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This entry was published on 2019-07-12
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SECTION 514
Secrecy of returns
Tax (TAX) CHAPTER 60, ARTICLE 21
§ 514. Secrecy of returns. 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
carrier 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 department of taxation and finance,
the department of transportation or the tax commission in an action or
proceeding under the provisions of this chapter, the vehicle and traffic
law or the transportation law, 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 the vehicle and
traffic law or the transportation law when the returns or the reports or
the facts shown thereby are directly involved in such action or
proceeding, or 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 five
hundred ten 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 department
of transportation, 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 the provisions of this chapter, the vehicle and
traffic law or the transportation law 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 any person,
or a duly authorized representative of such person of 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; nor to prohibit the publication of delinquent lists
showing the names of taxpayers who have failed to pay their taxes at the
time and in the manner provided by section five hundred six of this
chapter, together with any relevant information which in the opinion of
the tax commission may assist in the collection of such delinquent
taxes. Returns and reports shall be preserved for four 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 imposes a similar highway use tax, 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 any 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 imposes a similar
highway use tax, 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 barred from 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 or carriers liable for any tax or fee imposed by this article,
to make payment of any tax, fee, 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 five hundred fifteen.

5. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section: (a) Upon
agreement with the heads of the department of motor vehicles, the
department of transportation, the department of environmental
conservation, the division of state police, the thruway authority, the
United States department of transportation, and the United States
department of homeland security (or any other federal agency which may
assume the duties of either or both of such federal agencies), the
commissioner may disclose to such agencies the name, address, employer
identification number, vehicle identification number, application status
information, and other appropriate identifying and application
information, of persons holding a certification of registration or
license under this article, persons whose certificate of registration or
license under this article has been revoked, suspended or surrendered,
and persons whose application for a certificate of registration or
license under this article has been denied, for the purposes of
improving the safety and security oversight of the motor carrier
industry and coordinating and streamlining the credentialing process for
such industry administered by such agencies.

(b) Any information disclosed by the commissioner pursuant to
paragraph (a) of this subdivision may, pursuant to such agreement, be
re-disclosed by and among the heads of such agencies and may also be
re-disclosed to the heads of comparable agencies of any other state, the
District of Columbia or any province or territory of Canada in
furtherance of the purposes specified in this subdivision.

6. (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).