For the Poor, Tax Law Change Eases the Burden a Little


Fordham Law student Daria Schieferstein along with classmates Elaina Aquila, Gaby Kornblau, Rachel Smith, and Sam Zuckerman wrote an op-ed featured in Times Union, Albany’s daily newspaper, discussing the recent amendment to a New York State tax law that they worked to enact through Fordham Law’s Poverty, Tax, and Justice Clinic.

Since 2014, the state has mandated that the Department of Taxation and Finance suspend the driver’s license of any individual owing $10,000 or more in past-due taxes and related interest and penalties.

The recent amendment helps to put an end to this unjust practice, creating an exemption from license suspension for those who receive public assistance or Supplemental Security Income, or who are experiencing undue economic hardship. Under this provision, financially struggling New Yorkers can keep their driver’s license, their dignity and their jobs, and increase the likelihood of working their way towards solvency.

Importantly, the law does not forgive tax debt. The government is free to continue using its other channels of tax collection to obtain what is due.

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