senate Bill S1529A

Creates the office of the taxpayer advocate

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 10 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
  • 21 / Dec / 2011
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
  • 21 / Dec / 2011
    • PRINT NUMBER 1529A
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

Summary

Creates the office of the taxpayer advocate; directs such office be in the control of the department of taxation and finance; outlines functions and duties of such office; creates mandatory reporting to the governor and legislative leaders.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S1529
S1529A
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Investigations And Government Operations
Law Section:
Tax Law
Laws Affected:
Add §§3014 & 3015, amd §170, Tax L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Cycle:
S1168

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1529A

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the tax law, in relation to creating the office of the
taxpayer
advocate

PURPOSE:
To create within the Department of Taxation and Finance the Office of
Taxpayer Advocate, which will assist taxpayers in resolving problems
with the department, identify areas in which taxpayers have problems,
and propose solutions to the practices and procedures of the
department.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
The tax law is amended by adding two new sections 3013 and 3014.

Section 3014 creates an office to be known as the "office of the
taxpayer advocate" which will assist taxpayers in resolving problems
with the office, identify areas in which taxpayers have problems in
dealing with the department, recommend legislative action as may be
appropriate to resolve problems encountered by taxpayers, and to
preserve and promote the rights of the taxpayer. This taxpayer
advocate shall be appointed by the governor for a term of four years
and will report directly to the commissioner.

Section 3015 creates taxpayer assistance orders. The taxpayer advocate
may with or without a formal request from a taxpayer, issue a
taxpayer assistance order if the taxpayer is suffering or is about to
suffer a significant hardship as a result of the manner in which the
department administers the tax laws.

JUSTIFICATION:
This legislation will help ensure that state taxpayers are treated
professionally and fairly by the Department of Tax and Finance. This
office will assist taxpayers to resolve problems in a neutral fashion.
There are many difficulties that taxpayers endure in relation to the
tax process and getting their taxes filed. This legislation provides
a venue through which taxpayers can report their problems and have
them dealt with fairly and efficiently.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2010-11: S.1529 - Referred to Investigations & Government Op.
2009-10: S.1168 - Referred to Investigations & Government Op.
2007-08: S.2914 - Referred to Investigations & Government Op.
2005-06: S.1570 - Referred to Investigations & Government Op.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediately, but no later than April 1 of the year
following enactment of this legislation.


view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 1529--A

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 10, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  PERKINS, DUANE, HASSELL-THOMPSON, KRUEGER -- read
  twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to  the
  Committee  on  Investigations  and  Government Operations -- committee
  discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
  to said committee

AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to creating the office  of  the
  taxpayer advocate

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. The tax law is amended by adding two new sections 3014  and
3015 to read as follows:
  S  3014.  OFFICE  OF  THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE. (A) THERE SHALL BE IN THE
DEPARTMENT AN OFFICE TO BE KNOWN AS THE "OFFICE OF  THE  TAXPAYER  ADVO-
CATE".  SUCH  OFFICE  SHALL BE UNDER THE SUPERVISION AND DIRECTION OF AN
OFFICIAL KNOWN AS THE "COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER  ADVO-
CATE".  THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SHALL BE
APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR AND SHALL REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE COMMISSIONER.
THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SHALL DEVOTE HIS
OR HER ENTIRE TIME TO THE DUTIES OF SUCH OFFICE.
  (B) NO PERSON SHALL BE APPOINTED AS THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE  OF
THE  TAXPAYER  ADVOCATE  UNLESS AT THE TIME OF SUCH PERSON'S APPOINTMENT
SUCH PERSON IS A RESIDENT OF THE  STATE  AND  IS  KNOWLEDGEABLE  ON  THE
SUBJECT  OF TAXATION AND IS SKILLFUL IN MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO. ONCE
APPOINTED, THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SHALL
CONTINUE IN OFFICE UNTIL THE GOVERNOR'S  TERM  EXPIRES  AND  UNTIL  SUCH
GOVERNOR'S  SUCCESSOR  HAS BEEN APPOINTED AND HAS QUALIFIED. THE TERM OF
OFFICE SHALL BE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE GOVERNOR.
  (C) IN THE EVENT OF  A  VACANCY  CAUSED  BY  THE  DEATH,  RESIGNATION,
REMOVAL  OR DISABILITY OF THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER
ADVOCATE, THE VACANCY SHALL BE FILLED BY THE GOVERNOR.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD03107-03-1

S. 1529--A                          2

  (D) (1) THE OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SHALL HAVE  THE  FOLLOWING
FUNCTIONS, POWERS, AND DUTIES:
  (I) TO ASSIST TAXPAYERS IN RESOLVING PROBLEMS WITH THE DEPARTMENT;
  (II)  TO  IDENTIFY  AREAS IN WHICH TAXPAYERS HAVE PROBLEMS IN DEALINGS
WITH THE DEPARTMENT;
  (III) TO PROPOSE SOLUTIONS, INCLUDING ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES TO  PRAC-
TICES AND PROCEDURES OF THE DEPARTMENT;
  (IV)  TO RECOMMEND LEGISLATIVE ACTION AS MAY BE APPROPRIATE TO RESOLVE
PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY TAXPAYERS;
  (V) TO PRESERVE AND PROMOTE THE RIGHTS OF THE TAXPAYER;
  (VI) TO PROMOTE OPEN AND DIRECT COMMUNICATIONS; AND
  (VII) TO APPOINT SUCH OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES AS IT MAY REQUIRE FOR THE
PERFORMANCE OF ITS DUTIES.
  (2) THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE  OF  THE  TAXPAYER  ADVOCATE  SHALL
PREPARE  AN ANNUAL REPORT AS TO HIS OR HER ACTIVITIES. SUCH REPORT SHALL
BE SUBMITTED TO THE GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE
SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY, AND THE COMMISSIONER NO LATER THAN THE  THIRTY-
FIRST OF DECEMBER NEXT SUCCEEDING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION AND
EVERY  DECEMBER  THIRTY-FIRST  THEREAFTER. ANY SUCH REPORT SHALL CONTAIN
FULL AND SUBSTANTIVE ANALYSIS, IN ADDITION TO  STATISTICAL  INFORMATION,
AND SHALL
  (I)  IDENTIFY  THE  INITIATIVES  THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF THE
TAXPAYER ADVOCATE HAS TAKEN  ON  IMPROVING  TAXPAYER  SERVICES  AND  THE
DEPARTMENT'S RESPONSIVENESS;
  (II)  CONTAIN  A SUMMARY OF AT LEAST FIFTEEN OF THE MOST SERIOUS PROB-
LEMS ENCOUNTERED BY TAXPAYERS, INCLUDING A DESCRIPTION OF THE NATURE  OF
SUCH PROBLEMS;
  (III) CONTAIN AN INVENTORY OF THE ITEMS DESCRIBED IN SUBPARAGRAPHS (I)
AND  (II)  OF  THIS  PARAGRAPH  FOR  WHICH ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN AND THE
RESULT OF SUCH ACTION; AN INVENTORY  FOR  WHICH  ACTION  REMAINS  TO  BE
COMPLETED;  AND AN INVENTORY FOR WHICH NO ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN, AND THE
REASONS FOR THE INACTION;
  (IV) IDENTIFY ANY TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE ORDER WHICH WAS NOT  HONORED  BY
THE  DEPARTMENT IN A TIMELY MANNER AS SPECIFIED UNDER SUBDIVISION (A) OF
SECTION THREE THOUSAND FIFTEEN OF THIS ARTICLE;
  (V) CONTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUCH  ADMINISTRATIVE  AND  LEGISLATIVE
ACTION  AS MAY BE APPROPRIATE TO RESOLVE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY TAXPAY-
ERS; AND
  (VI) INCLUDE SUCH OTHER INFORMATION AS THE COMMISSIONER OF THE  OFFICE
OF THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE MAY DEEM ADVISABLE.
  S 3015. TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE ORDERS. (A) THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE
OF  THE  TAXPAYER  ADVOCATE MAY, WITH OR WITHOUT A FORMAL REQUEST FROM A
TAXPAYER, ISSUE A TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE ORDER THAT SUSPENDS  OR  STAYS  AN
ACTION  OR PROPOSED ACTION BY THE DEPARTMENT IF, IN THE DETERMINATION OF
SUCH COMMISSIONER, THE TAXPAYER IS SUFFERING OR IS  ABOUT  TO  SUFFER  A
SIGNIFICANT  HARDSHIP  AS A RESULT OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE DEPARTMENT
ADMINISTERS THE TAX LAWS.  A DETERMINATION BY  SUCH  COMMISSIONER  UNDER
THIS  SECTION  TO  ISSUE  OR TO NOT ISSUE A TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE ORDER IS
FINAL AND CANNOT BE APPEALED TO ANY COURT.
  (B) A TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE ORDER MAY REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT TO  RELEASE
PROPERTY  OF  THE  TAXPAYER  LEVIED ON, CEASE ANY ACTION OR REFRAIN FROM
TAKING ANY ACTION TO ENFORCE THE STATE TAX  LAWS  AGAINST  THE  TAXPAYER
UNTIL THE  ISSUE OR ISSUES GIVING RISE TO THE ORDER HAVE BEEN RESOLVED.
  (C)  THE  RUNNING  OF  THE  APPLICABLE  PERIOD OF LIMITATIONS FOR SUCH
DEPARTMENT ACTION SHALL BE SUSPENDED FROM THE  DATE  OF  THE  TAXPAYER'S

S. 1529--A                          3

REQUEST FOR A TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE ORDER OR THE DATE THE ORDER IS ISSUED,
WHICHEVER IS EARLIER, UNTIL ONE OF THE FOLLOWING SHALL OCCUR:
  (1) THE EXPIRATION DATE OF THE ORDER.
  (2)  IF  AN ORDER IS MODIFIED, THE EXPIRATION DATE OF THE MODIFICATION
ORDER.
  (3) IF AN ORDER IS RESCINDED, THE DATE OF THE RESCISSION ORDER.
  (D) A TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE ORDER SHALL  NOT  BE  USED  TO  CONTEST  THE
MERITS OF A TAX LIABILITY OR AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR INFORMAL PROTEST PROCE-
DURES  OR ADMINISTRATIVE OR JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS FOR THE REVIEW OF A TAX
ASSESSMENT OR COLLECTION ACTION OR DENIAL OF REFUND.
  S 2. Subdivisions 1, 3 and 4 of section 170 of the tax  law,  subdivi-
sions 1 and 3 as amended by chapter 282 of the laws of 1986 and subdivi-
sion  4  as  amended  by chapter 283 of the laws of 1986, are amended to
read as follows:
  1. The existing department of taxation and  finance  and  its  present
functions  are  continued.  The  head  of the department of taxation and
finance shall be the commissioner of taxation and finance who shall have
sole charge of the administration of such department except with  regard
to  the administration of the division of tax appeals which shall be the
sole charge of the tax appeals tribunal authorized by article  forty  of
this  chapter  AND  THE  OFFICE  OF  THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE AUTHORIZED BY
SECTIONS THREE THOUSAND FOURTEEN AND  THREE  THOUSAND  FIFTEEN  OF  THIS
CHAPTER.  The commissioner of taxation and finance shall be appointed by
the  governor by and with the advice and consent of the senate and shall
hold office as commissioner of taxation and finance until the end of the
term of the governor by whom he was appointed and  until  his  successor
has been appointed and has qualified.
  3.  The  commissioner of taxation and finance may establish such addi-
tional divisions and bureaus as he may deem necessary.  He  may  appoint
the  heads of such divisions and bureaus and fix their duties and he may
consolidate, alter or abolish any divisions or bureaus, except that such
commissioner shall have no such authority or power with  regard  to  the
division of tax appeals AND THE OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE.
  4.  The  commissioner  of  taxation and finance may appoint and remove
such officers, assistants and other employees as he may  deem  necessary
for the exercise of the powers and duties of the department, all of whom
shall  be  in  the classified civil service unless otherwise provided by
law; and he may prescribe their duties, and fix their compensation with-
in the amounts appropriated therefor. The commissioner of  taxation  and
finance may transfer officers or employees from their positions to other
positions  in  the department, or abolish or consolidate such positions.
He shall have all powers necessary to perform the duties conferred  upon
him  regarding  the  state  lottery authorized by article thirty-four of
this chapter. However, the commissioner of taxation  and  finance  shall
have  no power to appoint or remove any personnel of the division of tax
appeals OR OF THE OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE nor shall such commis-
sioner have any power or authority with  regard  to  the  operation  and
administration of such division OR OFFICE including any power or author-
ity  over  such  division's  OR  OFFICE'S budget. The commissioner shall
furnish to the director of the division of the budget the itemized esti-
mates of the financial needs of the division  of  tax  appeals  AND  THE
OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE prepared by the tax appeals tribunal AND
THE  OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE. Such itemized estimates may not be
revised or altered in any manner by the commissioner.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately; provided,  however,  that
section  3015  of the tax law, as added by section one of this act shall

S. 1529--A                          4

not take effect until the later of April first next succeeding the  date
on  which  it  shall  have become a law, or the latest date on which any
state appropriations relating to the operations  of  the  department  of
taxation  and finance for the state fiscal year commencing on such April
first, becomes law; provided, however, that the commissioner of taxation
and finance shall take all steps necessary to promulgate rules and regu-
lations necessary to achieve the intent and purposes of this act and  to
implement  this  act  prior  to  such April first so that such rules and
regulations shall be effective on the effective  date  of  such  section
3015  of  the tax law; provided, further, that the commissioner of taxa-
tion and finance shall notify the legislative bill  drafting  commission
upon  the occurrence of the enactment of the legislation provided for in
section one of this act in order that the  commission  may  maintain  an
accurate and timely effective data base of the official text of the laws
of  the  state of New York in furtherance of effectuating the provisions
of section 44 of the legislative law and  section  70-b  of  the  public
officers law.

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