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SECTION 1518
Secrecy required of officials; penalty for violation
Tax (TAX) CHAPTER 60, ARTICLE 33
§ 1518. Secrecy required of officials; penalty for violation. (a)
Except in accordance with the proper judicial order or as otherwise
provided by law, it shall be unlawful for the commissioner of taxation
and finance, the superintendent of financial services, any officer or
employee of the department of taxation and finance, or the department of
financial services or any person who, pursuant to this section, is
permitted to inspect any return, or any person engaged or retained by
such department on an independent contract basis, or any person who in
any manner may acquire knowledge of the contents of a return filed
pursuant to this article, to divulge or make known in any manner the
amount of income or any particulars set forth or disclosed in any return
required under this article. The officers charged with the custody of
such returns 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 state or the commissioner of taxation and
finance in any 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 of
taxation and finance is a party or a claimant or on behalf of any party
in an action or proceeding under the provisions of this article when the
returns or facts shown thereby are directly involved in such action or
proceeding, in any of which events the court may require the production
of and may admit in evidence so much of said returns or the fact shown
thereby as are pertinent to the action or proceeding and no more. The
commissioner of taxation and finance may, nevertheless, publish a copy
or a summary of any determination or decision rendered after the hearing
provided for in section one thousand eighty-nine of this chapter.
Notwithstanding any provisions of this section, the commissioner of
taxation and finance may permit the superintendent of financial services
or his authorized representative to inspect the returns filed with the
commissioner of taxation and finance under this article, or may furnish
to such superintendent or his authorized representative an abstract of
any return or supply him with information concerning an item contained
in any return, or disclosed by an investigation of tax liability under
this article. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the delivery
to a taxpayer or its duly authorized representative of a certified copy
of any return filed in connection with its tax nor to prohibit the
publication of statistics so classified as to prevent the identification
of particular returns and the items thereof, or the inspection by the
attorney-general or other legal representatives of the state of the
return of any taxpayer which shall bring action to set aside or review
the tax based thereon, or against which an action or proceeding under
this chapter has been recommended by the commissioner of taxation and
finance or the attorney-general or has been instituted; or the
inspection of the returns of any taxpayer 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 such
taxpayer under this article, or the disclosing to a state agency,
pursuant to section one hundred seventy-one-f of this chapter, of the
amount of an overpayment and interest thereon certified to the
comptroller to be credited against a past-due legally enforceable debt
owed to such agency and of the name and identification number of the
taxpayer who made such overpayment, or the disclosing to the
commissioner of finance of the city of New York, pursuant to section one
hundred seventy-one-1 of this chapter, of the amount of an overpayment
and interest thereon certified to the comptroller to be credited against
a city of New York tax warrant judgment debt and of the name and
identification number of the taxpayer who made such overpayment. The
provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit or limit
the superintendent of financial services from divulging or making known
any information pursuant to the authority of the insurance law. Returns
shall be preserved for three years and thereafter until the commissioner
of taxation and finance orders them to be destroyed.

(b) (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 in this state
for a period of five years thereafter.

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

(c) Notwithstanding any provisions of this section, the tax commission
may permit the secretary of the treasury of the United States or his
delegates, or the proper officer of any other state charged with tax
administration, or the authorized representative of either of such
officers, to inspect the returns filed under this article, or may
furnish to such officer or his authorized representative an abstract of
any return or supply him with information concerning an item contained
in any return, or disclosed by an investigation of tax liability under
this article but such permission shall be granted or such information
furnished to such officer or his representative only if the laws of the
United States or of such other state, as the case may be, grant
substantially similar privileges to the commission or officer of this
state charged with the administration of the tax imposed by this article
and such information is to be used for tax purposes only; and provided
further the commissioner of taxation and finance may furnish to the
secretary of the treasury of the United States or his delegates such
returns filed under this article and other tax information, as he 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 of taxation and
finance by the secretary of the treasury or his delegates provided the
laws of the United States grant substantially similar powers to the
secretary of the treasury or his delegates. Where the commissioner of
taxation and finance has so authorized use of returns or other
information in such actions or proceedings, officers and employees of
the department of taxation and finance may testify in such actions or
proceedings in respect to such returns or other tax information.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section,
the tax commission may permit the officer charged with the
administration of a tax on or measured by income imposed by any city of
the state of New York, or the authorized representative of such officer,
to inspect the returns filed under this article, or may furnish to such
officer or his authorized representative an abstract of any such return
or supply information concerning an item contained in any such return,
or disclosed by an investigation of tax liability under this article,
but such permission shall be granted or such information furnished to
such officer or his representative only if the local laws of such city
grant substantially similar privileges to the commission or officer of
this state charged with the administration of the tax imposed by this
article and such information is to be used for tax purposes only; and
provided further the commissioner of taxation and finance may furnish to
such city officer or his delegates and the legal representative of such
city such returns filed under this article and other tax information, as
he may consider proper, for use in court actions or proceedings under
such local law, whether civil or criminal, where a written request
therefor has been made to the commissioner of taxation and finance by
such city officer or his delegates or by such legal representative of
such city, provided the local law of such city grants substantially
similar powers to the city officer charged with the administration of
the city income tax or his delegates. Where the commissioner of taxation
and finance has so authorized use of returns or other tax information in
such actions or proceedings, officers and employees of the department of
taxation and finance may testify in such actions or proceedings in
respect to such returns or other tax information.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section,
the tax commission, in its discretion, may require or permit any or all
persons liable for any tax imposed by this article, to make payments on
account of estimated tax and payment of any tax, penalty or interest
imposed by this article to banks, banking houses or trust companies
designated by the tax commission and to file declarations of estimated
tax, applications for automatic extensions of time to file returns, and
returns with such banks, banking houses or trust companies as agents of
the tax commission, in lieu of making any such payment directly to the
tax commission. However, the tax commission shall designate only such
banks, banking houses or trust companies as are or shall be designated
by the comptroller as depositories pursuant to section fifteen hundred
seventeen.

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section,
in the case where a taxpayer which is an attorney-in-fact has claimed a
deduction pursuant to subparagraph fifteen of paragraph (a) of
subdivision nine of section two hundred eight of this chapter, the
commissioner shall have the authority to release to such
attorney-in-fact any information with respect to the entire net income
or income allocation percentage of the interinsurer or reciprocal
insurer, or any member of a combined group that includes the
interinsurer or reciprocal insurer, which is the basis for the denial in
whole or in part of the deduction claimed by such attorney-in-fact.

(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section,
the commissioner may disclose to a taxpayer or a taxpayer's related
member, as defined in paragraph fourteen of subdivision (b) of section
fifteen hundred three of this article, information relating to any
royalty paid, incurred or received by such taxpayer or related member to
or from the other, including the treatment of such payments by the
taxpayer or the related member in any report or return transmitted to
the commissioner under this chapter.

(h) (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 filed specified in such request that were 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 return 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).