From: Jobin-Davis, Camille (DOS)
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:28 AM
Subject: Freedom of Information Law
As promised, the following is the provision of the NYC Administrative Code that we discussed:
§ 11-2115 Returns to be secret. a. Except in accordance with proper
judicial order, or as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful
for the commissioner of finance, register or tax appeals tribunal or any
officer or employee of the department of finance, register or tax
appeals tribunal to divulge or make known in any manner any information
contained in or relating to any return provided for by this chapter. The
officers charged with the custody of such returns shall not be required
to produce any of them or evidence of anything contained in them in any
action or proceeding in any court, except on behalf of the commissioner
of finance in an action or proceeding under the provisions of this
chapter, or on behalf of any party to an action or proceeding under the
provisions of this chapter when the returns or facts shown thereby are
directly involved in such action or proceeding, in either of which
events the court may require the production of, and may admit in
evidence, so much of said returns or of the facts shown thereby, as are
pertinent to the action or proceeding and no more. Nothing herein shall
be construed to prohibit the delivery to a grantor or grantee of a deed
or to any subsequent owner of the real property conveyed by such deed or
to the duly authorized representative of any of them of a certified copy
of any return filed in connection with the tax on such deed; nor to
prohibit the delivery of such a certified copy of such return or of any
information contained in or relating thereto to the United States of
America or any department thereof, the state of New York or any
department thereof, the city of New York or any department thereof
provided the same is required for official business; nor to prohibit the
inspection for official business of such returns by the register, the
corporation counsel or other legal representatives of the city or by the
district attorney of any county within the city; nor to prohibit the
publication of statistics so classified as to prevent the identification
of particular returns or items thereof.
b. (1) Any officer or employee of the city who willfully violates the
provisions of subdivision a of this section shall be dismissed from
office and be incapable of holding any public office in this city for a
period of five years thereafter.
(2) Cross-reference: For criminal penalties, see chapter forty of this
c. This section shall be deemed a state statute for purposes of
paragraph (a) of subdivision two of section eighty-seven of the public
d. Notwithstanding anything in subdivision a of this section to the
contrary, if a taxpayer has petitioned the tax appeals tribunal for
administrative review as provided in section one hundred seventy of the
charter, the commissioner of finance shall be authorized to present to
the tribunal any report or return of such taxpayer, or any information
contained therein or relating thereto, which may be material or relevant
to the proceeding before the tribunal. The tax appeals tribunal shall be
authorized to publish a copy or a summary of any decision rendered
pursuant to section one hundred seventy-one of the charter.
e. This section shall not apply to any information contained in or
relating to a return filed on or after the first day of January, two
thousand three with respect to a transaction or transfer occurring on or
after that date; provided, however, that this section shall continue to
apply to any social security account number contained in any report or
return pursuant to this chapter.
Please note subsection (e). In my opinion, this provision removes the confidentiality provisions for documents filed on or after January 2003, except for the release of social security numbers.
Accordingly, it is my opinion that a copy of the record you have requested, the contract of sale, filed with the RP-5217, should be provided to you.
I hope it helps.
Camille S. Jobin-Davis, Esq.
NYS Committee on Open Government
Department of State