1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Tax
  4. Article 13-A: Tax On Petroleum Businesses


Section 314 Secrecy

Tax (TAX)

-- (a) General.--Except in accordance with proper judicial order or as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful for any tax commissioner, any officer or employee of the department of taxation and finance, or any person who, pursuant to this section, is permitted to inspect any return, or to whom any information contained in any return is furnished, 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 gross receipts or any particulars set forth or disclosed in any return 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 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 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 of the facts shown thereby as are pertinent to the action or proceeding and no more. The commissioner may, nevertheless, publish a copy or a summary of any determination or decision rendered after the formal hearing provided for in this chapter. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the delivery to a petroleum business or its duly authorized representative of a copy of any return filed by it, nor to prohibit the publication of statistics so classified as to prevent the identification of particular returns and the items thereof, or the publication of delinquent lists showing the names of petroleum businesses who have failed to pay their taxes at the time and in the manner provided by section three hundred eight of this article together with any relevant information which in the opinion of the commissioner may assist in the collection of such delinquent taxes; or the inspection by the attorney general or other legal representatives of the state of the return of any petroleum business which shall bring action to set aside or 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 of any petroleum business 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 petroleum business under this article. Provided, further, nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the disclosure of taxpayer identity information, including name, mailing address and taxpayer identifying number (social security account number, or such other number as has been assigned by the secretary of the United States treasury or his delegate, or by the commissioner of taxation and finance), with respect to persons who are registered as residual petroleum product or aviation fuel businesses under this article or as distributors of motor fuel or diesel motor fuel or kero-jet fuel only for the purpose of article twelve-A of this chapter or this article, whose registration as a residual petroleum product business or as such distributor has been cancelled or suspended pursuant to this article or such article twelve-A or whose application for registration as a residual petroleum product business or as such distributor has been refused pursuant to this article or such article twelve-A. In addition, the commissioner may disclose the fact that a person is not registered as a residual petroleum business under this article or as a distributor of motor fuel, diesel motor fuel or kero-jet fuel only under article twelve-A of this chapter. Information disclosed pursuant to this subdivision shall not, by itself, be construed as proof of compliance or noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter.

  (b) Penalty for violation.--(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) Exceptions regarding the United States, other states and certain municipal proceedings.--Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) 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 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 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 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; and provided further that such commission may furnish any municipality with such information contained in the returns filed under this article as it may consider proper for use in any certiorari or condemnation proceeding.

  (d) Exceptions regarding city income taxes.--Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section, the tax commission may permit the officer charged with the administration of an income tax 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 any 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) Exceptions regarding depositories.--Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section, the commissioner of taxation and finance, in such commissioner's discretion, may require or permit any or all petroleum businesses liable for any tax imposed by this article to make payment of any tax, penalty or interest imposed by this article 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 making any such payment directly to the commissioner. However, the commissioner shall designate only such banks, banking houses or trust companies as are or shall be designated by the comptroller as depositories pursuant to section three hundred twelve of this article.

  (f) Disclosure of certain information where more than one person is subject to penalty. If the commissioner determines that a person is liable for a penalty under subdivision two of section two hundred eighty-nine-b of this chapter (as applicable to this article under section three hundred fifteen of this article) with respect to any failure, upon request in writing of such person, the commissioner shall disclose in writing to such person (1) the name of any other person whom the commissioner has determined to be liable for such penalty with respect to such failure, and (2) whether the commissioner has attempted to collect such penalty from such other person, the general nature of such collection activities, and the amount collected.

  (g) Cooperation with investigations by certain committees of the United States Congress.--(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 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).