CEO 76-131 -- July 26, 1976
DEBTS AND INCOME PERCENTAGES
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Although Florida Statute s. 112.3145(3)(c)(1975) excludes from the real property disclosure requirement personal residences and vacation homes, a mortgage on such property which exceeds the reporting person's net worth nevertheless must be disclosed pursuant to s. 112.3145(3)(e). In the absence of any ambiguity or exceptions, the commission holds in accordance with the strict statutory language requiring disclosure of all debts in excess of net worth.
As the term "disclosure period" is defined in s. 112.312(8) as the taxable year preceding the filing deadline, disclosures made in 1976 under the revised law (which took effect on January 1) must contain the sources of all income in excess of 5 percent of the reporting person's gross income during 1975. The 1974 disclosure law, which required the reporting of sources in excess of 10 percent of one's gross income, similarly applied to the preceding tax year, 1973.
1. Inasmuch as Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(3)(c)(1975) excludes from the disclosure requirement residences and vacation homes, must mortgages on these properties be disclosed pursuant to s. 112.3145(3)(e), requiring the disclosure of debts in excess of net worth?
2. Where I file my statement of financial interests in 1976 based on the 1975 tax year, must I disclose all sources of income in excess of 5 percent of my gross income, which requirement did not become law until January 1, 1976?
Question 1 is answered in the affirmative.
Florida Statute s. 112.3145(3)(e)(1975) mandates that the reporting person disclose on his statement of financial interests "[e]very debt which in sum equals more than the reporting person's net worth." In the absence of any ambiguity or exceptions, we must hold in accordance with the strict statutory language requiring disclosure of all debts in excess of net worth, including mortgages on personal residences and vacation homes.
Question 2 is answered in the affirmative.
As you point out in your letter of inquiry, the financial disclosure law which was in effect during part of 1974 and 1975 provided that by May 15 of each year the reporting person disclose each source of income constituting 10 percent or more of his gross income. Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(1)(a)(1974 Supp.). We would further point out, however, that the provision specifically stipulated that such disclosure was based on "the preceding taxable year," i.e., 1973 (for 1974 disclosures), during which year there was no financial disclosure law. The 1975 Legislature amended and renumbered this provision so as to require the annual disclosure by July 15 of "[a]ll sources of income received during the disclosure period . . . ." Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(3)(a)(1975). Under the revised law, which took effect on January 1, 1976, the term "disclosure period" is defined as follows:
"Disclosure period" means the taxable year for the person or business entity, whether based on a calendar or fiscal year, immediately preceding the date on which, or the last day of the period during which, the financial disclosure statement required by this part is required to be filed. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.312(8)(1975).]
Accordingly, current law requires that by July 15 of each year subject public officials disclose all sources of income in excess of 5 percent of their gross incomes received during the preceding calendar or fiscal year.