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Davefeld
Level 1

Need to Amend Filed NYS Return if Amending Federal Return

I am filing an amended Federal return for 2020 due to a change in filing status to take advantage of the Federal treatment of unemployment compensation and the stimulus payments. These do not affect NYS (at least now). Do I need to file an amended NYS return? Both original joint returns have already been e-filed and accepted.

6 Replies
MinhT1
Employee Tax Expert

Need to Amend Filed NYS Return if Amending Federal Return

If the changes do not affect your NY tax return, there is no need to file an amended return for NY.

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Davefeld
Level 1

Need to Amend Filed NYS Return if Amending Federal Return

Not filing an amended NYS return will result in my having different filing status between my amended Federal return and my NYS return. Is that allowed?

AmyC
Employee Tax Expert

Need to Amend Filed NYS Return if Amending Federal Return

Maybe. NY should be the same as federal but there are exceptions for married individuals. For married individuals who file a joint federal return, the following exceptions to federal filing status apply.

1) If one spouse is a resident of New York State and the other is a nonresident or part-year resident, the taxpayers must either file separate New York returns using Married Filing Separate status or file jointly as if both spouses were New York residents.

2) If the taxpayer is unable to file a joint New York return because the address or whereabouts of the taxpayer’s spouse is unknown, the taxpayer may file a separate return using Married Filing Separately status. In this case, the taxpayer must be able to demonstrate that reasonable efforts have been made to locate the spouse, and good cause exists for the failure to file a joint New York return.

3) If the taxpayer’s spouse refuses to sign a joint New York return, the taxpayer may file a separate New York return using Married Filing Separately status. Reasonable efforts must have been made to have the spouse sign a joint return and there must be objective evidence of alienation, such as legal separation, divorce decree, protection order, or living apart for the preceding 12 months.

 

See instructions for Form IT-201 - Department of Taxation

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Davefeld
Level 1

Need to Amend Filed NYS Return if Amending Federal Return

Thank you, but none of these situations describe my situation. After filing joint returns for both Federal and NYS taxes, I plan to file an amended Federal return, changing my filing status from joint to MFS to take advantage of the non-taxibility of unemployment benefits on the Federal side.  My NYS tax is not affected by this change. The result of this: my Federal filing status for 2020 is MFS while my NYS return remains unchanged at  joint filing status. Under these circumstances, does NYS allow the different filing statuses?

 

Davefeld
Level 1

Need to Amend Filed NYS Return if Amending Federal Return

On page 44 or the NYS instructions, it indicates "if you file an amended federal return, you must file an amended New York State return...". How does this comport with your response indicating that I do not have to file an amended state return if the federal amendment for filing status has no affect on my NYS return?

LenaH
Employee Tax Expert

Need to Amend Filed NYS Return if Amending Federal Return

Page 44 of the IT-201 instructions state that you must file an amended return to correct any error on your original state return and to report changes made on your federal return by the IRS. You must report such changes to the New York State Tax Department within 90 days from the date the IRS makes its final determination. The IRS has accepted your return and did not make changes to your return. This is a different scenario from what you are attempting to do, which is amend to file separately in order to get the best tax benefit for the unemployment exclusion. 

 

Per NYS, you must file an amended New York State tax return if:

  • you made an error when you filed your original New York State income tax return;
  • the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made changes to your federal return;
  • you need to file a protective claim; or
  • you need to report a net operating loss (NOL) carryback. 

For now, you can only amend your 1040. It is best to amend your New York return when the state decides or signs into law the unemployment exclusion and whether a portion of it will be exempt from state taxes. Even if you were required to amend (as per the rules above), you have 90 days to do so. 

 

IT-201X Instructions

 

@Davefeld

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