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Great news for union members: deduct union dues from your NYS income taxes

Starting with your 2018 state income taxes (that you file in 2019) you will be allowed to deduct your union dues or agency shop fees. For members who itemize their deductions, this means union membership will be essentially free.

That is the result of new legislation for New Yorkers passed and signed into law in 2017.

“This new benefit will put an estimated $35 million back into the pockets of union members in the private sector, public sector and building trades unions throughout the state,” said NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento.

“We owe our legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo a round of applause for recognizing the value and importance of union membership,” said PEF President Wayne Spence.

“Aside from the economic benefit provided to our members, this demonstrates the state’s commitment to collective bargaining,” Cilento said. “At a time when other states are attacking unions, Gov. Cuomo and the leaders of the Legislature are enacting smart policy that recognizes the importance of unions to the overall health of the state and strengthens the voice of workers on the job.”

Cilento credited Spence and the PEF legislative staff as instrumental in securing the introduction and adoption of the tax benefit.

Speaking to the PEF Executive Board after the bill was signed, Cilento said Spence was one of the first labor leaders he turned to for support of this bill.

“Wayne immediately said to me, ‘Yes. This is something we should be able to do.’ I cannot tell you how helpful that was to me in speaking to the governor and everyone else.

“Wayne and I know that two years from now when this all takes effect, and every year from that point forward, it’s going to put $35 million back into the pockets of union members,” Cilento continued. “And the real intent of getting that done is to allow us to say to members, ‘Be sure to pay your dues, and when you itemize your state tax deductions you can deduct those dues.’

“Every single thing we can do to keep our members active and continuing to pay those dues allows us to overcome what they are trying to do to unions in Washington. And what we are saying in New York is: ‘We’re not going to have any of that!”

– Sherry Halbrook

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