1436. Returns to be secret. (a) Except in accordance with proper judicial order or as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful for the treasurer or any officer or employee of Erie County or any person engaged or retained by such county on an independent contract basis to divulge or make known in any manner the particulars set forth or disclosed in any return required under a local law enacted pursuant to this article. Provided, however, that nothing in this section shall prohibit the recording officer from making a notation on an instrument effecting a conveyance indicating the amount of tax paid. No recorded instrument effecting a conveyance shall be considered a return for purposes of this section.
(b) The officers charged with the custody of such returns shall not be required to produce any of them or evidence of anything contained in them in any action or proceeding in any court, except on behalf of the county in any action or proceeding involving the collection of a tax due under a local law enacted pursuant to this article to which such county or an officer or employee of such county is a party or a claimant, or on behalf of any party to any action or proceeding under the provisions of a local law enacted pursuant to this article when the returns or facts shown thereby are directly involved in such action or proceeding, in any of which events the court may require the production of, and may admit in evidence, so much of said returns or of the facts shown thereby, as are pertinent to the action or proceeding and no more.
(c) Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the delivery to a grantor or grantee of an instrument effecting a conveyance or the duly authorized representative of a grantor or grantee of a certified copy of any return filed in connection with such instrument or to prohibit the publication of statistics so classified as to prevent the identification of particular returns and the items thereof, or the inspection by the legal representatives of such county of the return of any taxpayer who shall bring action to set aside or review the tax based thereon.
(d) Any officer or employee of such county who willfully violates the provisions of this section shall be dismissed from office and be incapable of holding any public office in this state for a period of five years thereafter.
Last modified: February 3, 2019