Even if with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic one thing is still certain: Taxes are coming due on April 15. But state officials say they are easy -- and free -- ways to file this year. 

Tax season is officially soon to be upon us and, while that may be something of a bummer to pay up, New York tax officials like Tax and Finance Commissioner Michael Schmidt says despite the pandemic, it's easier to do so than ever before. 

"What we definitely expect to see an increase in what has been a long term trend, which is an increase toward e-filing returns," Schmidt said. "That's definitely something we encourage.

Filing your taxes online often means your return will land in your bank account faster. It's also more secure. 

"E-filing the return means that there's secure protocol for getting that return into the IRS system, getting into our system," Schmidt said. "So it's something we encourage because it is easier and results in a more speedy refund for taxpayers, but also because it is more secure."

In previous years, the state has offered free in-person tax assistance to New Yorkers filing their taxes. But the pandemic has moved that online. 

"We've moved that process to a virtual process this year which we're very excited about and we have an array of services from our call center and our website that are provided to New York taxpayers," Schmidt said. 

And for New Yorkers who made less than $72,000 in 2020 -- filing your taxes can be done for free. New Yorkers seeking assistance can go to the tax department's website.  

"We really want to make sure New Yorkers are aware of this free file resource because the average cost of filing taxes is $250 in New York state, there's definitely a lot of money out there in these challenging economic times for taxpayers to save," he said. 

Tax filing season officially begins on Friday.