FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Walter P. Doolittle D.V.M.,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 86-173

 

Deputy Commissioner, State of Connecticut Department of Revenue Services,

 

Respondent September 24, 1986

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 21, 1986, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. Section 12-35, G.S. provides that upon the failure of any person to pay any tax other than succession and transfer taxes, the state collection agency may issue a tax warrant, to which "[a]n itemized bill shall be attached . . ., certified by the state collection agency issuing such warrant as a true statement of the amount due from such person."

 

3. On or about March 17, 1986 the respondent, pursuant to 12-35, G.S., sent Mr. Stanley Radgowski to collect taxes from the complainant. At such time the complainant asked to copy the file in Mr. Radgowski's possession, with specific reference to the itemized bill and certified statement referred to in 12-35, G.S., which request was refused.

 

4. By letter dated May 13, 1986 the complainant made a request of the respondent for copies of the file which was in the possession of Mr. Radgowski when he attempted to collect taxes from the complainant.

 

5. On June 11, 1986 the complainant made an oral request of an employee of the department of revenue services for the records in question, which request was orally denied.

 

Docket #FIC 86-173 Page Two

 

 

6. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on June 13, 1986 the complainant appealed the respondent's failure to provide him with the requested records. The complainant requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondent.

 

7. By letter dated June 13, 1986 the respondent forwarded to the complainant copies of the "entire file" in the possession of Mr. Radgowski. Such documents were received by the complainant on June 17, 1986.

 

8. By letter dated June 19, 1986 the complainant informed the respondent that he had not yet received an "itemized bill." The respondent, by letter dated June 27, 1986, informed the complainant that the 21 pages provided constituted the entire file in the possession of the collections and enforcement division. The respondent also provided copies of revised audit workpapers which "along with the computer billings previously mailed to [the complainant], constitute [the] itemized bill."

 

9. The respondent claims that the delay in responding to the complainant's initial request was due to confusion resulting from office reorganization and that all relevant documents have been forwarded to the complainant.

 

10. The complainant claims that the respondent has failed to provide him with an itemized bill, as required by 12-35, G.S. The complainant also claims that ledger sheets provided on June 27, 1986 were "altered" after copying.

 

11. It is found that no "itemized bill" such as is envisioned by the complainant exists. This Commission lacks jurisdiction, however, to determine whether the respondent has met the requirements of 12-35, G.S. regarding the issuance of tax warrants and itemized bills.

 

12. It is also found that nine pages of ledger sheets provided on June 27, 1986 were enhanced, in ink, by an employee of the tax appellate office who felt that lines drawn to delete numbers were not visible in a photocopy. At hearing the respondent expressed its willingness to provide the complainant with copies of the sheets, without enhancement.

 

13. It is found that the delay in responding to the complainant's May 13, 1986 request for records violated 1-15, G.S. It is noted, however, that the circumstances of the delay indicate that the imposition of a civil penalty would not be appropriate.

 

Docket #FIC 86-173 Page Three

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.

 

1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with copies, at no cost and without enhancement, of the nine ledger sheets attached to the June 27, 1986 letter from the respondent to the complainant.

 

2. The respondent shall henceforth act in strict compliance with the requirement of 1-15 that requests for copies of public records be provided promptly.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 24, 1986.

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission