Sign In
City of Philadelphia

Financial Disclosure FAQs

Note: Although the Board of Ethics coordinates the Financial Disclosure process for the City, the Board of Ethics has jurisdiction directly only over the filing of the City Form. Definitive rulings on legal questions concerning the State Form should be addressed to the State Ethics Commission. Definitive rulings on legal questions concerning the Mayor’s Form should be addressed to the Chief Integrity Officer in the Mayor’s Office. A searchable PDF of these Frequently Asked Questions is available here.

Basics

What are the Financial Disclosure forms?

Certain City officers and employees are required to make public disclosures about their sources of income and other financial interests. These public disclosures are made each year on Financial Disclosure forms, which include:

(1) The City of Philadelphia Statement of Financial Interests (“City Form”);
(2) The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Statement of Financial Interests (“State Form”); and
(3) The Mayor’s Executive Order Financial Disclosure Statement (“Mayor’s Form”).

What is the deadline for filing the Financial Disclosure forms?

Financial Disclosure forms must be filed on or before May 1 of each year. If May 1 is not a business day, forms must be filed on or before the next day the City is open for business. If you file paper forms, you must file at the Records Department, City Hall Room 156, by 5 p.m. on the day of the deadline.

If you are a new filer because you took office this calendar year, please review the question directly below.

I began serving in a City position this year. When are my Financial Disclosure forms due?

If you are required to file the City Form, you must file within 30 days of taking office, unless you took office between January 1 and April 2. If you took office between January 1 and April 2, you must file the City Form on or before May 1.

If you are required to file the State or Mayor's Forms, you must generally file on or before May 1 of each year that you hold office. If you took office after May 1, you have until May 1 of the next calendar year to file.

Are my Financial Disclosure forms available to the public?

Yes. Filed Financial Disclosure forms are available for public inspection and copying in the Records Department and may be posted online. Certain filers' forms are available on the Department of Records' website. Some data, including information about minor children and some filers' home addresses, will be redacted before a form is made public. For more information, please contact the Department of Records at 215-686-2260.

If you are concerned that disclosure of information submitted would be reasonably likely to pose a specific threat to your personal security or the personal security of an individual named on your form, please submit specific details regarding your concern to: financialdisclosureprivacy@phila.gov.

Who has jurisdiction over the Financial Disclosure forms?

The Board of Ethics coordinates the Financial Disclosure process for the City but only has jurisdiction over the City Form as required by the City Ethics Code. The State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over the State Form. The Office of the Chief Integrity Officer has jurisdiction over the Mayor's Form.

Can the government really require me to disclose my financial interests?

Yes. In Pennsylvania, courts have repeatedly recognized that financial disclosures are a reasonable way for government to encourage integrity and honesty of public officers and employees and that financial disclosure may enhance the public's perception of government workers' integrity.

Who Must File

Do I need to file Financial Disclosure forms?

Whether you need to file one or more of the Financial Disclosure forms depends on the City position(s) you hold. Some City officers and employees only have to file the State Form, while others have to file the State and City Forms, and a few file all three forms. Many City employees do not have to file any Financial Disclosure forms.

The instructions for the City Form include a list of the positions that must file the City Form. Similarly, the instructions for the Mayor's Form have a list of the officers and employees within the Administration who must file that form. If you are in the online Financial Disclosure System, you can find the instructions for all forms on the tabbed "File Now" page, under "Form Instructions." The instructions for all forms are also available on the Board of Ethics website.

The State Ethics Act requirement for filing the State Form is based on position description and duties. If you are a City employee, your departmental HR managers can help you get information about whether your job duties meet the standards for filing the State Form.

This document entitled "Who Must File Which Financial Disclosure Form" has information about filing requirements. It is the individual responsibility of each City officer or employee to comply with financial disclosure filing requirements. 

Why do I need to file the State Form if I work for the City? What if I didn't receive notification regarding the form last year?

The State Ethics Act generally requires any individual who meets the definition of "public employee" or "public official" to file the State Form. Your job description and official duties 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 notification regarding this 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 you can consult your HR manager if you have questions or think your filing status should be changed.

The State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over the State Form, and you can contact the Commission for a definitive ruling on whether you must file the State Form.

I left City service already. Do I need to file?

The City and State Forms must still be filed in the year after a filer's City service ends. The Mayor's Form is only required to be filed in each year a filer holds office.

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.

Tech Questions

How do I file Financial Disclosure forms?

Electronic Filing

You are strongly encouraged to use the City’s online Financial Disclosure System to file your financial disclosure form(s). You can use the online system to file any of the required forms - the City, State, or Mayor's Form. You can complete the filing process electronically using an electronic signature feature that allows you to sign your forms online.

Paper Filing 

As in prior years, you can prepare paper forms by selecting “Paper Filing” when you log in to the Financial Disclosure System and entering your data into the system, but your filing obligation is not complete until you print and sign the paper forms, and deliver them for filing to the Records Department. Traditional paper forms are also available on the Board of Ethics website as downloadable PDFs.

How do I access the City's online Financial Disclosure System?

Visit https://fds.phila-records.com/FDS/FDLogin.aspx and log in using your username and password.

What if I don’t have a username and password?

Go to https://fds.phila-records.com/FDS/FDLogin.aspx and click on “Register” below “Filing Options” on the right. If you are a City employee, we recommend that you use your payroll ID number as your username because it is likely that a user account has been set up for you with your payroll ID number as your username and as your password. You may also create a user account with a username and password of your choice, and note that both are case sensitive.

Once an email address is used as the user email for a registration, it cannot be used to register for a different username. If your work email address was used when registering for the Financial Disclosure System in the past, you cannot use the same email when signing up for a new username.

Complete all the required fields and a new account will be created for you. When you register, click on the “Add Position” button to select from the alphabetical drop down list your Department name and any City Boards or Commissions that you serve on, including those you serve on as an alternate for another City official.

If you are a member of a City board or commission and are not a City employee, please contact Board staff at 215-686-9450 for information about filing.

What if I used the online Financial Disclosure System before but don’t remember my username and/or password?

Visit https://fds.phila-records.com/FDS/FDLogin.aspx and click on “Password Help” below “Filing Options” on the right side of the page. You can request that your username and/or password be emailed to you. If you select both username and password, you will receive two separate emails containing the requested information at the email address you chose as your “user email” when you created your user account.

How do I change my password?

Log in to the Financial Disclosure System using your existing password.

At the tabbed “Home” page, access the “Chg. Password” link in the top right corner of your screen. After changing your password, you will receive an email confirmation of the change of password at the email address you chose as your “user email” when you set up your user account.

Do I need to use my home address when I register?

No, your home address is not required. When entering your Department and any Agencies, Boards, or Commissions, make sure that you enter the Office Address so that an address is filled in when the forms are printed.

What should I do if I am having technical difficulties with the online Financial Disclosure System?

If you cannot advance past a certain page, cannot see the pop-up windows to enter detailed information, or cannot see the disclosures you have already provided, then you are experiencing technical difficulties. Please ensure that you are accessing the online Financial Disclosure System on a PC using the Microsoft Internet Explorer ("IE") browser. IE versions 11 and earlier are compatible with the system. The online filing system is not compatible with Mac operating systems. If you need additional information or assistance, please contact Board staff. Compatible computers and assistance are available each year before the disclosure deadline at an in-person filer support center supported by the Records Department.

What are the advantages to using the online Financial Disclosure System?

There are several key advantages to using the online Financial Disclosure System to file, or merely prepare disclosure forms:

(1) You only have to enter information once and, if you are required to file more than one financial disclosure form, it will appear on all the forms you must file.
(2) When you use an electronic signature, there is no need to print and deliver paper forms to the Records Department.
(3) Your information is saved and can be automatically repopulated into amended forms or next year’s forms.
(4) Overflow pages are automatically created.
(5) Data is automatically placed in the correct section of each form.
(6) You can preview your data and save or print your financial disclosure forms.

Is my financial disclosure reporting obligation satisfied when I submit information using the online Financial Disclosure 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 can 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.

Can I save a copy of my completed form(s)?

If you use the online Financial Disclosure System, you can print or save a PDF of your forms after you have filed them.

Where do I find and file a paper form?

We strongly recommend that you use the City's online Financial Disclosure System to file electronically. If you choose to file a paper form, you should obtain paper forms from the City's online Financial Disclosure System. After you log in using your username and password, select "Paper Filing" and obtain a barcoded paper form to complete by hand and file. Using a barcoded paper form generated by the online Financial Disclosure System will ensure that your filing can be properly tracked.

All paper forms, including the State Form, must be filed with the Records Department in City Hall Room 156. Don't forget to sign your paper disclosure form(s).

What Information Gets Disclosed

What if I 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 in the online Financial Disclosure System, instructions are available under “Form Instructions” in the left-hand column of any page. Instructions are also available on the Board of Ethics website. If you have questions after reviewing the instructions, you can contact Board staff at (215) 686-9450. Please note that depending on the form or forms that you are required to file and the specific question, Board staff may refer you to another Office.

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 online Financial Disclosure 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.

If information that I have already disclosed in one category on a form is responsive to a second category on the same form, do I also need to disclose the same information in the second category?

Yes. The same information may be required in more than one category of a form and must be disclosed in all applicable categories.

Do I need to disclose that I own a vacation home as a real estate interest?

Mere ownership of a vacation home 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. Please see the instructions for each particular form for details. Note that rental income and gains received from a property in an amount over the applicable reporting thresholds is required to be reported under sources of income.

When reporting creditor information, do I need to report the amount I owe?

No. 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 "immediate family members."

Do I need to include the mortgage on my home as part of creditor information?

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.

Do I need to report my student loan debt as part of creditor information?

Yes, if your student debt is over the applicable thresholds. The City Form requires you to disclose the name and address of each creditor that you owed in excess of $5,000 at any time during the previous calendar year and the interest rate of the loan. Such reporting would include any governmental or private entity with which you have a student loan in excess of $5,000.

Similarly, the State Form requires you to disclose the name and address of each creditor that you owed in excess of $6,500 at any time during the previous calendar year and the interest rate of the loan. On its website, the State Ethics Commission explains that "school loans . . . must be listed on the form if the balance owed was in excess of $6,500.00 at any time during the [previous] calendar year."

Do I need to report the City of Philadelphia as a source of income?

Yes, if your compensation from the City exceeds applicable thresholds. For the City Form, if a filer's City pay equals or exceeds $500 in the prior calendar year, the filer must report the City of Philadelphia as a source of income. For the State Form, the threshold amount for reporting a source of income is $1,300.

What needs to be disclosed as sources of income?

For purposes of the City Form, income is any money or thing of value received, or to be received as a claim on future services, whether in the form of a fee, salary, expense, allowance, forbearance, forgiveness, interest, dividend, royalty, rent, capital gain or any other form of recompense or any combination thereof. Generally, anything that is reportable as "gross income" on your federal income tax return should be disclosed as income on the City Form if it totals in the aggregate $500 or more.

The State Ethics Commission on its website answers the question of what direct or indirect sources of income must be disclosed on the State Form as follows:

"Income" includes any money or thing of value received or to be received as a claim on future services or in recognition of services rendered in the past, whether in the form of a payment, fee, salary, expense, allowance, forbearance, forgiveness, interest, dividend, royalty, rent, capital gain, reward, severance payment, proceeds from the sale of a financial interest in a corporation, professional corporation, partnership or other entity resulting from termination/withdrawal therefrom upon assumption of public office or employment or any other form of recompense or combination thereof.

The term refers to gross income; it includes prize winnings and tax-exempt income but does not include gifts, governmentally mandated payments or benefits, retirement, pension or annuity payments funded totally by contributions of the public official or employee, or miscellaneous, incidental income of minor dependent children.

Some examples follow:  1) if you receive monthly pension payments of $1,300.00 or more, where the employer has contributed in whole or in part to your pension, or if you own a 401K account that has generated dividends, distributions or capital gains totaling in the aggregate of $1,300.00 or more, you must list it here; 2) if you sell a property and you have capital gains from that property, and each source is $1,300.00 or more, you must list it here; and 3) If, for example, you are a doctor or lawyer and you receive income from multiple individual clients in an amount of greater than $1,300.00, you should list the name and address of your firm or office, not the individual clients.

Further, a State Ethics Commission Regulation on Financial Disclosure provides in relevant part:

(a) The name and address of a direct or indirect source of income, including employers, in the aggregate of $1,300 or more . . . shall be reported, unless the disclosure would require the divulgence of confidential information protected by statute or existing professional codes of ethics or common law privileges.

I own stocks and bonds. What do I need to disclose?

On the City Form, filers need to disclose stocks, bonds, and mutual funds as a source of income if they have generated $500 or more of income, such as dividends, interest or capital gains. You do not need to provide values or amounts of income, and you are not required to disclose the individual holdings of a mutual fund. As a general rule, sources of income that must be disclosed on the City Form include sources of anything reportable as "gross income" on your federal income tax return if it totals $500 or more in the aggregate in the prior calendar year.

In addition to sources of income, a "financial interest in any business organized for profit" is a separate category required to be reported on the City Form. Ownership of stocks and bonds must be disclosed in this category if they involve a business organized for profit and if they are not held through mutual funds. Disclosure is required regardless of whether the business actually made any profit during the previous calendar year.

In terms of reporting investment income on the State Form, a State Ethics Commission Regulation on Financial Disclosure provides in relevant part as follows:

(b) Income from the securities of a particular business equaling or exceeding the [$1,300] reporting threshold, capital gains and dividends equaling or exceeding the [$1,300] reporting threshold shall be listed.

(c) If the income generated equals or exceeds the [$1,300] reporting threshold, mutual funds and other financial plans for individuals may be reported as a single source if the individual has no authority to buy or sell particular assets in the fund.

(d) An individual or an individual and a spouse who has an investment portfolio, with a broker, other than a mutual fund, shall list individually the income from each asset to which subsection (b) applies if the asset may be bought and sold by the individual or by the individual and a spouse.

The State Ethics Commission website also states that if you own a 401(k) account that has generated dividends, distributions, or capital gains totaling in the aggregate of $1,300.00 or more, you must list it as a source of income.

Further, a "financial interest in a legal entity engaged in business for profit" is a separate category required to be reported on the State Form. For purposes of the State Form, a financial interest means either more than 5% of the equity of the business or more than 5% of the assets of the economic interest in indebtedness.

I am a board member of a nonprofit organization. Do I need to disclose my board membership?

Yes. Both the City Form and the State Form require disclosure of "Office, Directorship or Employment in Any Business Entity." When providing your information regarding offices, directorships and employment in business entities, you should include such positions in nonprofit entities as well as for-profit entities. Similarly, the Mayor's Form requires listing all offices and directorships held in any business, association, or other entity, including nonprofits.