Tool | November 2018

State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees

New York

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The Bottom Line
Map of New York

Not Tax-Friendly

Retirees catch several income-tax breaks in the Empire State that help offset the state's eye-popping property and sales taxes: The state does not tax Social Security benefits or public pensions. There is also an exemption of up to $20,000 for private pensions and out-of-state government pensions. New York state law gives local governments and public school districts the option of granting a reduction of the amount of property taxes paid by qualifying seniors 65 and older.

State Sales Tax

4% state levy. Localities can add as much as 4.88%, and the average combined rate is 8.49%, according to the Tax Foundation. In the New York City metro area, there is an additional 0.375% sales tax to support transit. Clothing and footwear that cost less than $110 (per item or pair) are exempt from sales tax.

Income Tax Range

Low: 4.0% (on up to $8,500 of taxable income for single filers and up to $17,150 for married couples filing jointly)

High: 8.82% (on taxable income over $1,070,550 for single filers and over $2,155,350 for married couples filing jointly). New York allows localities to impose an income tax; the average levy is 2.11%, per the Tax Foundation.

Social Security

Benefits are not taxed.

Exemptions for Other Retirement Income

Military, civil-service, and New York state and local government pensions are exempt. Up to $20,000 of qualified private pensions and annuity income for people 59 1/2 and older are also exempt. Out-of-state government pensions can be deducted as part of the $20,000 exemption. Railroad Retirement benefits are not taxed.


Qualifies for the retirement-income exemption.

401(k)s and Other Defined-Contribution Employer Retirement Plans

Qualifies for the retirement-income exemption.

Private Pensions

Qualifies for the retirement-income exemption.

Public Pensions

Military, civil service, and New York state and local government pensions are exempt. Out-of-state government pensions qualify for the retirement-income exemption.

Property Taxes

The median property tax on New York’s median home value of $286,300 is $4,738.

Tax breaks for seniors: New York State law gives local governments and public-school districts the option of granting a reduction on the amount of property taxes paid by qualifying senior citizens by reducing the assessed value of residential property owned by seniors by 50%. To qualify, seniors must be 65 or older and meet certain income limitations and other requirements. For the 50% exemption, the law allows each county, city, town, village or school district to set the maximum income limit between $3,000 and $29,000. Under the so-called sliding-scale option, localities may also grant an exemption of less than 50% to senior citizens with yearly incomes between $29,000 and $37,399,99.

There is also an Enhanced STAR program for seniors. The Enhanced STAR exemption is available for the primary residences of senior citizens (age 65 and older) with annual household incomes not exceeding the statewide standard. Combined income must be $86,000 or less in 2017 For qualifying senior citizens, the Enhanced STAR program exempts the first $66,800 (for 2018 to 2019 school tax bills) of the full value of their home from school property taxes.

You may qualify for a state income tax credit of up to $375 if at least one member of the household is 65 or older, household gross income is $18,000 or less, and you pay either property taxes or rent.

Vehicle Taxes

Sales tax is due on purchases. Some counties also charge a tax based on the weight of the vehicle.

Inheritance and Estate Taxes

Estates exceeding $5.49 million are subject to estate tax, with a top rate of 16%.

The state estate tax is a “cliff tax.” That means if the value of the estate is more than 105% of the current exemption, the exemption won’t be available and the entire estate will be subject to state estate tax.