Your retirement benefit is subject to federal income tax (except for previously taxed contributions) but is exempt from New York State income tax.
Tax Rules for Your Retirement Benefit
See the NYSTRS document General Income Tax Information for the basics. In short, you can have federal taxes withheld from your monthly benefit payment or have no federal income tax withheld (in which case you would be responsible for paying taxes directly to the IRS). The federal tax tables can help you determine how much NYSTRS would withhold from your benefit payment under various scenarios.
To elect a new withholding amount, file a W-4P Withholding Election and Certificate form at any time; changes NYSTRS receives by the 12th of a month will generally be reflected in that month's payment. MyNYSTRS account holders have the convenience of updating their W-4P withholding election online.
NYSTRS will send you a 1099-R form each January showing the gross amount of your benefit, the taxable amount and any federal tax withheld for the previous year.
MyNYSTRS account holders can e-subscribe to receive an email when their 1099 is available in the secure online portal. They may also access three years' worth of 1099 statements online.
Estate Planning & Keeping Beneficiaries Informed
Coping with the passing of a loved one is difficult enough; dealing with estate issues can make it that much harder. You can help your family and beneficiaries settle your estate by organizing your important legal documents and financial statements with this Estate Planning List.
In the event of the death of a retiree or beneficiary, NYSTRS must be promptly notified. To report a death, call us at (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6140. Notifying the Social Security Administration and/or your last school district is not sufficient. Beneficiaries will not receive the payments you intended unless NYSTRS is notified directly.
Refer to the publication When a Member Falls Ill or Passes Away, which helps guide NYSTRS members and their loved ones through difficult times, including filing a Power of Attorney (POA) document and reporting a death. More information about a POA is available on our POA FAQs page.
Our General Income Tax Information provides details about taxes on death benefits.