Don’t get hit with unexpected tax bill from unemployment insurance payments

New York State Tax Department shares money-saving resources to assist New Yorkers and reminds taxpayers that unemployment insurance payments are taxable income

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance recently encouraged New Yorkers to review their current tax situation. 

The Department of Taxation and Finance, in a press release, wrote, “By taking a closer look at your tax records now, you can ensure you don’t end up owing unpaid taxes, and you may be able to claim valuable tax credits when you file your income tax return next year.” 

“We know that many taxpayers are facing challenges this year, and we want to remind them of all the valuable tax credits available here in New York,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Mike Schmidt. “We also want taxpayers to understand that unemployment insurance payments are taxable. As a result, some taxpayers may need to adjust their withholding to prevent a tax bill in 2021.”

If you are receiving unemployment benefits, consider having tax withheld from these payments to avoid owing taxes when you file your federal and New York State income tax return next year. New York State unemployment insurance benefits and any of the special unemployment compensation authorized under the Coronavirus Relief Act are considered taxable income. By law, the New York State Department of Labor must report these benefits to the IRS and to the New York State Tax Department.

The department encourages residents to review their records and, if necessary, adjust the tax withholdings. You can change your tax withholding option on the DOL website. Doing this could help you avoid a tax bill next year. 

To start or stop the withholding of federal or state taxes from your weekly benefits, login to with your ID, click “Unemployment Benefits,” click “Payment and Tax Withholding Options,” click “Tax Withholding” and follow the instructions.

In January 2021, unemployment benefit recipients must access Form 1099-G, which reports Certain Government Payments, from the NYS Department of Labor website. The 1099-G will show the amount of unemployment benefits received during 2020. Recipients must report this information, along with information from other income tax forms such as Form W-2, on their 2020 federal and New York income tax returns.

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