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This entry was published on 2019-07-12
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SECTION 1287
Secrecy of returns and reports
Tax (TAX) CHAPTER 60, ARTICLE 29-A
§ 1287. Secrecy of returns and reports. (a) Except in accordance with
proper judicial order or as otherwise provided by law, it shall be
unlawful for the commissioner, any officer or employee of the
department, any person engaged or retained by the department on an
independent contract basis, or any person who in any manner may acquire
knowledge of the contents of a return or report filed with the
commissioner pursuant to this article, to divulge or make known in any
manner any particulars set forth or disclosed in any such return or
report. The officers charged with the custody of such returns and
reports shall not be required to produce any of them or evidence of
anything contained in them in any action or proceeding in any court,
except on behalf of the commissioner in an action or proceeding under
the provisions of this chapter or in any other action or proceeding
involving the collection of a tax due under this chapter to which the
state or the commissioner is a party or a claimant, or on behalf of any
party to any action, proceeding or hearing under the provisions of this
article when the returns, reports or facts shown thereby are directly
involved in such action, proceeding or hearing, in any of which events
the court, or in the case of a hearing, the division of tax appeals may
require the production of, and may admit into evidence, so much of said
returns, reports or of the facts shown thereby, as are pertinent to the
action, proceeding or hearing and no more. The commissioner or the
division of tax appeals may, nevertheless, publish a copy or a summary
of any decision rendered after a hearing required by this article.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the delivery to a
person who has filed a return or report or to such person's duly
authorized representative of a certified copy of any return or report
filed in connection with such person's tax. Nor shall anything in this
section be construed to prohibit the publication of statistics so
classified as to prevent the identification of particular returns or
reports and the items thereof, or the inspection by the attorney general
or other legal representatives of the state of the return or report of
any person required to pay the tax who shall bring action to review the
tax based thereon, or against whom an action or proceeding under this
chapter has been recommended by the commissioner or the attorney general
or has been instituted, or the inspection of the returns or reports
required under this article by the comptroller or duly designated
officer or employee of the state department of audit and control, for
purposes of the audit of a refund of any tax paid by a person required
to pay the tax under this article. Provided, further, nothing in this
section shall be construed to prohibit the disclosure, in such manner as
the commissioner deems appropriate, of the names and other appropriate
identifying information of those persons required to pay tax under this
article.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section,
the commissioner may, in his or her discretion, permit the proper
officer of the city or the duly authorized representative of such
officer, to inspect any return filed under this article, or may furnish
to such officer or such officer's authorized representative an abstract
of any such return or supply such person with information concerning an
item contained in any such return, or disclosed by any investigation of
tax liability under this article; but such permission shall be granted
or such information furnished only if the city or the TLC shall have
furnished the commissioner with all information requested by the
commissioner pursuant to this article and shall have permitted the
commissioner or the commissioner's authorized representative to make any
inspection of any records or reports concerning taxicabs, taxicab
owners, agents, HAIL vehicles, HAIL vehicle owners, and HAIL bases filed
with or possessed by such city or the TLC which the commissioner may
have requested from such city or the TLC. Provided, further, that the
commissioner may disclose to the city or the TLC whether or not a person
liable for the tax imposed by this article has paid all of the tax due
under this article as of any given date.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section,
the commissioner, in his or her discretion, may require or permit any or
all persons liable for any tax imposed by this article, to make payment
to banks, banking houses or trust companies designated by the
commissioner and to file returns with such banks, banking houses or
trust companies as agents of the commissioner, in lieu of paying any
such tax directly to the commissioner. However, the commissioner shall
designate only such banks, banking houses or trust companies as are
already designated by the comptroller as depositories pursuant to
section twelve hundred eighty-eight of this article.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section,
the commissioner may permit the secretary of the treasury of the United
States or such secretary's delegate, or the authorized representative of
either such officer, to inspect any return filed under this article, or
may furnish to such officer or such officer's authorized representative
an abstract of any such return or supply such person with information
concerning an item contained in any such return, or disclosed by any
investigation of tax liability under this article, but such permission
shall be granted or such information furnished only if the laws of the
United States grant substantially similar privileges to the commissioner
or officer of this state charged with the administration of the tax
imposed by this article, and only if such information is to be used for
tax purposes only; and provided further the commissioner may furnish to
the commissioner of internal revenue or such commissioner's authorized
representative such returns filed under this article and other tax
information, as such commissioner may consider proper, for use in court
actions or proceedings under the internal revenue code, whether civil or
criminal, where a written request therefor has been made to the
commissioner by the secretary of the treasury of the United States or
such secretary's delegate, provided the laws of the United States grant
substantially similar powers to the secretary of the treasury of the
United States or his or her delegate. Where the commissioner has so
authorized use of returns and other information in such actions or
proceedings, officers and employees of the department may testify in
such actions or proceedings in respect to such returns or other
information.

(e) Returns and reports filed under this article shall be preserved
for three years and thereafter until the commissioner orders them to be
destroyed.

(f) (1) Any officer or employee of the state who willfully violates
the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section shall be dismissed
from office and be incapable of holding any public office for a period
of five years thereafter.

(2) Cross-reference: For criminal penalties, see article thirty-seven
of this chapter.

(g) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this
section, upon written request from the chairperson of the committee on
ways and means of the United States House of Representatives, the
chairperson of the committee on finance of the United States Senate, or
the chairperson of the joint committee on taxation of the United States
Congress, the commissioner shall furnish such committee with any current
or prior year returns specified in such request that were filed under
this article by the president of the United States, vice-president of
the United States, member of the United States Congress representing New
York state, or any person who served in or was employed by the executive
branch of the government of the United States on the executive staff of
the president, in the executive office of the president, or in an acting
or confirmed capacity in a position subject to confirmation by the
United States senate; or, in New York state: a statewide elected
official, as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section
seventy-three-a of the public officers law; a state officer or employee,
as defined in subparagraph (i) of paragraph (c) of subdivision one of
such section seventy-three-a; a political party chairperson, as defined
in paragraph (h) of subdivision one of such section seventy-three-a; a
local elected official, as defined in subdivisions one and two of
section eight hundred ten of the general municipal law; a person
appointed, pursuant to law, to serve due to vacancy or otherwise in the
position of a local elected official, as defined in subdivisions one and
two of section eight hundred ten of the general municipal law; a member
of the state legislature; or a judge or justice of the unified court
system; or filed by a partnership, firm, association, corporation,
joint-stock company, trust or similar entity directly or indirectly
controlled by any individual listed in this paragraph, whether by
contract, through ownership or control of a majority interest in such
entity, or otherwise, or filed by a partnership, firm, association,
corporation, joint-stock company, trust or similar entity of which any
individual listed in this paragraph holds ten percent or more of the
voting securities of such entity; provided however that, prior to
furnishing any return, the commissioner shall redact any copy of a
federal return (or portion thereof) attached to, or any information on a
federal return that is reflected on, such return, and any social
security numbers, account numbers and residential address information.

(2) No returns or reports shall be furnished pursuant to this
subdivision unless the chairperson of the requesting committee certifies
in writing that such returns have been requested related to, and in
furtherance of, a legitimate task of the Congress, that the requesting
committee has made a written request to the United States secretary of
the treasury for related federal returns or reports or return or report
information, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. Section 6103(f), and that if such
requested returns are inspected by and/or submitted to another
committee, to the United States House of Representatives, or to the
United States Senate, then such inspection and/or submission shall occur
in a manner consistent with federal law as informed by the requirements
and procedures established in 26 U.S.C. Section 6103(f).