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This entry was published on 2019-07-12
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SECTION 437
Returns to be secret
Tax (TAX) CHAPTER 60, ARTICLE 18
§ 437. Returns to be secret. 1. Except in accordance with proper
judicial order or as in this section or otherwise provided by law, it
shall be unlawful for the tax commission, any tax commissioner, any
officer or employee of the department of taxation and finance, or any
officer or person who, pursuant to this section, is permitted to inspect
any return or report or to whom a copy, an abstract or a portion of any
return or report is furnished, or to whom any information contained in
any return or report 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 or report
filed pursuant to this article to divulge or make known in any manner
the contents or any other information relating to the business of a
distributor, owner or other person contained in any return or report
required under this article. The officers charged with the custody of
such returns or 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 state, the state liquor authority,
any county alcoholic beverage control board, the New York city alcoholic
beverage control board or the tax commission in an action or proceeding
under the provisions of this chapter or chapter three-b of the
consolidated laws, or on behalf of the state or the tax commission in
any other action or proceeding involving the collection of a tax due
under this chapter to which the state or the tax commission is a party
or a claimant or on behalf of any party to any action or proceeding
under the provisions of this article or chapter three-b of the
consolidated laws, when the returns or the reports or the facts shown
thereby are directly involved in such action or proceeding, or in an
action or proceeding relating to the regulation or taxation of alcoholic
beverages on behalf of officers to whom information shall have been
supplied as provided in subdivision two of this section, in any of which
events the court 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. The
tax commission may, nevertheless, publish a copy or a summary of any
decision rendered after the formal hearing provided for in section four
hundred thirty of this chapter. Nothing herein shall be construed to
prohibit the tax commission, in its discretion, from allowing the
inspection or delivery of a certified copy of any return or report filed
under this article or of any information contained in any such return or
report by or to a duly authorized officer or employee of the state
liquor authority or of the New York city alcoholic beverage control
board or of any county alcoholic beverage control board; or 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
or chapter three-b of the consolidated laws in which such returns or
reports or the facts shown thereby are directly involved; 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 distributor or other person under this article; nor
to prohibit the delivery to a distributor, owner or other person, or a
duly authorized representative of such distributor, owner or other
person of a certified copy of any return or report filed by such
distributor, owner or other 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.
Returns and reports shall be preserved for three years and thereafter
until the tax commission orders them to be destroyed.

2. The tax commission, in its discretion and pursuant to such rules
and regulations as it may adopt, may permit the commissioner of internal
revenue of the United States, or the appropriate officers of any other
state which regulates or taxes alcoholic beverages, or the duly
authorized representatives of such commissioner or of any such officers,
to inspect returns or reports made pursuant to this article, or may
furnish to such commissioner or other officers, or duly authorized
representatives, a copy of any such return or report or an abstract of
the information therein contained, or any portion thereof, or may supply
such commissioner or any such officers or such representatives with
information relating to the business of a distributor, owner or other
person making returns or reports hereunder. The tax commission may
refuse to supply information pursuant to this subdivision to the
commissioner of internal revenue of the United States or to the officers
of any other state if the statutes of the United States, or of the state
represented by such officers, do not grant substantially similar
privileges to the tax commission of this state, but such refusal shall
not be mandatory. Information shall not be supplied to the commissioner
of internal revenue of the United States or the appropriate officers of
any other state which regulates or taxes alcoholic beverages, or the
duly authorized representatives of such commissioner or of any of such
officers, unless such commissioner, officer or other representatives
shall agree not to divulge or make known in any manner the information
so supplied, but such officers may transmit such information to their
employees or legal representatives when necessary, who in turn shall be
subject to the same restrictions as those hereby imposed upon such
commissioner, officer or other representatives.

3. (a) Any officer or employee of the state who willfully violates the
provisions of subdivision one or two 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.

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

4. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of this section,
the tax commission, in its discretion, may require or permit any or all
persons, distributors or owners liable for any tax imposed by this
article to make payment of any tax, penalty or interest to banks,
banking houses or trust companies designated by the tax commission and
to file returns and reports 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 four hundred thirty-five.

5. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one 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 or reports 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 or report, 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 or report, and any social security numbers, account numbers and
residential address information.

(b) No returns or reports shall be furnished pursuant to this
subdivision unless the chairperson of the requesting committee certifies
in writing that such returns or reports 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 or reports 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).