Most NYSLRS pensions are subject to federal income tax (some disability benefits are not taxable).
NYSLRS pensions are not subject to New York State or local income tax, but if you move to another state, that state may tax your pension. Visit the Retired Public Employees Association website to see which states tax pensions.
Federal Tax Withholding Information
NYSLRS calculates the amount withheld from your monthly benefit payment based on the information you provide us on a W-4P form (Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments).
You can check your current withholding by signing in to Retirement Online and viewing your most recent benefit payment pay stub. If you retire and do not submit your withholding information, we will apply the IRS default withholding status of single with no adjustments.
The IRS released a new version of their W-4P federal income tax withholding form. In 2023, NYSLRS updated our tax withholding form to meet the IRS’ new requirements as well. You do not need to submit a new W-4P to NYSLRS unless you want to change the amount of your tax withholding.
The new form no longer allows tax filers to adjust their withholding by electing a specific number of withholding allowances. Instead, the W-4P form has new fields for increasing or decreasing the amount of withholding, including fields for tax credits and deductions.
How to Change Your Federal Withholding
Retirement Online makes it fast and convenient to change your withholding information with an online form that collects the same information as the paper W-4P form. To change your federal tax withholding:
- Sign in to Retirement Online.
- From your Account Homepage, click the green “Update My W-4P Tax Information” button.
- Follow the steps to update your withholding.
Step 1. Select your filing status. If you want your federal withholding to be based only on the benefit amount you receive from NYSLRS, with no adjustments, you can skip steps 2 – 4.
Adjustments to Withholding (Dependents, Tax Credits)
Complete steps 2 – 4 ONLY if they apply to you.
Step 2. If you have income from a job or more than one pension/annuity, in addition to your NYSLRS pension, or if you’re married filing jointly and your spouse receives income from a job or pension/annuity, you can enter that in Step 2.
Click “View Instructions” or see page 2 of the paper W-4P form for examples that may help you with this step.
Step 3. If you need to claim dependents, you can enter that information in Step 3.
Step 4. If you have other adjustments to make — other income, deductions or extra withholding — you can complete Step 4.
Click “View Instructions” or see page 3 of the paper W-4P form for instructions and a worksheet that may help you with this step.
If you update your withholding online by the middle of the month, your changes will generally be applied that month. We will notify you by mail or email (depending on your contact delivery preference) when the update has been made.
Please note: Effective January 1, 2023, NYSLRS does not withhold federal income tax from benefits that are not subject to tax reporting.
You can download, print and complete a paper W-4P form to update your withholding information, however paper forms take longer to process. Be sure to use the NYSLRS W-4P form revised 12/22 (we will not accept previous versions of the W-4P form) and make sure you sign and date it.
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living in the United States, you can elect not to have taxes withheld from your benefit. Caution: If you have too little tax withheld, you will generally owe tax when you file your tax return, and you may owe a penalty unless you make timely payments of estimated tax. Generally, if you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, you are not permitted to elect not to have federal income tax withheld on payments to be delivered outside the United States.
If You Need Help
The NYSLRS form was created based on the IRS version of the form, so if you need further assistance completing the NYSLRS form, you can visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website and read the current revision of the IRS Form W-4P. Detailed instructions start on page 2. You can also find phone numbers and online resources on the IRS Let Us Help You page.
If You Receive More Than One Benefit Payment from NYSLRS
NYSLRS administers two retirement systems — the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) and the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS). It is possible to receive more than one benefit from one or both systems — as a retiree, a beneficiary or an ex-spouse who is receiving a benefit under a domestic relations order.
Generally, your withholding is tied to the retirement system. So, if your benefits are from the same system, you only need to submit your withholding information once and your withholding amount will be applied to all benefit payments you receive from that system. However, if you receive a benefit from both ERS and PFRS, you’ll need to submit a W-4P form for each system.
Your benefit payment pay stub will list whether the payment is from ERS or PFRS.
1099-R Tax Form Information
A 1099-R tax form is used to report the distribution of taxable retirement benefits. If you receive taxable income from NYSLRS, we will send you a 1099-R tax form for filing your taxes by January 31 of the following year.
Note: Some retirees may see a small difference between the non-taxable amount listed on their 1099-R tax form and the year-to-date total provided on their December pay stub. The amount reported in your 1099-R tax form is correct.
Get Your 1099-R Faster with Retirement Online
To view, save or print your 1099-R for 2023:
- Sign in to Retirement Online.
- From your Account Homepage, click the “Manage My 1099-R Tax Forms” button.
- Select “2023” from the dropdown.
Update Your Delivery Preference to Get Notified When Your 1099-R is Available
You can receive an email as soon as your 1099-R tax form is available online next year. To update your delivery preference:
- Sign in to Retirement Online.
- From your Account Homepage, click the “update” link next to ‘1099-R Tax Form Delivery by.’
- Choose “Email” from the dropdown.
If you choose to receive your 1099-R by email, you will not receive a printed copy in the mail. Regardless of your delivery preference, you will be able to view and print your 1099-R by signing in to Retirement Online at the end of January.
A Quick Guide to Your 1099-R Tax Form
If you made after-tax contributions to NYSLRS while you were working, a small portion of your benefit may be exempt from federal tax. The non-taxable amount is shown in Box 5 on your 1099-R. You should report only the taxable amount (in Box 2a) on your tax return. After you have fully recovered your after-tax contributions, the amount in Box 5 will be zero.
This interactive image will help explain your 1099-R Form. Click on a blue highlighted area to get a description of the corresponding box on the form.
1099-R Tax Form Reprints
Reprints are available for tax years 2020 through 2023 and will be mailed to the address we have on file for you.
Before requesting a reprint, it’s essential that you sign in to your Retirement Online account to check whether your address is correct and make updates if needed.
Then, complete our reprint request form. Enter your name, phone number and retirement number or NYSLRS ID into the form. If you do not provide this information, we will be unable to fulfill your request.
Your reprint should be mailed within 5 to 7 business days.