $50,270 or less (depending on filing status and the number of dependents). A tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe. In the north county you are encouraged to call VITA at 366-5424 for an appointment. An IRS-certified volunteer can assist you in preparing your taxes, and if you meet the income requirements there is no cost for this service.

In the South County VITA has the same service. For Southern Chautauqua County VITA services please call 211 or 1-888-696-9211 to schedule appointments. Both north and south Chautauqua County residents can go to the United Way of Chautauqua County website at www.uwayscc.org.

You will be asked to bring several items including a valid photo ID, this year’s tax package if you received it, last year’s federal and state returns – if available, all your wage and earning statements (forms W-2, W2-G, 1099-R), interest and dividend statements from your banks, unemployment benefits statements (form 1099-G), Social Security cards, and dates of birth for you and all your dependents, if claiming child/dependent credit-total paid for daycare and the providers tax ID number and address, Form 8332 or similar document for non-custodial parent claiming child – if applicable, and a bank routing transit and account numbers if you wish to have a refund or portion of a refund directly deposited in your bank.

Remember to register for the STAR program if you own a home. Eligibility in 2014 is based on income information from the 2012 tax year. Income means federal “adjusted gross income” minus the “taxable amount” of total distributions from individual retirement accounts or individual retirement annuities (IRAs).

BASIC STAR

Residency: You must own your home and it must be your primary residence.

Age: No age restriction.

Income: $500,000 or less. The income limit applies to the combined incomes of only the owners and owners’ spouses who reside at the property.

ENHANCED STAR

Residency: You must own your home and it must be your primary residence.

Age: 65 or older For jointly owned property, only one spouse or sibling must be at least 65 by Dec. 31 of the year when the exemption will begin.

Income: $81,900 or less. The income limit applies to all owners, and any owner’s spouse who resides at the property.

Seniors – If you’re an Enhanced STAR recipient and your local government or school district offers a partial property tax exemption for seniors with limited incomes, you may be eligible for both exemptions. Seniors who receive the Senior Citizens Exemption automatically qualify for Enhanced STAR. As a result, they only need to submit the RP-467 Application for Partial Tax Exemption for Real Property of Senior Citizens to the assessor, and if qualified they will receive both the Senior Citizens and Enhanced STAR exemptions.

What is the Senior Citizens’ Exemption?

The Senior Citizens’ Exemption is a benefit program that reduces your property taxes by 50 percent. If you’re 65 or older and earn $29,000 or less, you may be eligible. Call NY Connects for more information or questions.

NY Connects is your one-stop call for information about services available to you in Chautauqua County. Call with your questions, and we will provide you with local services and resources in an effort to meet your needs. You can reach NY Connects by phone: Jamestown areas: 661-7582, Dunkirk/Fredonia areas: 363-4582 and Mayville areas/mid county: 753-4582, fax: 753-4844, emailccnyc@co.chautauqua.ny.us. You can come and see us at 7 N. Erie St., Mayville. NY Connects is brought to you in cooperation from the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging and the Department of Health and Human Services.