FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Stephen Singer and

The Associated Press,

 
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-389

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Revenue Services; and

State of Connecticut, Department of

Revenue Services,

 
  Respondents May 11, 2011
       

           

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 19, 2011, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. 

 

            After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

            1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  By letter filed June 21, 2010, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying their request for public records.

 

3.  It is found that the complainants by letter dated May 26, 2010 requested access to and copies of:

 

…  records identifying the companies that have obtained research and experimental expenditures tax credits—incremental and non-incremental—and the machinery and equipment expenditure tax credit and urban and industrial site reinvestment tax credit. I also request information on the dollar amount of those credits from 2002-2008, inclusive, and for 2009 if it’s available.

 

4.  It is found that the respondents by letter dated June 1, 2010 denied the request on the grounds that the records were exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(10) and 12-15, G.S.

 

5.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:

 

   “Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

6.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

   Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

 

7. Section 1-212(a), G.S. provides in pertinent part that “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”

 

8. Section 12-15, G.S., provides in pertinent part

 

(a) No officer or employee, including any former officer or former employee, of the state or of any other person who has or had access to returns or return information in accordance with subdivision (12) of subsection (b) of this section shall disclose or inspect any return or return information, except as provided in this section.

 

 

(h) For purposes of this section:

 

(1)   "Return" means any tax or information return, declaration of estimated tax, claim for refund, license application, permit application, registration application or other application required by, or provided for or permitted under, the provisions of this or any other title which is filed with the commissioner by, on behalf of, or with respect to any person, and any amendment or supplement thereto, including supporting schedules, attachments, or lists which are supplemental to, or part of, the return so filed.

 

 (2) "Return information" means a taxpayer's identity, the nature, source, or amount of the taxpayer's income, payments, receipts, deductions, exemptions, credits, assets, liabilities, net worth, tax liability, tax collected or withheld, tax underreportings, tax overreportings, or tax payments, whether the taxpayer's return was, is being, or will be examined or subjected to other investigation or processing, or any other data received by, recorded by, prepared by, furnished to, or collected by the commissioner with respect to a return or with respect to the determination of the existence, or possible existence, of liability of any person for any tax, penalty, interest, fine, forfeiture, or other imposition, or offense. "Return information" does not include data in a form which cannot be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer. Nothing in the preceding sentence, or in any other provision of law, shall be construed to require the disclosure of standards used or to be used for the selection of returns for examination, or data used or to be used for determining such standards or the disclosure of the identity of a confidential informant, whether or not a civil or criminal tax investigation has been undertaken or completed.

 

(3) "Disclosure" means the making known to any person, in any manner whatever, a return or return information.

 

(4) "Inspection" means any examination of a return or return information.

 

9.  It is concluded that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

10. It is found that the requested information comes directly from tax payer returns; in this case, in CT-1120 corporate business tax returns.

 

11.  It is concluded that 12-15, G.S., is a statute that “otherwise provides” for the nondisclosure of return information.

 

12. It is concluded that the requested records constitute “return information” within the meaning of 12-15(h)(2),G.S., and that they are therefore excluded from disclosure requirements of 1-210 and 1-212, G.S. See, e.g., Jacobs v. Department of Revenue Services, Docket #FIC 2008-750; Lenore v. Department of Revenue Services, Docket #FIC 2005-441.

 

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

 

            1.  The complaint is dismissed.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 11, 2011.

 

 

__________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission


 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

 

Stephen Singer and the Associated Press

10 Columbus Boulevard, 9th Floor

Hartford, CT  06106

 

Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Revenue Services;

and State of Connecticut, Department of Revenue Services

c/o Louis P. Bucari, Esq. and Shawn M. Sims, Esq.

State of Connecticut, Department of Revenue Services

Legal Division, 19th Floor

25 Sigourney Street

Hartford, CT  06106

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-389/FD/cac/5/16/2011