TITLE I
THE STATE AND ITS GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 21-J
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ADMINISTRATION

General Provisions

Section 21-J:14

    21-J:14 Confidentiality of Department Records. –
I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the records and files of the department are confidential and privileged. Neither the department, nor any employee of the department, nor the legislative budget assistant or any expert consultants, including certified public accountants, hired by the legislative budget assistant to assist in the carrying out of his or her duties, nor any other person charged with the custody of such records or files, nor any vendor or any of its employees to whom such information becomes available in the performance of any contractual services for the department shall disclose any information obtained from the department's records, files, or returns or from any examination, investigation or hearing, nor may any such employee or person be required to produce any such information for the inspection of any person or for use in any action or proceeding except as hereinafter provided.
II. The information deemed confidential and privileged in paragraph I shall include any information received from the United States Internal Revenue Service in accordance with compacts for exchange of information between the department and the Internal Revenue Service, and likewise shall include any United States federal tax information obtained on New Hampshire tax returns.
III. The information deemed confidential and privileged in paragraph I shall include any information received from any other state in accordance with compacts for the exchange of information between the department and any other state, which compacts the department is hereby authorized to enter.
IV. The records and files deemed confidential and privileged under this section shall not include records or files related to the following areas of the department's activities:
(a) Municipal service and regulatory responsibilities including, but not limited to, responsibilities under RSA 21-J:15-24.
(b) Tax related statistics, reports, summaries or other data prepared by the department which do not identify, or permit identification of, particular tax returns, reports, or related documents.
(c) Meals and rentals licenses as provided under RSA 78-A:4, III.
(d) The formula used by the department to assist the current use board in their determination of current use tax rates, and all variables within that formula, including definitions of those variables, if any.
V. The following exceptions shall apply to this section:
(a) Delivery to a taxpayer or his duly authorized representative of a copy of any return or other papers filed by the taxpayer.
(b) Disclosure of department records, files, or returns to the United States Department of Treasury and United States Food and Drug Administration in accordance with compacts for the exchange of information between the department and the bureaus within the Department of Treasury and the Food and Drug Administration, but only for the purpose of, and to the extent necessary in, the administration of federal tax laws, and related statutes.
(c) Disclosure of department records, files, returns, or information in a New Hampshire state administrative proceeding or any judicial proceeding pertaining to state tax administration where the information is directly related to a tax issue in the proceeding, or the taxpayer whom the information concerns is a party to such proceeding, or the information concerns a transactional relationship between a person who is a party to the proceeding and the taxpayer.
(d) Disclosure to the following officers and employees of the state of New Hampshire:
(1) An officer or employee of the department for the purpose of, and only to the extent necessary in, the administration of the tax laws for which the department is responsible;
(2) An officer or employee of the state of New Hampshire to whom such disclosure is necessary in connection with the processing, storage, and transmission of such information, or the programming, repair, maintenance, testing, or procurement of equipment used to process, store, or transmit such information;
(3) A legal representative of the department who is directly engaged in a civil or criminal proceeding, or an investigation which may result in such a proceeding before a state administrative body, grand jury, or court, but only if the information is or may be related to the resolution of an issue in the proceeding or investigation or if:
(A) The taxpayer whom the information concerns is or may be a party to such proceeding; or
(B) The information concerns a transactional relationship between a person who is or may be a party to such proceeding and the taxpayer.
(4) The legislative budget assistant:
(A) In the performance of his or her duties under RSA 14:31-a, I(a) and (b), provided that disclosure of department records, files, returns, or information to the legislative budget assistant shall be only for the purpose of, and to the extent necessary for, conducting audits of the department's accounts and records consistent with section 6103(d)(2)(A) and (B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. This exception shall not be construed to authorize disclosure to any member of the legislature or to any expert consultants, including certified public accountants and data processing experts, hired by the legislative budget assistant to assist the legislative budget assistant in the carrying out of his or her duties. The records, files, returns, or information deemed confidential and privileged under RSA 21-J:14 shall not be subject to disclosure under RSA 14:31-a, II or RSA 91-A.
(B) In the performance of his or her duties under RSA 14:31-a, I(d), provided that disclosure of department records, files, returns, or information to the legislative budget assistant shall be only for the purpose of, and to the extent necessary for, conducting audits of the department's programs consistent with section 6103(d)(2)(A) and (B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. This exception shall not be construed to authorize disclosure to any member of the legislature. The records, files, returns, or information deemed confidential and privileged under RSA 21-J:14 shall not be subject to disclosure under RSA 14:31-a, II or RSA 91-A.
(5) An officer or employee of the office of reimbursements, department of health and human services, in the performance of his duties under RSA 126-A:37 and RSA 126-A:42, which disclosure shall be limited to the statement of the administrator or executor of the estate which lists whether legatees were living at time of the decedent's death, the names of the legatees, their relationships to the decedent, their ages at the time of the decedent's death, and the addresses of the legatees.
(6) An officer or employee of the department of employment security, pursuant to an agreement for exchange of information between the department and the department of employment security, for the purposes of, and only to the extent necessary for, the administration and collection of contributions to the unemployment compensation fund, and administration and payment of unemployment compensation claims. The information disclosed pursuant to such exchange agreement shall not include records, files, returns, or information disclosed to officers or employees of the department by any other state pursuant to a compact for the exchange of information between the department and any other state unless permitted by such state or compact. In the event that the department of employment security may not obtain confidential taxpayer information from the United States Internal Revenue Service, disclosure under this exception shall cease and any agreement for exchange of information between the department and the department of employment security shall be void. Officers or employees of the department of employment security having in their custody or control any confidential taxpayer information obtained from the department pursuant to the exchange agreement authorized under this subparagraph shall be subject to the provisions of RSA 21-J:14.
(7) The legislative budget assistant and the department of administrative services, provided that disclosure of department records, files, returns, or information to the legislative budget assistant and the department of administrative services shall be only for the purposes of, and to the extent necessary for, the development, maintenance, and updating of databases necessary for the operation of the tax policy simulation and forecasting models authorized pursuant to 1999, 338:23. The legislative budget assistant may disclose such information to any consultant under contract with the fiscal committee of the general court pursuant to 1999, 338:23 for the development, maintenance, or updating of the tax policy modeling system. Disclosure of confidential tax information under this exception shall be limited as follows:
(A) Federal records shall only be disclosed according to federal law, regulations, and any compacts or agreements between the department and the Internal Revenue Service;
(B) Information disclosed pursuant to this subparagraph shall not include records, files, returns, or information disclosed to officers or employees of the department by any other state pursuant to a compact for the exchange of information between the department and any other state unless permitted by such state or compact; and
(C) Information disclosed shall not be further disclosed to persons other than officers or employees of the department of administrative services, of the legislative budget assistant, or of the consultant. Officers or employees of the department of administrative services, the legislative budget assistant, or the consultant having in their custody or control any confidential taxpayer information obtained from the department pursuant to this subparagraph shall be subject to the provisions of RSA 21-J:14.
(8) An officer or employee of the department of health and human services in the performance of duties under RSA 167:14-a, V, which disclosure shall be limited to the report of the trust and a copy of the trust document, including any list of beneficiaries, filed in accordance with RSA 87:20.
(9) An officer or employee of the division of enforcement of the liquor commission, pursuant to an agreement for exchange of information between the department and the division of enforcement, for the purposes of, and only to the extent necessary for, the administration and enforcement of RSA 78:16. Officers or employees of the division of enforcement having any confidential and privileged department information obtained from the department pursuant to the exchange agreement authorized under this subparagraph shall be subject to the provisions of this section.
(10) An officer or employee of the insurance department, pursuant to an agreement for exchange of information between the department and the insurance department, for the purposes of sharing information received by the department from insurance companies that claim a business enterprise tax credit, pursuant to RSA 400-A:34-a, and only to the extent necessary, for the administration and collection of tax premiums by the insurance department. The information disclosed pursuant to such exchange agreement shall not include records, files, returns, or information disclosed to officers or employees of the department by any other state, pursuant to a compact for the exchange of information between the department and any other state, unless permitted by such state or compact. Officers or employees of the insurance department, having in their custody or control any confidential taxpayer information obtained from the department pursuant to the exchange agreement authorized under this subparagraph, shall be subject to the provisions of RSA 21-J:14.
(e) Disclosure of department records, files, or returns to any other state in accordance with compacts for the exchange of information between the department and any other state, but only for the purpose of and to the extent necessary in the administration of tax laws of such other state.
(f) Disclosure of department records, files, returns, or information to an authorized vendor of collection services that is a legal representative or agent engaged to collect a debt of the state if the taxpayer whom the information concerns is the subject of an authorized investigation regarding an unpaid tax liability to the state; or the information concerns a transactional relationship between a person who is or may be a party to such proceeding and the taxpayer. The department shall only disclose such information that is directly related to the unpaid tax liability and is necessary to collect such debt. The vendor and its employees having access to this confidential information shall be subject to the provisions of RSA 21-J:14.
(g) Disclosure of department records, files, or returns to the United States Department of Justice in accordance with compacts for the exchange of information between the department and the United States Department of Justice, but only for the purpose of, and to the extent necessary in, the administration and enforcement of RSA 541-C and RSA 541-D relative to the tobacco master settlement agreement.
(h) Disclosure of department records, files, or returns to the Multistate Tax Commission, in accordance with agreements entered into with the Multistate Tax Commission, for the performance of tax audits on behalf of the state.
VI. No exception in paragraph IV or V shall be construed to authorize disclosure to the governor of New Hampshire or a designee or representative of the governor of New Hampshire.
VII. The commissioner of the department of revenue administration may limit disclosure of information to a greater degree than provided for herein when such further limitation is necessary to comply with compacts for the exchange of information with the Internal Revenue Service of the United States and any other state which has entered into a compact with the department as provided in RSA 21-J:14, V(e).
VIII. It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee of the state or an officer or employee of a vendor which has entered into a contractual agreement with the department under RSA 21-J:3, XX, or has entered into a contractual agreement with the state and is authorized by law to receive information made confidential and privileged by this section, willfully to disclose to any person, except as authorized in this section, any records or files of the department. The term "willfully" as used in this paragraph, shall have the same meaning as provided in RSA 626:2, IV. Any violation of this section shall be a class A misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by a fine or imprisonment or both under RSA 651:2 and shall in addition to any other punishment be dismissed from office or discharged from employment upon conviction for such offense.
IX. Persons who make unauthorized disclosures of confidential and privileged information disclosed under the exceptions contained in paragraph V and unauthorized persons who make any unauthorized disclosures of confidential and privileged information in violation of this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in paragraph VIII.
X. Disclosure of returns and return information filed under RSA 87 may be made to the clerk and the probate court having jurisdiction over the estate of the decedent, but only for the purpose of and to the extent necessary for the administration of such tax laws.
XI. Returns or other documents mailed to a vendor of the department for the processing and depositing of tax revenues on behalf of the department shall be confidential records of the department upon their receipt by the vendor. The vendor and its employees having any access to this confidential information shall be subject to the provisions of RSA 21-J:14.
XII. Department records, files, or information obtained by the commissioner or other department employee under the provisions of RSA 78, RSA 541-C, or RSA 541-D may be disclosed to the attorney general, or designee, and other federal, state, or local agencies as provided under RSA 541-D:5, II. The attorney general or designee may further disclose such records, files, or information pursuant to an agreement with an entity designated to serve as a data clearinghouse in accordance with the terms of the Nonparticipating Manufacturer Adjustment Settlement Agreement. The Nonparticipating Manufacturer Adjustment Settlement Agreement means, for purposes of this paragraph, the settlement agreement between the state of New Hampshire and the participating manufacturers, as primarily set forth in the term sheet dated November 14, 2012 and approved by the general court in 2013, 6.

Source. 1985, 204:1. 1987, 391:4, II, III; 408:7, 8. 1991, 348:1; 362:7-9. 1992, 40:1. 1995, 310:6. 1997, 211:1. 2001, 289:2. 2002, 165:10, 11; 232:2. 2003, 152:2. 2005, 166:2, 3; 175:11. 2010, 48:1. 2011, 88:20, eff. July 1, 2011; 173:2, 3, eff. Aug. 13, 2011. 2013, 90:1, 2, eff. Aug. 19, 2013; 247:3, eff. Mar. 24, 2014. 2014, 192:3, eff. Sept. 9, 2014. 2015, 183:1, eff. Aug. 28, 2015; 276:21, eff. July 1, 2015; 276:184, eff. Sept. 16, 2015. 2019, 178:8, eff. Jan. 1, 2020. 2021, 102:1, eff. Aug. 30, 2021; 207:2, Pt. VI, Sec. 3, eff. Oct. 9, 2021.