New York State Tax Help

What is the Clean Heating Fuel Credit?

The Clean Heating Fuel Credit is available to taxpayers for the purchase of bioheat that is used for space heating or hot water production for residential purposes within New York State. The credit is available for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2006, and before January 1, 2017, and applies to bioheat purchased on or after July 1, 2006, but before July 1, 2007, and on or after January 1, 2008, but before January 1, 2017.

The credit amount equals $.01 per gallon for each percent of biodiesel included in the bioheat, not to exceed $.20 per gallon. To substantiate how the credit was computed, taxpayers should keep copies of all invoices or bills from the supplier(s) that include all the following:
  1. Date of purchase
  2. Number of gallons of bioheat purchased
  3. The percentage of biodiesel included in the bioheat

Note: The percentage of biodiesel included in the bioheat is the number or numbers preceded by the letter B in the bioheat designation. For example, bioheat designated B5 contains 5% biodiesel.

The credit is claimed for the tax year in which the bioheat is purchased.

What is the Solar Energy System Equipment Credit?

Tax Law section 606(g-1) provides for the solar energy system equipment credit. The credit is allowed for certain solar energy system equipment expenditures. To qualify for the credit, the solar energy system must use solar radiation to produce energy for heating, cooling, hot water, or electricity for residential use. The equipment must be installed and used at your principal residence in New York State. The credit is allowed in the first tax year in which the solar energy system equipment is placed in service at your principal residence.

If the solar energy system equipment produces electricity, you must enter into a net energy metering contract with your electric corporation or comply with the electric corporation's net energy metering schedule before you can qualify for the credit. The completed solar energy system equipment must also be connected to the electric corporation's transmission and distribution facility. Other conditions and limitations set by the electric company may also apply. You should contact your electric company for more information before you purchase your equipment.

In the case of a cooperative housing corporation or a condominium, a percentage of the qualified solar energy system equipment expenditures may be attributed to each unit within the building. This information should be provided to each tenant-shareholder or condominium owner by the cooperative housing corporation or condominium management association.

In the case of a solar energy system equipment power purchase agreement or lease, no credit is allowed after the 15th year for a power purchase agreement or lease that exceeds 15 years in duration.

If your credit is greater than the amount of tax you owe, the balance will not be refunded to you. However, any credit amount in excess of the tax due can be carried over for a maximum of up to five years.

Solar energy system equipment means an arrangement or combination of components utilizing solar radiation, which, when installed in a residence, produces energy designed to provide heating, cooling, hot water, or electricity. The arrangement or components do not include equipment connected to solar energy system equipment that is a component of part or parts of a nonsolar energy system or which uses any sort of recreational facility or equipment as a storage medium. Solar energy system equipment that generates electricity for use in a residence must conform to the applicable requirements in Public Service Law section 66-j. However, if the solar energy system is installed by a condominium management association or a cooperative housing corporation, the rated capacity of the system cannot exceed fifty kilowatts (50,000 watts).

Principal residence means the home where you and your family live most of the time. A summer or vacation home does not qualify. Your principal residence can be a house, whether owned or rented, a mobile home, cooperative apartment, or condominium. If you move from one principal residence to another principal residence in New York State, a separate credit is allowed for each principal residence. You must have incurred the costs at the time the residence is your principal residence, and you must file separate Forms IT‑255 to compute your allowable credit for each principal residence.

If you are a tenant-shareholder in a cooperative housing corporation or condominium owner, the amount to enter in column B is your share of the expenditures incurred, or payments made, by the cooperative housing corporation or condominium management association. This information should be provided to you by the cooperative housing corporation or condominium management association.

Who is eligible for the Noncustodial Parent Earned Income Credit?

The New York Noncustodial Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a credit that may be claimed by eligible taxpayers instead of the regular New York state EIC. You may claim the Noncustodial EIC only if you meet all of the following conditions for the 2013 tax year:
  1. You must be a full-year New York state resident
  2. You are at least 18 years of age
  3. You are a parent of a minor child (or children) with whom you do not reside
  4. You have an order in effect for at least one half of the tax year requiring you to make child support payments payable through a Support Collection Unit pursuant to Social Service Law section 111(h)
  5. You have paid an amount in child support in 2013 at least equal to the amount of child support you were required to pay by all court orders.

What if I am eligible for the New York State EIC and the New York Noncustodial EIC?

If you are eligible for the New York Noncustodial EIC and claimed a federal EIC, we'll calculate the New York State EIC and the New York Noncustodial EIC. We'll automatically use the larger of the two on your New York state tax return. You cannot claim both the New York State EIC and the New York Noncustodial EIC. Whichever gives you the greater benefit will be used on your New York state tax return.

How will New York verify that I'm eligible for the Noncustodial EIC?

New York state will not allow a claim for the Noncustodial EIC unless the Tax Department has received verification of eligibility from the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance that you are eligible, which means you are current on your child support payments. The New York Tax Department receives this information automatically. The eligibility verification requires no action on your part.

What if I attended two colleges during the year?

Enter the names of both colleges that you attended during the year and enter the total combined amount of tuition paid to both colleges.

What Public Employee Retirement Contributions are subject to New York state tax?

Enter the amount of 414(h) retirement contributions, if any, shown on your wage and tax statement(s), federal Form W-2 (W2) (Box 14), if one of the following apply:
  1. You are a member of the NYS and Local Retirement Systems, which include the NYS Employees Retirement System and the NYS Police and Fire Retirement System.
  2. You are a member of the NYS Teachers Retirement System.
  3. You are an employee of the State or City University of New York who belongs to the Optional Retirement Program.
  4. You are a member of the NYC Employees Retirement System, the NYC Teachers Retirement System, the NYC Board of Education Retirement System, the NYC Police Pension Fund, or the NYC Fire Department Pension Fund
  5. You are a member of the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MABSTOA) Pension Plan.
Do not enter contributions to a section 401(k) deferred arrangement, section 403(b) annuity, or section 457 deferred compensation plan.

What qualifies for the Pension and Annuity Income Exclusion?

Qualifying pension and annuity income includes:
  • periodic payments for services you performed as an employee before you retired;
  • periodic and lump-sum payments from an IRA, but not payments derived from contributions made after you retired;
  • periodic distributions from government (IRC section 457) deferred compensation plans;
  • periodic distributions from an annuity contract (IRC section 403(b)) purchased by an employer for an employee and the employer is a corporation, community chest, fund, foundation, or public school;
  • periodic payments from an HR-10 (Keogh) plan, but not payments derived from contributions made after you retired;
  • lump-sum payments from an HR-10 (Keogh) plan, but only if federal Form 4972 is not used. Do not include that part of your payment that was derived from contributions made after you retired;
  • periodic distributions of benefits from a cafeteria plan (IRC section 125) or a qualified cash or deferred profit-sharing or stock bonus plan (IRC section 401(k)), but not distributions derived from contributions made after you retired.
Qualifying pension and annuity income does not include distributions received as a nonemployee spouse in accordance with a court-issued qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) that meets the criteria of IRC section 414(p)(1)(A) or in accordance with a domestic relations order (DRO) issued by a New York court. For additional information, see Publication 36.

Beneficiaries - If you received a decedent's pension and annuity income, you may make this subtraction if the decedent would have been entitled to it, had the decedent continued to live, regardless of your age. If the decedent would have become 59 and one-half years old during 2013, enter only the amount received after the decedent would have become 59 and one half, but not more than $20,000.

In addition, the pension and annuity income exclusion of the decedent that you are eligible to claim as a beneficiary must first be reduced by the amount subtracted on the decedent's New York State personal income tax return, if any. The total pension and annuity income exclusion claimed by the decedent and the decedent's beneficiaries cannot exceed $20,000.

If the decedent has more than one beneficiary, the decedent's $20,000 pension and annuity income exclusion must be allocated among the beneficiaries. Each beneficiary's share of the $20,000 exclusion is determined by multiplying $20,000 by a fraction whose numerator is the value of the pensions and annuities inherited by the beneficiary, and whose denominator is the total value inherited by all beneficiaries of the decedent's pensions and annuities.

Example: A taxpayer received pension and annuity income totaling $6,000 as a beneficiary of a decedent who was 59 and one half before January 1, 2013. The decedent's total pension and annuity income was $24,000, shared equally among four beneficiaries. Each beneficiary is entitled to one-quarter of the decedent's pension exclusion, or $5,000 ($20,000 divided by 4). The taxpayer also received a qualifying pension and annuity payment of $14,000 in 2013. The taxpayer is entitled to claim a pension and annuity income exclusion of $19,000 ($14,000 attributable to the taxpayer's own pension and annuity payment, plus $5,000 received as a beneficiary).

The total amount of the taxpayer's pension and annuity income exclusion that can be applied against the taxpayer's pension and annuity income received as a beneficiary is limited to the taxpayer's share of the decedent's pension and annuity income exclusion.

What is a qualifying long-term care insurance policy?

A qualifying long-term care insurance policy is one that
  • is approved by the New York State Superintendent of Insurance under Insurance Law section 1117 (g); and
  • is a qualified long-term care insurance contract under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 7702B. (Note that section 7702B relates to policies for which a federal itemized deduction is allowed.)
OR

  • is a group contract delivered or issued for delivery outside New York State; and
  • the group contract is a qualified long-term care insurance contract under IRC section 7702B. The premiums paid for this insurance qualify for the credit even if the policy is not approved by the New York State Superintendent of Insurance.

A qualified long-term care insurance contract under IRC section 7702B is an insurance contract that provides only coverage of qualified long‑term care services. The contract must
  • be guaranteed renewable;
  • not provide for cash surrender value or other money that can be paid, assigned, pledged, or borrowed;
  • provide that refunds, other than refunds on the death of the insured or complete surrender or cancellation of the contract, and dividends under the contract must be used only to reduce future premiums or increase future benefits; and
  • generally not pay or reimburse expenses incurred for services or items that would be reimbursed under Medicare, except where Medicare is a secondary payer, or the contract makes per diem or other periodic payments without regard to expenses.

The insurance company that issued your policy should be able to tell you if the policy qualifies under IRC section 7702B.

This credit is not refundable. If the amount of credit exceeds the taxpayer's tax for the year, the excess may be carried over to the following year or years.

What does "Return a Gift to Wildlife" mean?

Your contribution will benefit New York's fish, wildlife, and marine resources, and you can receive a free issue of Conservationist magazine. Call 1 800 678-6399 for your free sample issue. For more information about New York State's environmental conservation programs, go to www.dec.ny.gov. For information about Conservationist, go to www.TheConservationist.org.

What is the Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse (MECC) Fund?

Each year over 20,000 children are reported missing in New York State. Your contribution will benefit the New York State MECC (part of the Missing Persons Clearinghouse). This organization works with police agencies and parents to locate missing children and to promote child safety through education. Contributions are used to distribute educational materials, disseminate missing child alerts, and conduct investigative training for police officers. For additional information about services and free safety publications visit www.criminaljustice.ny.gov or call 1 800 FIND-KID (346-3543).

What is the Breast Cancer Research and Education Fund?

Your contribution will support ground-breaking research and education in New York State to prevent, treat, and cure breast cancer. Help make breast cancer a disease of the past. For more information, go to www.wadsworth.org/extramural/breastcancer. New York State will match your contribution to the Breast Cancer Research and Education Fund, dollar for dollar.

What is the Alzheimer's Disease Fund?

Contributions to this fund support services provided by the Alzheimer's Disease Program administered by the New York State Department of Health. This program is designed to provide education, counseling, respite, support groups, and other supportive services to people with Alzheimer's disease, their families, caregivers, and health care professionals.

What is United States Olympic Committee / Lake Placid Olympic Training Center Fund?

Contributions to this fund help support the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. The $16 million complex is one of just three U.S. Olympic training centers in the United States. The center is used primarily by U.S. athletes who are training to compete in future winter and summer Olympic and Paralympic sports. Individual contributions must be $2. If you are married filing jointly and your spouse also wants to contribute, enter $4.

What is the Prostate Cancer Research, Detection, and Education Fund?

Your contribution will support education projects and ground-breaking biomedical research studies in New York State to improve the detection and treatment of prostate cancer. New York State will match contributions to the Prostate Cancer Research, Detection, and Education Fund, dollar for dollar.

What is the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center?

Your contribution to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum will help create the Memorial & Museum which will commemorate and honor the thousands of people who died in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993. The Memorial will recognize the endurance of those who survived, the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours. Help New York State, the nation, and the world remember by making a contribution. For more information, go to www.national911memorial.org.

What is the available carryover of unused long-term insurance credit?

Enter the amount of net credit available for carryover to 2013 from your 2012 Form IT-249, Line 24.

Who qualifies as a household member?

Household members include all who share your residence and its furnishings, facilities, and accommodations, whether they are related to you or not.

However, tenants, subtenants, roomers, or boarders are not members of your household unless they are related to you in one of the following ways:
  • A son, daughter, or a descendant of either
  • A stepson or stepdaughter
  • A brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister
  • A father, mother, or an ancestor of either
  • A stepfather or stepmother
  • A niece or nephew
  • An aunt or uncle
  • A son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law
No one can be a member of more than one household at one time.

What is a nonqualified College Choice Tuition Savings Program distribution?

A withdrawal from a New York State College Choice Tuition Savings Program account is nonqualified if:
  1. The funds are used for purposes other than the higher education of the designated beneficiary
  2. The distribution is actually disbursed in cash or in-kind from the qualified state tuition program, even if the amount withdrawn is reinvested in the College Choice Tuition Savings Program within the Internal Revenue Code 60-day rollover period
  3. On or after January 1, 2003, the funds were transferred from the New York State College Choice Tuition Savings Program to another state's program.

However, nonqualified withdrawals do not include any withdrawals made in tax year 2013 as a result of the death or disability of the designated beneficiary, regardless of how the funds are used. If you do have a nonqualified distribution, use the worksheet in the New York IT-201 instructions to determine the taxable amount. The taxable amount basically takes your nonqualified withdrawal and reduces the taxable amount by any contributions you made in previous years to the program.

Transfers between accounts of family members not disbursed in cash or in-kind within the New York State College Choice Tuition Savings Program are not considered distributions and are therefore not required to be added back as nonqualified withdrawals.

For further instructions on how to calculate the addition, use this worksheet.

What pensions can be subtracted from New York income?

Pensions of New York State and local governments and the federal government

If the pension or distribution amount was included in your federal AGI, enter any pension you received, or distributions made to you from a pension plan which represents a return of contributions in a year prior to retirement, as an officer, employee, or beneficiary of an officer or employee of:
  • NYS, including State and City University of New York and NYS Education Department employees who belong to the Optional Retirement Program. Optional Retirement Program members may only subtract that portion attributable to employment with the State or City University of New York or the NYS Education Department.

  • Certain public authorities, including:
    • Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Police 20-Year Retirement Program
    • Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MABSTOA)
    • Long Island Railroad Company.

  • Local governments within the state, including:
    • NYS Teachers' Retirement System
    • NYC Teachers' Retirement System
    • NYC Teachers' Retirement IRC 403(b) plan
    • International Union of Operating Engineers Local 891 Annuity Fund (Department of Education of the NYC School District)
    • NYC Superior Officers' Council Annuity Trust Fund
    • NYC Correction Captains' Association Annuity Fund
    • NYC Detectives' Endowment Association Annuity Fund
    • City University of New York Civil Service Forum Annuity Fund
    • NYC variable supplemental funds (VSF), including:
      • Transit Police Officers' VSF
      • Transit Police Superior Officers' VSF
      • Housing Police Officers' VSF
      • Housing Police Superior Officers' VSF
      • Police Officers' VSF
      • Police Superior Officers' VSF
      • Firefighters' VSF
      • Fire Officers' VSF
      • Corrections Officers' VSF
      • Corrections Captain and Above VSF

  • The United States, its territories, possessions (or political subdivisions thereof), or any agency or instrumentality of the United States (including the military) or the District of Columbia.
Also include distributions received from a New York state or local pension plan, or from a federal government pension plan as a nonemployee spouse in accordance with a court-issued qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) that meets the criteria of IRC section 414(p)(1)(A) or in accordance with a domestic relations order (DRO) issued by a New York court. For additional information, see Publication 36, General Information for Senior Citizens and Retired Persons.

You may not subtract the following:
  • Pension payments or return of contributions that were attributable to your employment by an employer other than a New York public employer, such as a private university, and any portion attributable to contributions you made to a supplemental annuity plan which was funded through a salary reduction program.
  • Periodic distributions from government (IRC section 457) deferred compensation plans. However, these payments and distributions may qualify for the pension and annuity income exclusion described in the instructions for line 29 below.

Am I eligible for the New York Real Property Tax Credit?

Very few people qualify for this credit. If you are a homeowner, the current market value of your home must be less than $85,000. If you are a renter, your average monthly rent must be less than $450 per month. Even if you meet those requirements, there are several other requirements that you must meet. We will determine if you qualify for this credit by asking you several questions.

Should I choose the credit or the deduction?

Generally the credit gives you a larger refund, but not always. Choose the one that gives you the largest New York refund.

If you don't itemize your federal deductions, you will automatically be assigned the credit instead of the deduction.

Can I claim the New York Tuition Credit if the college is not in New York?

Yes. Any institution of higher education located in or out of New York state qualifies.

An institution of higher education includes any institution of higher education or business, trade, technical, or other occupational school located in or outside of New York State. The institution must be recognized and approved by either the regents of the University of New York or a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association accepted by the regents. In addition, the institution or school must provide a course of study leading to the granting of a post-secondary degree, certificate, or diploma.

What are qualified college tuition expenses?

A qualified college tuition expense is the tuition required for the enrollment or attendance of the eligible student at an institution of higher education. It does not matter whether the expenses were paid by cash, check, credit card, or with borrowed funds. In addition, the eligible student does not have to be enrolled in a degree program or attend full time for the expenses to qualify. However, only undergraduate enrollment or attendance qualifies. Tuition payments required for enrollment or attendance in a course of study leading to the granting of a post baccalaureate or other graduate degrees do not qualify.

Payments on behalf of an eligible student from a qualified state tuition program (such as New York's 529 College Savings Program) are considered qualified college tuition expenses. If you claim the student as a dependent, these payments are treated as paid by you. Generally, qualified college tuition expenses paid on behalf of an eligible student by someone other than the student (such as a relative) are treated as paid by the student. However, if the eligible student is claimed as a dependent on another person's New York State income tax return, only the person who claims the student as a dependent for income tax purposes may claim the credit or deduction for college tuition expenses that were paid (or treated as paid) by the student. This is the case even if the expenses were paid from the student's earnings, gifts, inheritances, or savings

Qualified tuition expenses do not include:

  • Tuition paid through the receipt of scholarships or financial aid (For this purpose, financial aid does not include student loans, other loans, and grants that must be repaid either before or after the student ceases attending school.)
  • Amounts paid for room and board, insurance, medical expenses (including student health fees), transportation, or other similar personal, living, or family expenses
  • Fees for course-related books, supplies, equipment, and nonacademic activities, even if the fees are required to be paid as a condition of enrollment or attendance

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