NY Tax Department Clarifies Position on Driver’s License Requirement
March 01, 2017 | BY Chris Gaetano
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF) clarified its position Friday on whether practitioners can check the “no applicable ID” box on a return if their client, despite having a valid driver’s license number, refuses to disclose it.
“In this transition year, the first where New York is requiring taxpayers’ driver’s license information, we will permit preparers to check the ‘No Applicable ID’ box if the taxpayer refuses to provide the information,” NYSDTF acting Commissioner Nonie Manion wrote in a statement. “IF this is necessary, contemporaneous information should be kept to document the preparer used due diligence to obtain the information and the taxpayer refused.”
Manion’s statement addressed ambiguities that have emerged in the wake of the state tax department’s new requirement that all taxpayers provide their driver’s license (or other DMV-issued ID) information on their e-filed returns as an extra layer of verification. Shortly after announcing the new requirement, which practitioners had complained came with little advance notice before tax season, the department said through various spokespersons that if a client does not want to share this information, preparers may check the “No Applicable ID” even if the taxpayer does, in fact, have an applicable ID—and the return would be accepted.
However, a Feb. 17 update to the state’s Business Taxpayer Answer Center, said otherwise. In response to the question, “If my client is known to have a valid driver license or state-issued ID, but chooses not to disclose it, can I check the No applicable ID box without repercussion? Am I required to disclose this?” the state tax department site stated that “if a tax professional knows his client has a driver’s license or non-driver’s license ID, but he client refuses to comply with the requirement to provide that information, the preparer cannot certify truthfully and submit the return with the No ID box checked.”
This caused confusion among tax professionals who suddenly were unsure about what was or was not allowed. After a conference call between Manion and NYSSCPA leadership on Friday, NYSDTF drafted the statement saying that, this year, preparers can check the box in the event that their client refuses to supply the information, so long as they retain the required documentation stating that they used due diligence to obtain the ID information. Manion said NYSDTF would update its website with the updated information shortly.