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New wall of shame: NY tax delinquents

ALBANY - Tax cheats, beware.

The cash-strapped state has begun posting your names on the Internet. The 500 biggest tax delinquents - individuals and businesses - now can be found at nystax.gov.

Of the 250 individuals owing the most in back taxes, 33 are from Nassau and 21 from Suffolk. Among the 250 businesses owing the most in back taxes, 22 are from Nassau and 30 from Suffolk.

The move by the state Department of Taxation and Finance is part of a more aggressive effort to recoup some of the more than $14 billion owed to New York. Officials estimate at least $4.2 billion is recoverable and could help close next year's projected $9.1-billion budget deficit.

"These businesses and individuals, who shamelessly evade our tax laws, put the entire state in jeopardy and allow others to pay for the vital services they enjoy," Gov. David A. Paterson said.

The site will be updated at the beginning of each month, according to department spokesman Brad Maione. He said information about all tax delinquents, regardless of how much they owe, will eventually be available online through a searchable database.

Using the Internet to shame tax cheats into paying was first championed by state Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) and Assemb. William Colton (D-Brooklyn).

Klein noted only tax delinquents with at least one tax warrant filed against them in the preceding year would be eligible for public outing. All outstanding tax warrants are used to determine placement on the top 250 lists. "By publicly naming the most outrageous cases," he said, "we put all those who would seek to circumvent our tax laws on notice, 'this behavior will no longer be tolerated.' "

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