Who’s included in these lists
These lists include the top 250 individual tax debtors and top 250 business debtors. The ranking is based on the total amount shown on the face of all warrants on file against those individuals with the county clerk and New York State Secretary Of State (also known as the “docketed” amount). The warrants may have been filed over a period of years, but at least one has been filed in the last 12 months. The list excludes taxpayers whose debt is under formal or informal review, who have filed for bankruptcy, or whose estate or the Social Security Administration has notified us that they are deceased.
The department will issue and post this list at the beginning of each month with updated information. We won't remove taxpayers who have resolved their tax matters during the month until we create the new list for the following month.
What is a Tax Warrant
A tax warrant, also referred to as a Tax Lien or Judgment, is issued administratively by the New York State Tax Department and has the same force and effect as a money judgment within New York State. The tax warrant serves two primary purposes. First, it protects New York State’s interests and insures that those with outstanding tax debts cannot liquidate major assets such as real property. It is also the first step in the civil enforcement process. The tax warrant is what empowers the Tax Department to proceed with the seizure of assets through levies, wage garnishment, and direct seizure of property.
A tax warrant can only be filed once a tax debt becomes fixed and final. Before that can happen, due process requires that the taxpayer be given notice of the debt and an opportunity to be heard. Some debts become fixed and final because the taxpayer has agreed that he or she owes the debt others do not become final until the taxpayer has challenged the debt and the matter has proceeded through our administrative hearing processes. Many become fixed and final because the taxpayer has defaulted in responding to our notice of the debt.
The Department does not, as a matter of policy, file warrants for all fixed and final tax debt. For example, if the Department is working to resolve payment of the debt with the taxpayer, the Department will sometimes refrain from filing a warrant (which can have a negative impact on the taxpayer’s credit) if the Department receives adequate alternative security that the debt will be paid. When the taxpayer cannot provide these assurances or where the taxpayer needs an extended time to pay off the debt, a warrant may be filed simply to protect the State’s interests until the liability can be fully paid.
The amount of each warrant is the amount due and owing at the time the warrant is filed. Subsequent payments are not reflected in these amounts; therefore, the warranted amount could be much higher than the amount due. In other circumstances, the warranted amount could represent a much lower amount than is due, since the warranted amount does not include all accruing penalty and interest amounts.
Lastly, an amount that is warranted cannot be assumed to be collectible. The debtor could be without income or assets, or beyond our reach to enforce collections.