Healthcare workers that went to NY amid pandemic have to pay state income taxes, Cuomo says

Posted at 6:11 AM, May 06, 2020

NEW YORK — Health care workers that came to New York to help with the country's most severe coronavirus outbreak will have to pay state taxes, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo addressed the issue Tuesday at a news conference.

"We're not in a position to provide any subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit," Cuomo said. "So there's a lot of good things I'd like to do, and if we get federal funding, we can do, but it would be irresponsible for me to sit here looking at a $13 billion deficit and say I'm gonna spend more money when I can't even pay the essential services."

Medical professionals that came to New York at the state's request will be required to pay state taxes — even if an employer in their home state paid them for their time in New York.

Cuomo said he already needs help from the federal government in order to cover budget deficits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and can't afford to subsidize state income tax for essential workers that flocked to New York's aid.

"If we don't get more money from Washington, we can't fund schools, right, so at the rate, we want to fund them. We are in dire financial need," he said.

The issue first came up when Samaritan's Purse — a humanitarian aid organization — was erecting a temporary hospital in Central Park.

"Our financial comptroller called me, and he said, 'Do you know that all of you are going to be liable for New York state income tax?'" said Ken Isaacs, a vice president for Samaritan's Purse. "I said, 'What?' [The comptroller] said, 'Yeah, there's a law. If you work in New York State for more than 14 days, you have to pay state income tax.' I didn't know that."

Isaacs said the organization is even more concerned about the paperwork that will go into paying the taxes.

"I think that once that's unleashed...once you start filing that, you have to do that for like a whole year or something," he said.

According to Lawrence Spielman, a partner at accounting firm Spielman, Koenigsberg & Parker, LLP, entities from "these other states will have to register in New York and do withholding here in New York."

Any out-of-state resident who's come to the Empire State to work on coronavirus relief is subject to the tax after 14 days.

There are thousands of emergency workers here who've responded to requests by Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio for help. Many of them are collecting paychecks from companies back in their home states, which allowed them to come to New York to volunteer.

This story was originally published by Corey Crockett and James Ford on WPIX in New York.