Who Needs to File New York State Taxes?

Posted by on June 21, 2013
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Who Needs to File New York State Taxes?

Figure out if you need to file a New York return and then take care of it on RapidTax

There are three categories of people who have to file a New York State return: residents, nonresidents, and part-year residents. All three categories have different reasons for filing.


New York residents are pretty much those people who live permanently in New York State. Officially a resident is anyone whose domicile is in New York or whose domicile is not in NY but who maintained a permanent place of abode in NY for more than 11 months of the year and spent at least 184 days here.

Obviously there are exceptions, but they are relatively few and far between. You can find the definition of a resident and the exceptions here.

Generally New York residents must file Form IT-201 Resident Income Tax Return if they were also required to file a federal return. They must pay tax on ALL of their income no matter where it was earned.

In certain cases you may have to file a NY return even if you didn’t have to file a federal return, such as when your federal adjusted gross income plus New York additions is more than $4,000 ($3,000 for single people who can be claimed as a dependent by someone else).


Nonresidents are people who live in a state other than New York.

Nonresidents must file Form IT-203 Nonresident and Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return if they had New York source income. This includes people who commute to New York for work as well as a variety of other circumstances. You can see the full definition of New York source income here.

However, you do not need to file a return if your New York adjusted gross income (the federal column of line 31 on Form IT-203) is less than your NY standard deduction (which depends on your filing status).

Part-year residents

Part-year residents are those who moved into or out of New York during the tax year. Generally as a part-year resident you must file Form IT-203 Nonresident and Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return if you had any income during the period when you were a resident or any New York source income during the time you were a nonresident.

Other reasons to file

There are a variety of other reasons why you may have to file a New York return, even if you don’t fall into any of the categories above, including if

  • NYS, NYC, or Yonkers taxes were withheld from your pay and you want to claim a refund
  • you want to claim refundable or carryover credits
  • you’re subject to NYS minimum income tax
  • you had a net operating loss for NYS personal income tax purposes, but not for federal tax purposes

If you do need to file a New York return, you can do so right here on RapidTax. We’ll take care of your federal and state returns at the same time.

Photo via Vincent on Flickr.

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18 Responses to “Who Needs to File New York State Taxes?”

  1. Fran says:

    I am a 69 year old that moved to New York in November of last year. I only collect Social Security. Have not worked in over a year. Why do I have to file a New York State return for 2015? I was filing my federal online and it wont let me continute unless I file a State Return

  2. Lynda says:

    I am confused with all this NYC stuff. My husband and I live in NJ He works in NJ but I work in Staten Island. Is SI considered NYC? Can we still file joint or do I just need to file in NY?

    • Tax Advisor says:

      Hi Lynda,

      As one of the five boroughs, Staten Island is considered a part of NYC; even for tax purposes. You can still file a joint return. However, I suggest filing a joint federal and resident NJ tax return. You can file a separate NY non resident tax return so that the tax will not be calculated based on a combined income.

  3. Lisa Kamleithner says:


    I am a nonresident of New York (I am here on a exchance visa.) So I am also not a resident of any other state. Does that mean I am not required to pay New York State taxes?

    • A non-resident must pay income taxes to the IRS but only on the income that was earned in the US. When you prepare your US tax return, you must use Form 1040NR or the shorter 1040NR-EZ, if eligible. Regardless of the form you use, you will only report amounts that are considered US-source income. If you are a New York State non-resident, you must file a non-resident return.

      • Daniel Arvelund says:

        For the federal tax return, you might be treated as non-resident if you are here on an exchange visa, even though you actually live here. But for the state return, is it true that the visa type does not govern but the actual place that you live? So that in Lisa’s case, if she is living (full-time 12 months, for example) in any state, wouldn’t she be considered as a resident for STATE tax purposes?

  4. Mary Ann says:

    My 22 year old son worked for a professor last summer (summer 2016) at RPI in Troy NY. We live in North Carolina so this is my son’s permanent address. His gross wages were $4200, therefore he does not need to file a federal tax return. He had $88.56 in NY state tax withheld – so he paid some tax. Does he need to file?

  5. Tatiana Zhura says:

    I moved to New York in July last year, but my income was coming from a company based in CT for the rest of the tax year. I paid and filed my federal and CT state taxes but didn’t file anything for New York. Should have I?

    • The answer depends on what state was reported in Boxes 15-20 on your W-2. If CT and NY both appear, then you should have filed a Part Year CT and Part Year NY return. If just one of the states appear, then you would only have to file for the state that appears. (This only applies for Part-Year Residency)

      • Jacqueline M. says:

        That doesn’t seem quite right – if you moved to NY, you should allocate your income to NY starting when your residency began. If only one state was withheld, you’d likely get a refund from CT and owe NY since none was withheld.

  6. Greg says:

    I live in Texas. I haven’t been a resident of NYC for two years. I am an army reservist I received about $4000 for the entire year from nyc. I am married filing jointly. Do I need to do a NY tax return?

  7. Lacey Parga says:


    Hope much money do you have to make to file taxes if your self Employed?

  8. Mike says:


    I have been active military since August 2003. I joined from the stste of NY and have not generated any income from the state of NY.

    I was married from 2004 to 2015 my wife lived in brooklyn new york.

    I filled ‘married separate” or head of “household” but never filled my wife on my tax return. Again and I have not lived on NY since 2003.

    All of my federal return has been confiscated to pay state tax.

    I have never filled “non resident tax documents” except for last year.

    Am I subject to pay NY state tax?

    Am I supposed to recieve my confiscated tax money back?

  9. Tom says:

    I live in NYS and I am retired. I don’t pay any state income tax. Must I file a NYS tax return?

  10. Jo says:

    I’m single with one job filing a federal and NY tax return. I found out that i owe NY state tax $300+ and I don’t know why is that? I never owed state tax ever since I started filing my Income tax. So is it ok to file as a part year resident of NY to avoid owing the state even tho I’m a full year resident of NY for the whole 2017?

  11. Andrea says:

    Hi, every year my state return has to be adjusted… when completing my taxes I enter into the software that I am a NYC resident because I live in Staten Island… they give me my figures and I wait for my refund. Then suddenly I receive an adjustment letter decreasing my refund by approx 1500 dollars, with reason being I claim NYC resident. I’m confused, is Staten Island not to be claimed as NYC resident?

  12. Sandy says:

    I lived in NY until April of 2017. I’ve been living in Texas from then till now. Do I file for ny tax return, when I read online it says I wasn’t considered a resident and doesn’t give me an option to put the four months I did work. I do not get any income from them sense April 2017 and am seeing I don’t have to. Am I correct ?

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