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Information for seniors

Pension and annuity income
Your pension income is not taxable in New York State when it is paid by:

  • New York State or local government
  • the federal government, including Social Security benefits
  • certain public authorities

If you are over the age of 59 ½ or turn 59 ½ during the tax year, you may qualify for a private pension and annuity exclusion of up to $20,000. This exclusion from New York State taxable income applies to pension and annuity income included in your federal adjusted gross income. For more information on the pension exclusions and other benefits for retired people, see Publication 36, General Information for Senior Citizens and Retired Persons.

IRS Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income, may assist you in computing your reportable pension income on your federal income tax return. IRS Publication 554, Tax Guide for Seniors, explains federal tax benefits that apply to older Americans.
Return filing requirements
Even if you do not owe New York State income taxes, you must file an income tax return if you live in New York State and:

  • are required to file a federal return,
  • did not have to file a federal return, but your federal adjusted gross income plus New York additions exceeds $4000 (or $3100 if you are single and can be claimed as a dependent on another person's federal tax return),
  • want to claim a refund, or 
  • want to claim certain credits.

If the tax due on your income tax return is more than $300 of either New York State, New York City, or Yonkers tax, or any amount of metropolitan commuter transportation mobility tax (MCTMT), you may have to pay estimated tax. See Estimated tax for more information.

If you are owed a refund, get it quickly and safely with direct deposit—see Direct deposit of your income tax refund. You may also request to receive your refund in the mail in the form of a check.