If a client hasn't filed his taxes in over 20 years with the state, what is the earliest year that NY can pursue him for back taxes?

asked 15 Oct '09, 17:17

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Michele blay
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edited 17 Oct '09, 23:50

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TaxQueries ♦♦

Perhaps this article will be of some help:


According to the article:

Statute of limitations

New York State Tax Law generally places a three-year statute of limitations on the Tax Department’s right to assert additional tax due (generally, three years after your return was filed), beyond which the Tax Department may not assess tax above what you reported on your return. A written consent to extend the statute of limitations must be obtained prior to expiration of the limitations period. The statute of limitations does not apply, however, for any period during which a taxpayer failed to file a return, failed to report the changes made by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to a federal tax return (federal changes) or filed a false or fraudulent return to evade tax. For income, estate, and corporation tax purposes, generally a taxpayer is required to report a federal change to New York State within 90 days after the final determination of such change, correction, renegotiation, or disallowance and must state whether the determination is correct or incorrect.


answered 15 Oct '09, 21:14

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TaxQueries ♦♦
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The year he was born or the year that NY first had an income tax, whichever was earlier. The statute of limitations applies only to back taxes for years for which a return was filed. There is no statute of limitations for years for which no return was filed.


answered 07 Nov '09, 00:28

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Additionally, each state has different statutes of limitations as well. (Some are three.) It is sort of like the "unclaimed property laws.

(07 Nov '09, 01:27) Brent Berkman

You may already be aware, but it's worth mentioning New York's voluntary disclosure program: http://www.tax.state.ny.us/e-services/vold/default.htm


answered 24 Nov '09, 17:03

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Multi state tax commission as well assists in failure to file and pay taxes. Is all volutary disclosure and until an agreement is met, then the tp is not divulged to the MST.


(24 Nov '09, 18:06) SandySea

As of March 10, 2011 a bill was sponsored by New York State Sen. DeFrancisco at the request of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. It has been sent to the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations. You may look it up as Bill No. S03946 at The New York State Assembly on line.

This will limit the statute of limitations to an absolute 20 years on a tax warrant. It also makes the statute run from the first day a warrant could have been filed. Not years after like is now being done. Also involuntary collections do not restart the Statute as now is also being done.

Over 700,000 letters about tax warrant notices were sent out to New Yorkers recently. Some many decades old. That, I think, is one for every fifteen New Yorkers or less when you discount children, etc.

Make sure that you call your representatives to support this bill.

Even at that the statute is twice as long as the IRS's but at least it ends the open ended laws on the books now. This might give some hope to those that can't even remember or never had a previous notice.

If you can't collect something in 10 years it can't be done.

The reason that it was sent by the Department of Taxation themselves is, I would think, because it cost more to track and keep records forever than can be collected. Why else would they do it.

This also might keep people from undo stress and worry. Many people are just to old and don't have any records after ten years. At least 20 years caps it and is not unlike some other states. It is the lesser of two evils.

This also should allow for people, that could not pay, to come out of the underground economy and actually start paying taxes again. This would give them a fresh start.

Yes there may be some cheats that got away with something but after 20 years there is no reason on earth that people that can’t pay, for whatever reason, should suffer in what amounts to indentured servitude under the present law.



answered 15 Mar '11, 18:50

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Asked: 15 Oct '09, 17:17

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Last updated: 23 Jul '13, 00:15