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Your rights as a New York State taxpayer

The Office of the Taxpayer Rights Advocate is your voice at the NYS Tax Department. OTRA provides assistance if you have a tax problem you haven't been able to resolve with the department. If you qualify, you'll be assigned to one advocate who will work diligently with you to resolve your tax problem.

For more information, including how to contact us, see Office of the Taxpayer Rights Advocate or call 518-530-4357.

Bill of rights

The right to be informed

Taxpayers have the right to know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws. They are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and procedures in all tax forms, instructions, publications, notices and correspondence. They have the right to be informed of department decisions about their taxes and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.

The right to quality service

Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the Tax Department, to be spoken to in a way that they can easily understand, to receive clear and easily understandable communications from the department, and to speak to a supervisor about inadequate service.

The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax

Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due, including interest and penalties, and to have the Tax Department apply all tax payments properly.

The right to challenge the Tax Department's position and be heard

Taxpayers have the right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to Tax Department actions or proposed actions, and to expect that the Tax Department will consider their timely objections and documentation, and to receive a response if the department does not agree with their position. 

The right to appeal a department notice in an independent forum

Taxpayers are entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of Tax Department decisions. Taxpayers may seek informal resolution through the Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services and have a right to formally appeal their cases to the Division of Tax Appeals.

The right to finality

Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum amount of time the department has to audit a particular tax year or collect a tax debt. Taxpayers have the right to know when the department has finished an audit as well as the maximum amount of time they have to challenge the department's position.

The right to privacy

Taxpayers have the right to expect that any Tax Department inquiry, examination, or enforcement action will comply with the law and be no more invasive than necessary.

The right to confidentiality

Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the Tax Department will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law. Taxpayers have the right to expect appropriate action will be taken against Tax Department employees who wrongfully use or disclose taxpayer return information.

The right to retain representation

Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the department.

The right to a fair and just tax system

Taxpayers have the right to expect the Tax Department to consider facts and circumstances that might affect their underlying liabilities, ability to pay, or ability to provide information timely. Taxpayers have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Rights Advocate if they are experiencing financial difficulty or if the department has not resolved their tax issues properly and timely through its normal channels.