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State drives tax delinquents to pay up

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Delinquent taxpayers won’t be in the driver’s seat if they owe New York state more than $10,000.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new program to prod taxpayers to pay their past-due bills by suspending their New York State driver’s license when their tax liability exceeds $10,000.

The crackdown is the result of legislation introduced in the governor’s executive budget and approved by state lawmakers this year.

“Our message is simple: tax scofflaws who don’t abide by the same rules as everyone else are not entitled to the same privileges as everyone else,” Cuomo said in as press release. With the new enforcement, the state is “keeping scofflaws off the very roads they refuse to pay their fair share to maintain.”

The state tax department is sending the first round of 16,000 suspension notices to delinquent taxpayers, who have 60 days from the mailing date to arrange payment with the department. If that is not done, the Department of Motor Vehicles will send a second letter providing an additional 15 days to respond. If the taxpayer again does not respond, the license is suspended until the debt is paid or a payment plan is established.

State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox said tax department staff will help arrange payment plans for persons who cannot pay in full.

The new initiative is expected to increase state tax collections by $26 million this fiscal year and by as much as $6 million annually thereafter.

Persons with a suspended New York license can apply for a restricted license that allows them to drive to work and return directly home.

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