senate Bill S1072

Vetoed By Governor
2011-2012 Legislative Session

Enacts the "taxpayer advocate act" to create the office of taxpayer advocate

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Archive: Last Bill Status - Vetoed by Governor


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Sep 23, 2011 vetoed memo.70
Sep 12, 2011 delivered to governor
Jun 22, 2011 returned to senate
passed assembly
Jun 20, 2011 ordered to third reading rules cal.471
substituted for a6429
May 09, 2011 referred to ways and means
delivered to assembly
passed senate
May 04, 2011 advanced to third reading
May 03, 2011 2nd report cal.
May 02, 2011 1st report cal.413
Jan 05, 2011 referred to finance

Votes

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S1072 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A6429
Law Section:
Tax Law
Laws Affected:
Add §3013, amd §170, Tax L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S2620, A6097

S1072 - Bill Texts

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Enacts the "taxpayer advocate act" to create the office of taxpayer advocate.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S1072

TITLE OF BILL:

An act
to amend the tax law, in relation to
enacting the "taxpayer advocate act"

PURPOSE:

To enact the "Taxpayer Advocate Act" and create the Office of Taxpayer
Advocate to assist New York State taxpayers in their dealings with
the New York Stale Department of Taxation and Finance. This office is
modeled after the Taxpayer Advocate office which functions in many
other state governments and within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

The bill would amend the tax law to create the Office of Taxpayer
Advocate under the direction of the Taxpayer Advocate, appointed by
the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.

The duties of the Taxpayer Advocate would be to:

1. Assist taxpayers in resolving problems with the tax department;

2. Identify areas in which taxpayers have problems dealing with the
department;

3. Propose solutions, including administrative changes to departmental
practices and procedures;

4. Recommend legislative action;

5. Promote communication;

6. Prepare an annual report by December 31 of every year to identify
initiatives taken, summarize the fifteen most serious taxpayer
problems, describe actions taken and not taken on behalf of each
taxpayer, recommend administrative and legislative action to
resolve taxpayer problems.

Finally, the legislation would also create a distinct separation
between the Taxpayer Advocate and the Tax Commissioner with respect
to submission of budget and management of the Office of Taxpayer
Advocate. In this, it follows the precedent of the Tax Tribunal.

JUSTIFICATION:

The federal government and several other states have successful
Taxpayer Advocate offices. The Advocates serve a useful yet limited
role as an ombudsman on behalf of taxpayers against the government,
attempting to prevent hardship and ensure a fair and consistent
application of tax laws and departmental policies. Importantly, the
Taxpayer Advocate can provide a fresh look at laws, rules and
procedures and can suggest meaningful changes in policy that benefit


taxpayers. By enacting this bill into law, we can establish a new
ally for the taxpayer within New York State government.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2008: A.11100/S.6664-A Passed Both Houses - (Vetoed)

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

This Office of Taxpayer Advocate, and its directorship position could be
created within current fiscal appropriations provided to the Executive
Branch.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

Immediately.

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

                                  1072

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  DeFRANCISCO -- read twice and ordered printed, and
  when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance

AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to enacting the "taxpayer advo-
  cate act"

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

  Section  1.  Short title.  This act shall be known and may be cited as
the "taxpayer advocate act".
  S 2. The tax law is amended by adding a new section 3013  to  read  as
follows:
  S 3013. OFFICE OF TAXPAYER ADVOCATE. (A) THERE SHALL BE ESTABLISHED IN
THE  DEPARTMENT  AN  OFFICE  TO  BE KNOWN AS THE "OFFICE OF THE TAXPAYER
ADVOCATE". SUCH OFFICE SHALL BE UNDER THE SUPERVISION AND  DIRECTION  OF
AN  OFFICIAL  KNOWN  AS  THE  "TAXPAYER ADVOCATE". THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE
SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR BY AND WITH THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF
THE SENATE. THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SHALL REPORT DIRECTLY TO  THE  COMMIS-
SIONER.    THE  TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SHALL DEVOTE HIS OR HER ENTIRE TIME TO
THE DUTIES OF SUCH OFFICE.
  (B) NO PERSON SHALL BE APPOINTED AS A 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 AND CONFIRMED,  THE  TAXPAYER
ADVOCATE  SHALL  CONTINUE IN OFFICE UNTIL SUCH PERSON'S TERM EXPIRES AND
UNTIL SUCH PERSON'S SUCCESSOR HAS BEEN APPOINTED AND HAS QUALIFIED.  THE
TERM OF OFFICE SHALL BE FOUR YEARS.
  (C)  ANY  TAXPAYER  ADVOCATE  MAY BE REMOVED BY THE GOVERNOR FOR CAUSE
AFTER AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD. A  STATEMENT  OF  THE  CAUSE  OF  SUCH
PERSON'S  REMOVAL  SHALL  BE  FILED BY THE GOVERNOR IN THE OFFICE OF THE
SECRETARY OF STATE.
  (D) IN THE EVENT OF  A  VACANCY  CAUSED  BY  THE  DEATH,  RESIGNATION,
REMOVAL  OR  DISABILITY  OF  THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE, THE VACANCY SHALL BE

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD07038-01-1

S. 1072                             2

FILLED BY THE GOVERNOR BY AND WITH THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF THE  SENATE
FOR THE UNEXPIRED TERM.
  (E) (1) THE OFFICE OF TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING FUNC-
TIONS, 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 TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SHALL PREPARE AN ANNUAL  REPORT  AS  TO  THE
ACTIVITIES  OF  THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE. 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 DAY OF
DECEMBER COMMENCING IN THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND TWELVE AND EVERY YEAR THER-
EAFTER. ANY SUCH REPORT SHALL CONTAIN FULL AND SUBSTANTIVE ANALYSIS,  IN
ADDITION TO STATISTICAL INFORMATION, AND SHALL:
  (I)  IDENTIFY  THE  INITIATIVES  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)  CONTAIN  RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE AND LEGISLATIVE
ACTION AS MAY BE APPROPRIATE TO RESOLVE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY  TAXPAY-
ERS; AND
  (V)  INCLUDE  SUCH OTHER INFORMATION AS THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE MAY DEEM
ADVISABLE.
  S 3. 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 TAXPAYER ADVOCATE AUTHORIZED BY SECTION
THREE THOUSAND THIRTEEN 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

S. 1072                             3

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 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  posi-
tions.  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 TAXPAYER ADVOCATE nor shall
such commissioner have any power or authority with regard to the  opera-
tion  and  administration of such division OR OFFICE including any power
or authority over such division's OR OFFICE'S budget.  The  commissioner
shall furnish to the director of the division of the budget the itemized
estimates  of the financial needs of the division of tax appeals AND THE
OFFICE OF TAXPAYER ADVOCATE prepared by the tax appeals tribunal AND THE
OFFICE OF TAXPAYER ADVOCATE. Such itemized estimates may not be  revised
or altered in any manner by the commissioner.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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