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We have an important obligation to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as we seek to fairly administer and collect taxes.

As required by the state's Taxpayer Bill of Rights, we explain your rights at each step in the process to carry out our vital tasks. We also describe the actions we must take to ensure that all pay what they owe.

Rights as a Taxpayer

An overview of your right to:
Professional service
You have the right to receive fair, courteous, and professional service.
If you think one of our employees has mistreated you, please contact the employee's supervisor or Contact us.

Privacy and confidentiality 
We can't disclose information that you provide except as authorized by law.
 We explain why we are asking for information, how we'll use it, and what will happen if you don't provide it.
 To find out how we protect your privacy when you use our Web site, see our Privacy Policy page.

Apply for help if you can't pay in full
an installment payment agreement.
 an offer in compromise if you are severely financially distressed. 
  relief from a spouse's debt. See Innocent spouse (relief from joint tax liability).

Seek relief from a spouse's debt
If you're filing a joint claim for refund or credit and your spouse has a legally enforceable debt, you may qualify for: nonobligated spouse relief to prevent your portion of the refund from being used to pay the debt.
If we bill you for a debt that belongs to you and your spouse (or former spouse), you may qualify for:

you have the right to represent yourself on tax-related matters.
 You may designate a representative, but you need to provide us with written authorization. See Select a tax professional representative authorization form.
 Representatives may accompany you to any meetings with us.
If you use a paid tax preparer, you are entitled to protection from unfair treatment.

Claim Refunds
You have the right to receive interest if you paid more tax than you owe (i.e., made an overpayment) and don't receive your refund by the legal deadline. The deadline varies by tax type.
If we discover, after an audit, assessment, or enforcement proceeding, that we owe you a refund, we must inform you so that you can apply for the refund or credit.
Refund offsets
Under certain circumstances, your New York State tax refund may:
be offset to pay your unpaid tax debt
be sent to another state agency to which you owe money. (That agency will notify you before applying your refund to your debt.)
Your rights during:

Challenge our decisions or actions

Informal resolution
We offer a variety of informal ways for you to protest our decisions or actions. 

Our Dispute a bill or adjusted refund page explains how to respond online to:
a bill related to a return you filed or failed to file
an adjustment to your refund
To refute audit findings, you may submit proof to support your position.
 Most notices also provide contact information so you can discuss the case.
 To resolve issues related to our collection or enforcement actions, see Warrants, liens, levies, income executions.
Courtesy conferences
You may request a "courtesy conference" to dispute a bill issued after a field audit. You may do this if:
the administrative protest process for the bill has expired; and
you have new information to support your position. 
We will not grant a courtesy conference:
unless you present new information in the case;
if you've requested an Advisory Opinion on the matter; or 
you've challenged or are challenging the audit results in court.
You must submit written requests for courtesy conferences, including the basis for the request, to:
NYS Assessment Receivables
PO Box 4127
Binghamton NY 13902-4127
Who grants or denies the requests? The District Audit Manager for the office that conducted the original audit.
Protest and appeal
You have the right to formally protest or appeal most of our determinations or actions. However, you must take certain steps and meet set deadlines.
  We explain these steps in notices sent to you and in other documents, including Publication 131, Your Rights and Obligations Under the Tax Law. 
 You don't have the right to a pre-payment protest or appeal if you owe tax, interest, or penalties as a result of:
a mathematical or clerical error on a return
a change made to your federal return by the IRS 
your failure to pay the tax that you reported being due on your return
However, after you pay these amounts, you may later file a claim for refund or credit if you believe you have adequate proof to support your claim. (The IRS, for example, may cancel or adjust an assessment. This could entitle you to a NYS refund.)
If it's our fault
If we made an error, you may apply:
for the elimination of any interest and penalties
to recover certain costs and fees related to administrative or court proceedings
to receive payment for civil damages for:
failure to release a lien, 
unauthorized collection actions, or 
unauthorized disclosure of returns and return information
Professional guidance: You may wish to consult an attorney or tax professional, particularly if you wish to take the actions outlined in 3. above. That's because, in most cases, time limitations apply, and you must meet specific requirements.
Help with an ongoing issue. For help on problems you couldn't resolve through our usual process, see:
Office of the New York State Taxpayer Rights Advocate


During an audit, you have rights intended to:

protect you from unreasonable demands
limit the disruption to your business or personal life
protect you from unfair actions
provide you with reasonable time to provide requested information
help you understand any proposed changes to your return

Audit findings
You can challenge the results of an audit. For more, see:
Challenge our decisions or actions
 Publication 131, Your Rights and Obligations Under The Tax Law

The collection process

Our collection unit will contact you if:
you don't pay a bill that we sent you
the deadline for appealing your bill has passed
you have used all your appeal rights 

If you still do not pay, we may:
file a tax warrant against you, which creates a lien against your real and personal property
levy your assets. A levy is a legal seizure of your property. Examples:
 direct a bank to send us money from your account(s)
direct your employer to send us a percentage of your wages (i.e., garnish your wages) through an "income execution" procedure
direct someone who owes you money to send it to us
seize your real or personal property to sell at auction

For more details, see Publication 125, The Collection Process.

Property seizures
Before we seize your property, we will:
notify you that we have the right to enforce a warrant by levying your real and personal property
only seize property if we estimate that the sales proceeds will exceed the expenses related to the seizure and sale

Sale of seized property
Any seized property that we sell:
must be sold at fair market values; and
may be offered for sale within 60 days or longer from the date you request its sale.
Release of levies and return of levied property
The Tax Commissioner may authorize the release of a levy or return seized property to you if:
the levy or seizure creates undue hardship
we didn't follow proper procedures
you have an installment payment agreement that provides for the release of the lien
it will help us collect the amount due or is in the best interest of both the taxpayer and the state
If we determine that a levy or seizure was unjust, we may return:
seized property
money equal to the property's fair market value
money seized plus interest