Completing the Forms
Why do I have to file the State Form if I work for the City? What if I didn't receive it last year?
Generally, the State Ethics Act requires any person meeting the definition of “public employee” or “public official” to file the State Form. Your official duties to determine if you are a public employee for purposes of the State Form, and many City employees have duties that bring them within the requirements for filing. You may be receiving the form for the first time if there has been a change in your job duties.
Departmental HR managers can help you identify the forms you must file and to determine whether your title and duties meet the standards for filing. Consult your HR manager if you have questions or think your filling status should be changed.
Filing the State Form is a requirement of State law and it is a violation for any employee identified in that statute to fail to file. We remind you that this form falls under the jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission. Please contact the Commission if you need a definitive ruling on whether an employee in a particular job class must file the State Form.
If I have no information to report on a section of the form, should I just leave the space blank?
No. Whether you are using the electronic system or preparing your report on paper, be sure to check the box marked “none” if you have nothing to report on a particular line.
Is it really legal for the government to require me to disclose my finances?
Yes. In Pennsylvania, Courts have repeatedly recognized that financial disclosures are a reasonable way for government to encourage public officials’ and employees’ integrity and honesty, and that financial disclosure may enhance the public’s perception of government workers’ integrity.
If you want formal legal advice about the implications of financial disclosure on your privacy or other concerns, please contact the City Law Department or the State Ethics Commission.
If a judge has been appointed to a City board or commission, is he or she required to file any Financial Disclosure forms?
Actively serving judges are not required to file the City, State, or Mayor’s Forms. Retired judges may be subject to filling requirements, however.
I am a City department head and also serve on a City board. Should I file a separate City Form for each position I hold?
No. You should include both positions you hold on any Financial Disclosure forms you file.
Must I report the City of Philadelphia as a source of income on my disclosure statement?
Yes. Regardless of the position you hold, for the City form, if your City pay equals or exceeds $500, you must report the City of Philadelphia as a source of income. For the State form, the threshold amount is $1,300.
For the City form, if you received less than $500 from the City during the year or are an unpaid member of a board or commission, you do not have to report the City as a source of income.
I own a lot of stocks. Do I have to list the name and address of each company that paid me a dividend?
You must list the name and address of each company that paid you dividends or other kinds of investment income of $500 or more in the calendar year for the City Form. Income means gross income for the purposes of the form. Please read the instructions carefully.
Please note that the instructions are different for the State and Mayor’s forms
Must I disclose as a real estate interest that I own a vacation home in Florida?
Mere ownership of the home in Florida is not reported on the City or State forms. Generally, the City and State forms require reporting only if a real estate interest was involved in a transaction with the City or State, respectively.
Income and gains received from a property in an amount over the applicable reporting threshold are required to be reported for each of the forms. Thus, if you made money renting out a vacation home (or other property you own), please refer to the instructions on the relevant form to determine whether or how to report this income.
When reporting creditor information, must I report the amount I owe?
On the City and State Forms, you must report the creditor’s name and address and interest rate, but not the amount of the debt. Information is required to be reported for debts in excess of $5,000 on the City Form and for debts in excess of $6,500 on the State Form.
Please note that the City form does not require you to disclose the mortgage on your “principal residence” or a loan from your minor dependent child, spouse, or life partner.
Must I include the mortgage on my home as part of the creditor information?
You may exclude some mortgage information, but there is a difference between the requirements of each of the forms. On the City form, you do not have to report the mortgage on your “principal residence.” On the State form, you do not have to report the mortgage on “your home (or secondary home).”
If I am an elected official and I receive reimbursement for campaign expenses from a PAC, how do I report that reimbursement?
Generally, campaign contributions are not considered gifts or income to you for purposes of financial disclosure. Please note that money and in-kind campaign contributions and reimbursements may need to be reported on campaign finance forms
How do I know what is income that must be disclosed?
First, read the instructions carefully for the form you are completing. If a particular source of income is not listed, generally anything that you would report as “gross income” on your federal income tax return should be included, if it is not specifically excluded by the instructions on the form. For example, included would be alimony and child support, annuities, reimbursement of moving expenses, and prizes and awards. Examples of some payments excluded would be interest on state and local bonds, amounts received from accident and health plans, certain qualified scholarships, gain from sale of your principal residence, and certain foster care payments and adoption assistance grants.
Is my financial disclosure reporting complete when I submit information using the online system?
Yes. If you have selected the “Electronic Filing” option, electronically signed the form, and clicked “Submit Statement(s),” you have completed the filing. We strongly recommend this method.
You may also select “Electronic Filing,” choose not to use the Electronic Signature, and enter your data online, print and sign the completed form, and mail the completed form(s) for receipt by May 1 to: Financial Disclosure Statements, Department of Records, City Hall, Room 156, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107.
Finally, you may select “Paper Filing” and obtain a barcoded paper form to complete by hand and file. Do not forget to sign your paper disclosure form(s).
What if I still have questions about how to complete a particular line on the form?
First, review the instructions
for the form you are completing. If you are online, instructions are available under “Form Instructions” in the left-hand column of any page. If you still have questions, please contact Board staff at (215) 686-9450.