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This entry was published on 2022-04-08
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SECTION 496-A
Returns to be secret
Tax (TAX) CHAPTER 60, ARTICLE 20-C
§ 496-a. Returns to be secret. (a) Except in accordance with proper
judicial order or as in this section or otherwise provided by law, it
shall be unlawful for the commissioner, any officer or employee of the
department, 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 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 content or any other information 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
preceding in any court, except on behalf of the state, the office of
cannabis management, or the commissioner in an action or proceeding
involving the collection of 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 the reports or the facts shown thereby are directly
involved in such action or proceeding, or in an action or proceeding
related to the regulation or taxation of adult-use cannabis products on
behalf of officers to whom information shall have been supplied as
provided in 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. Nothing herein shall be construed 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 of any information contained in any such return or report by
or to a duly authorized officer or employee of the office of cannabis
management; 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 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 any
person under this article; nor to prohibit the delivery to such person
or a duly authorized representative of such person, 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. This section shall also not be construed to prohibit the
disclosure, for tax administration purposes, to the division of the
budget and the office of the state comptroller, of information
aggregated from the returns filed by all persons subject to the taxes
imposed by the article, whether the number of such persons is one or
more. Provided further that, notwithstanding the provisions of this
subdivision, the commissioner may, in his or her discretion, permit the
proper officer of any county entitled to receive any distribution of the
monies received on account of the tax imposed by subdivision (c) of
section four hundred ninety-three of this article, or the authorized
representative of such officer, to inspect any return filed under this
article, or may furnish to such officer or the officer's authorized
representative an abstract of any such return or supply such officer or
representative with information concerning an item contained in any such
return, or disclosed by any investigation of tax liability under this
article.

(b) The commissioner, in his or her discretion, may permit the
appropriate officers of any other state that regulates or taxes cannabis
or the duly authorized representatives of any such officers, to inspect
returns or reports made pursuant to this article, or may furnish to such
other officers, or their 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 any such officers or
such representatives with information relating to the business of a
person making returns or reports hereunder solely for purposes of tax
administration. The commissioner may refuse to supply information
pursuant to this subdivision to the officers of any other state if the
statutes of the state represented by such officers do not grant
substantially similar privileges to the commissioner, but such refusal
shall not be mandatory. Information shall not be supplied to the
officers of any state that regulates or taxes cannabis, or their duly
authorized representatives of any such officers, unless such 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 officer or other representatives.

(c)(1) Any officer or employee of the state who willfully violates the
provisions of subdivision (a) or (b) 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) For criminal penalties, see article thirty-seven of this chapter.