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This entry was published on 2021-04-23
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SECTION 1299-F
Secrecy of returns and reports
Tax (TAX) CHAPTER 60, ARTICLE 29-C
§ 1299-F. 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, the commissioner or an agency that is authorized to permit or
regulate the provision of any relevant transportation 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 or the reports or
the 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 in evidence so much of said returns or reports or of the facts
shown thereby as are pertinent to the action or proceeding and no more.
Nothing herein shall be construed, however, to prohibit the
commissioner, in his or her discretion, from allowing the inspection or
delivery of a certified copy of any return or report filed under this
article, or from providing any information contained in any such return
or report, by or to a duly authorized officer or employee of the
comptroller; nor to prohibit the inspection or delivery of a certified
copy of any return or report filed under this article, or the provision
of any information contained therein, by or to the attorney general or
other legal representatives of the state when an action shall have been
recommended or commenced pursuant to this chapter in which such returns
or reports or the facts shown thereby are directly involved; nor to
prohibit the commissioner from providing or certifying to the division
of budget or the comptroller the total number of returns or reports
filed under this article in any reporting period and the total
collections received therefrom; nor to prohibit the delivery to a person
liable for the surcharge imposed by this article, or a duly authorized
representative of such, a certified copy of any return or report filed
by such person pursuant to this article, nor to prohibit the publication
of statistics so classified as to prevent the identification of
particular returns or reports and the items thereof; nor 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 the surcharge imposed by this article.

(b) 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 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 surcharge
imposed by this article, and only if such information is to be used for
purposes of tax administration 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.

(c) (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.

(d) (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 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).

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section,
the commissioner may, in his or her discretion, permit the proper
officer of the taxi and limousine commission of the city of New York
(TLC) 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 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 for-hire transportation trips subject to
the surcharge imposed by this article, and any persons required to
collect such surcharge, filed with or possessed by the TLC that the
commissioner may have requested from the TLC. Provided, further, that
the commissioner may disclose to the TLC whether or not a person liable
for the surcharge imposed by this article has paid all of the surcharges
due under this article as of any given date.