1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Tax
  4. Article 33: Franchise Taxes On Insurance Corporations


Section 1518 Secrecy required of officials; penalty for violation

Tax (TAX)

(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).