The Third Department determined decertification of petitioner's Empire Zone status was supported by sufficient evidence, including, but not limited to, petitioner's affirmative response to whether it was subject to a Tax Law provision which required it to demonstrate the business was formed for a valid business purpose:
As a participant in the Empire Zones Program, petitioner was required to complete and submit business annual reports (hereinafter BARs) that provided information about its activities, employment and investments (see 5 NYCRR 11.7). The BAR that petitioner completed for 2006 included a section inquiring whether its business was subject to a recently-enacted Tax Law provision that excluded certain firms from receiving tax benefits unless they could establish that they had been formed for a valid business purpose (see Tax Law § 14 [j]  [B]). Petitioner responded affirmatively and, as required by the form, attached a statement explaining that it had been formed by combining two previously-existing accounting firms for various valid business purposes. We find that petitioner's affirmative response on the 2006 BAR, taken together with facts set forth in the attached explanatory statement, provided a rational basis for the Commissioner's decertification decision.
Petitioner's mere affirmative response to the question whether the Tax Law provision was applicable to its business, without more, would not have sufficed to provide a rational basis for the determination that it was a shirt-changer. * * * However, the statement that petitioner attached to the 2006 BAR to demonstrate that it was formed for a valid business purpose contained factual information that was relevant to the Commissioner's 2009 analysis. In the statement, petitioner averred that it was formed in 2002 by combining two previously existing accounting firms, one of which — then known as Dermody, Burke & Brown, P.C. — had been engaged in the practice of public accountancy for 50 years. According to the statement, the 14 shareholders of this firm joined with the seven partners of a second accounting firm, Pasquale and Bowers, LLP, to become members of a new entity, which subsequently carried on the combined practices of the two previous firms. These factual assertions were sufficient to give rise to the reasonable inference that petitioner had caused individuals to transfer from existing employment with the previous two accounting firms to similar employment with petitioner, and that — as petitioner's members were the same individuals who had been the members and shareholders of its predecessors — its ownership was similar to that of the prior firms. Accordingly, there was an evidentiary basis for the determination that petitioner was a shirt-changer within the meaning of the 2009 legislation … . Matter of Dermody, Burke & Brown, CPAs, LLC v Department of Economic Dev., 2016 NY Slip Op 04286, 3rd Dept 6-2-16
MUNICIPAL LAW (PETITIONER'S EMPIRE ZONE CERTIFICATION PROPERLY REVOKED)/TAX LAW (PETITIONER'S EMPIRE ZONE CERTIFICATION PROPERLY REVOKED)/EMPIRE ZONES PROGRAM (PETITIONER'S EMPIRE ZONE CERTIFICATION PROPERLY REVOKED)