The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said it has helped 42,415 taxpayers who called its Taxpayer Information Center with language assistance in 79 different languages.
The department set up a Language Access Program in October 2012 to help taxpayers for whom English is not their native language. The program has met increasing demand this past tax season. From the 2013 to the 2014 income tax season there was a 56% increase in the department’s interpretation services.
The most common languages were Spanish (31,266 calls), Mandarin (3,842) and Russian (3,020), which together accounted for 90 percent of the calls. The calls involving 60 other languages collectively totaled only 1 percent. Included in the latter category were dozens of regional languages such as Bambara (Mali), Tigrinya (Ethiopia) and Taishanese (China).
“All New Yorkers deserve access to State services, regardless of the language they speak,” said Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox in a statement. “This need--this inclusion--has been recognized by all state agencies, and the Tax Department’s results prove that it is the right thing to do.”
As a result of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 26, the Tax Department also published its critical publications in New York’s most commonly spoken non-English languages: Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Italian, Korean and Haitian Creole.
The language assistance number is (518) 453-8137.