Tax Scofflaws Will Now Lose Their Licenses in New York

ALBANY (AP) -

New York has begun sending notices to 16,000 delinquent taxpayers threatening to suspend their driver’s licenses if they don’t pay up, officials said Monday.

The initiative, authorized under a new law that took effect April 1, targets New Yorkers with past-due tax liabilities of more than $10,000.

Officials expect to collect $26 million this year and up to $6 million annually after that. While 96 percent of taxes are paid reliably by businesses and individuals, officials said 4 percent are collected through audits, collections and criminal investigations.

“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,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. He proposed the measure in his January budget plan for this year.

Delinquent taxpayers notified by the state will have 60 days to arrange payment or receive a second letter with a 15-day deadline, after which the recipient’s license will be suspended for failure to establish a payment plan.

A taxpayer who drives while the suspension is in effect is subject to arrest and penalties. Those with a suspended license can, however, apply for a restricted license that allows them to drive to work and return directly home.

The Department of Taxation and Finance has sent 4,000 notices so far and plans to send the rest in the coming weeks. They go to individuals for unpaid income taxes and for business sales taxes, which list one or more responsible individuals.

In New York State, 96 percent of taxes are paid voluntarily. The remaining 4 percent is collected through audits, collections and criminal investigations programs.