New York has a long list of payroll taxes businesses have to pay. Learn exactly what these New York payroll taxes are and how much they cost.
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New York payroll taxes can be complicated. New York has a long list of state and local payroll taxes, as well as labor laws and HR regulations. Learn exactly how payroll works in the state of New York in this complete guide. We’ll cover what New York payroll taxes are, how much they cost, and which payroll and HR laws your business has to follow.
State & Local Payroll Taxes In New York
New York has its own laws and regulations that small businesses must comply with, in addition to federal payroll taxes like FICA and FUTA.
There are several payroll taxes to familiarize yourself with as a small business in New York State. Let’s take a look at some common taxes.
New York Income Taxes
New York utilizes a progressive income tax ranging from 4-8.82% according to an employee’s income. Additional commission or bonuses are withheld at a rate of 9.62%. Employers have to withhold income taxes on the federal and state level based on their employee’s withholding selections.
Also note that employees in New York City also have an additional income tax specific for the city.
New York Property Taxes
These are determined by local governments and vary considerably by location. Such taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed property value by the tax rate. They do not apply to payroll taxes, but could apply to your small business taxes.
New York Sales Tax
Filing sales tax is done separately from payroll. Small businesses must file New York sales tax in monthly, quarterly, or annually. New York sales tax is currently 4% for the state and varies between 3% – 4.5% for the county. Find exactly how much your New York business needs to charge for sales tax.
New York Use Tax
This involves taxes on property and services purchased out-of-state and delivered to a business in New York State. This is not factored into payroll taxes.
New York City Surcharge Tax
Employees residing in New York City have 2.907% to 3.876% deducted from taxable wages.
Employees living in Yonkers pay a tax of 1.61135%, while nonresident employees working in Yonkers pay a tax of 0.5%.
New York Payroll Tax Exclusions & Exemptions
New York tax law requires employers to withhold the amount estimated to be due from an employee’s gross income. This includes some specific exclusions and exemptions that may impact how you complete payroll.
Exclusions represent income that is not subject to taxes and counts separately from taxable income. Exclusions are different from deductions in that no cost incurred by the taxpayer is needed to qualify. Some exclusions relevant to small businesses include the following:
- Independent contractors
- Students enrolled in certain work-study programs
- A sole proprietor, their spouse, or child under the age of 21
- Persons whose employment is subject to the Federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act
- Freelance reporters under certain conditions
- Licensed insurance agents or brokers under certain conditions
Meanwhile, exemptions apply to employees who do not have certain taxes withheld in their paycheck. Here are some scenarios that can involve an exemption:
- Employees under age 18 or over age 65, and full-time students under age 25, who had no New York income tax liability in their previous taxable year and expect none in the current year.
- Military spouses are exempt from New York State income tax under the service members Civil Relief Act and Veterans Benefits and Transition Act.
- If your business is a participant in the START-UP NY program and operates in a tax-free area, some or all of your employees’ wages may be exempt from New York State, NYC, and Yonkers income tax withholdings.
New York Labor Laws & other HR Requirements
In addition to payroll taxes, there are several New York labor laws and HR laws that affect payroll in the state of New York. Drill down to see exactly which labor laws and payroll policies your small business has to comply with.
New York's Minimum Wage
New York’s minimum wage is higher than the federal rate of $7.25 per hour, and it just went up recently in much of the state.
The general minimum wage rate schedule in New York State applies to employees working in most industries. The schedule excludes workers in fast food or hospitality who rely on customer tips. Let’s take a look at what businesses across the state need to pay their employees moving forward:
The minimum wage for fast-food workers follows its own schedule for rate increases. As of 2021, New York City has a rate of $15. All fast-food workers in New York City must make at least $15.00 an hour. For the rest of the state outside of New York City, minimum wage rates are on an annual schedule to increase annually until they reach $15.00 by December 31, 2022.
New York Minimum Wage & Labor Poster Laws
Displaying a minimum wage poster at your business is another requirement for compliance with New York State laws. To help stay up-to-date on regulation changes, obtaining a subscription for labor law posters can automatically provide new materials as needed.
There are other poster requirements based on industry. For example, foodservice businesses must include posters regarding deductions from wages and tip appropriation. Also, Public Works projects in New York State must have posters related to disability benefits, workers’ compensation, and other programs and policies.
New York Reemployment Tax
Small businesses are required to pay re-employment taxes each quarter on form NYS-45. This is calculated as 0.075% of total employee wages paid during that period. Additionally, contributions to the New York Re-employment Service Fund cannot count as a credit against federal taxes.
New York Unemployment Insurance
New York State has a separate unemployment tax that businesses will likely have to pay. Any business that opened in 2020 has contributed a rate of 2.5%, while other employers’ rates have ranged between 0.525% and 9.825%. Employers can complete the registration process online.
However, as of January 14, 2021, New York State will not charge employer UI accounts for benefits that were paid during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 New York state unemployment insurance (SUI) tax rates range from 2.025% to 9.826%, up from 0.525% to 7.825% for 2020. The new rate in 2022 for employers is 4.025%.
New York New Hire Reporting
When you hire or re-hire an employee after a 60-day absence at your business, you are required to disclose certain information to them and the Department of Taxation and Finance within 20 days of the hiring date. The hiring date isn’t when you extend an offer to an employee; rather, it’s when they begin working for paid wages, tips, or commission. Employees must receive the following information as a written notice on the date they are hired:
- Position pay rate
- Overtime rate, if applicable
- How they will be paid (e.g., per hour, shift, week)
- Any amount employer intends to claim as part of the minimum wage (e.g., tips, meals, lodging)
- Pay schedule
- Employer’s name and names under which business is done
- Employer’s address and phone number
You’ll also need to report the following information to the Department of Taxation and Finance:
- Employee: Name, address, Social Security number, and hire date
- Employer: Name, address, IRS identification number, and health insurance benefits, including the date the employee qualifies for the benefits.
This can be submitted through New York State’s online portal or by mail. Failure to report a new hire can result in a $20 penalty for each employee not reported.
When hiring subcontractors, it’s important to double-check whether or not they are considered employees under New York State tax law. Subcontractors do not receive supervision, direction, or control in the performance of their duties from an employer. If any of those criteria apply to anyone working under you, they are likely considered an employee and should be reported as such.
New York Equal Opportunity Employment Laws
New York State’s Human Rights Law protects employees from discrimination on the grounds of age, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, or status as a victim of domestic violence. Refusing to hire a candidate due to any of these characteristics violates equal opportunity hiring.
New York PTO Policy
Small businesses are not required to pay for time not worked in certain forms (holidays, personal leave, vacation) unless it is part of their benefits package. However, other situations require paid time off including family leave and sick leave.
New York Sick Leave Policy
Certain employers in New York State must provide at least five days of job-protected, paid sick leave to employees under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount of paid sick leave employers pay will depend on how many employees they staff as well as their net annual income.
New York State government signed new paid sick leave legislation into law on April 3, 2020, with the following stipulations:
- Small employers (1-99 workers): Five days of paid sick leave per year
- Large employers (100 or more workers): 14 days of paid sick leave per year
These conditions apply to small businesses with a 2019 net income exceeding $1 million. Any small business earning less can utilize Paid Family Leave or disability benefits instead of providing new sick days.
New York’s new paid sick leave rules went into effect on September 30th, 2020. It’s worth noting that employee’s wages will remain the same during sick leave.
New York paid Family Leave Policy
As of January 2021, employers in New York must grant up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. Situations that can qualify for 12 weeks of paid family leave include:
- Bonding with a child within 12 months of birth, adoption, or foster placement
- Taking care of a family member with a serious health condition
- Assisting family when a spouse, partner, child, or parent deploys for military service
These forms of paid leave can apply to domestic employees working 40 or more hours per week for an employer, as well as to all part-time and full-time employees (unless they have signed a waiver and were eligible to do so). Most such policies take effect four weeks after the 30th day an employee has worked for your business.
New York Jury Duty Paid Leave Policy
Finally, paid jury duty may arise for businesses with at least 10 employees. In this case, an employer is liable for paying up to $40 of wages for three days of jury duty.
New York Labor Laws
In addition to minimum wage and paid leave, there are labor laws that dictate the length and frequency of breaks during the workday. Employees working more than six hours, starting before 11 AM and continuing until at least 2 PM, are required to have a lunch period of half an hour between 11 AM and 2 PM. An employer is not required to offer paid meal time.
Mandatory breaks can apply in other situations as well, such as:
- Employees starting work before 11 AM and staying past 7 PM are allowed an additional 20-minute meal period between 5 PM and 7 PM.
- Employees working six hours or more starting after 1 PM or before 6 AM are allowed at least 60 minutes for a meal break if working in a factory and 45 minutes if working at another type of business.
Furthermore, shorter meal periods may be permitted if approved by the Department of Labor commissioner. An employer would have to display a sign or poster with this information in the workplace.
New York Child Law Labor Laws
The New York State Department of Labor maintains standards for age requirements, hour limits, and the type of work permitted for minors.
Any minor may not work during the school day unless they have already graduated or dropped out of school. When school is in session, 14- and 15-year-old employees have the following restrictions:
- Cannot work more than 3 hours on a school day
- Cannot work more than 8 hours on a non-school day
- Cannot work more than 18 hours per week
- Cannot work more than 6 days in any week
Other employment guidelines to be aware of include:
- 16- and 17-year-olds cannot work more than eight hours per day, six days per week.
- When school is not in session, 14- and 15-year-olds cannot work more than 40 hours per week.
- All minors need permission from a parent or guardian to work between 10 PM-12 AM before a school day.
There are also a variety of tasks and jobs that minors are prohibited from doing. Here are some items that can relate to a small business:
- Operating circular or band saws
- Painting or cleaning a building’s exterior from an elevated surface
- Operating power-driven woodworking or bakery and paper product machines
- Packing paint
- Operating a steam boiler
New York Payment Obligations
New York State law also provides guidelines for the frequency at which employees are paid. For instance, manual workers need to be paid weekly, whereas commission workers can receive a monthly paycheck. Employees outside these categories should be paid every two weeks.
If an employee is fired from a small business, New York Labor Law requires final paychecks to be paid no later than the regular pay period. For terminated employees receiving sales commission, their unpaid earnings must be paid within five business days after being fired or due for payment.
If an employee quits on their own accord, small businesses need to pay their final paycheck on or before the scheduled payday, with an option for mailing payment.
Disability Insurance In New York
Employers in New York State must offer disability benefits to their employees for off-the-job injuries or illnesses that arise. Employers may take out 0.5% of an employee’s wages from their paycheck to contribute towards the cost of disability benefits. This may not exceed 60 cents per week.
Insurance plans must be purchased from state-licensed insurers according to the New York State Disability Benefits Law. New York State also operates its own disability insurance, NYSIF. Employers can request a quote online.
Disability benefits are calculated as 50% of an employee’s average weekly earnings over the past eight weeks of work. However, these benefits are capped at $170 per week over a period of 26 weeks in a one-year period. Note that employees may not receive paid family leave and disability simultaneously.
Worker's Compensation Insurance
Unless you’re a sole proprietor or work exclusively with independent contractors, you will have to provide worker’s compensation insurance for your employees. Unlike disability insurance, employers cannot take contributions from their employees’ paychecks to cover a portion of this cost.
The cost of worker’s compensation insurance will vary based on the number of employees and the risk associated with the type of work. Thus, many small businesses can get coverage at a modest cost.
New York’s Workers’ Compensation Board requires that Form C-105 (which contains the insurer’s information and policy number) be displayed within the workplace or else be liable for a $250 penalty.
Metropolitan Commuter Transit Mobility Tax (MCTMT)
Some small businesses in New York State may have to pay a Metropolitan Commuter Transit Mobility Tax for some employees. The determining factors are 1) whether the business is required to withhold income tax from wages and 2) if their payroll is greater than $312,500 each quarter.
The rate for MCTMT is calculated according to the following thresholds:
- Between $312,500 and $375,000: 0.11%
- Between $375,000 and $437,500: 0.23%
- Over $437,500: 0.34%
Since this tax is due quarterly, it’s important to keep up on due dates for submission.
How To Calculate & Process New York Payroll
Now that we’ve covered the bases for New York State taxes and regulations, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of how payroll works for small businesses in the Empire State.
Step 1: Make Sure You’re Following All New York Payroll Laws
Double-checking that you are adhering to the laws and regulations mentioned above should be your first step. Otherwise, you and your business could be liable for penalties, fees, and criminal charges, such as:
- Penalties up to $50,000 if convicted for not providing worker’s compensation insurance
- $1,000-3,000 fines for violating child labor laws
Step 2: Have the Proper Employee Documentation
After you’re sure you’re satisfying New York State law, it’s time to get all your employee paperwork and documentation in order.
New York Payroll Forms
- I-9: This form is used to verify an employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States.
- W2: This form is a wage and tax statement that employers must send to employees and the IRS at the end of the year.
- W4: New employees need to complete and return this form to ensure their first paycheck is accurate.
Step 3: Calculate Your Employee’s Pay
For small businesses with just one or two employees, calculating employee wages may not be too much work. Remember to factor in tips, commission, and paid time off — in addition to salary or hours worked — for an accurate total.
If you have many employees or just want some assistance with arithmetic, there are several options for small business payroll software to consider.
Step 4: Deduct Federal & State Payroll Taxes
Next, you’ll need to deduct both federal and state payroll taxes. It’s a sizable list, so let’s recap quickly.
Federal Payroll Taxes
- Federal Income Tax: Information on the W4 form will dictate withholdings.
- Federal Unemployment Tax: Rate of 6% on the first $7,000 in wages
- Social Security: Flat rate of 6.2% for wages up to $142,800 in 2021.
- Medicare: Flat tax of 1.45%, employees earning more than $200,000 receive an additional 0.9%, and a flat rate of 2.9% for self-employed persons.
New York Payroll Taxes
- State Income Tax: Ranges from 4-8.82% according to an employee’s income. Additional commission or bonuses are withheld at a rate of 9.62%
- Unemployment Insurance: New York State payroll tax rates for UI range from 2.025% to 9.826%
- Disability Insurance: Employers may take out 0.5% of an employee’s wages from their paycheck, for a max of $60.
Step 5: Process Payroll
After taking out deductions and withholdings, you will pay your employees their net earnings. As a small business, it may be advantageous to save money by writing checks manually, though payroll software can save precious time and reduce human error.
Step 6: Don’t Forget To Keep Records
Paying your employees is not the final step. It’s critical to maintain accurate payroll records to submit to the IRS and New York State. Issuing pay stubs to employees is one method, and it’s legally obligated. It’s also a good idea to store information electronically on a hard drive.
Filing electronically is mandatory for New York State, or else you’ll be subject to penalties and potential delays. This will require an NYS-45 form to be filed quarterly. This includes combined withholdings, wage reporting, and unemployment insurance returns.
New York Sate Payroll Tax & Business Resources
There are a lot of boxes to check to complete New York State payroll and file taxes successfully. Fortunately, putting in the work to create a system that fits your needs will set your small business up for years to come.
Make keeping track of payroll taxes even easier by using one of these top-rated payroll software options for small businesses.
For more help with your New York business, check out our top New York business loans to help your business get the funding it needs.
FAQs About New York State Payroll Taxes
What is New York's minimum wage pay?
New York State requires that all employees make $13.20/hr and is currently increasing rates annually until they reach $15/hr.
What is the minimum wage in New York City?
The general hourly minimum wage in New York City is $15/hour.
What payroll taxes do employers in New York pay?
Employers in New York have to pay federal payroll taxes (including FICA and FUTA) as well as New York income tax, unemployment insurance, and various county or city level taxes.
How do I register for payroll in New York?
The fastest way to register for payroll in New York is to apply online with New York Business Express. You’ll also need to report new hires with the New York New Hire Online Reporting Center.
What is NYS Payroll Online?
NYS Payroll Online is the New York state payroll hub where you can manage tax withholdings, update employee info, etc.