CEO 84-100 -- October 18, 1984






To:      (Name withheld at the person's request.)




Section 112.312(11), Florida Statutes, defines "liability" to exclude taxes owed for purposes of financial disclosure under Article II, Section 8 (a) and (h), Florida Constitution. Therefore, a public official need not disclose on Commission on Ethics Form 6 tax liens filed by the IRS.




Is an IRS tax lien in an amount greater than $1,000 required to be disclosed as a liability on the full and public disclosure form required under Article II, Section 8 (a) and (h), Florida Constitution?


Your question is answered in the negative.


You advise that you represent a candidate for election to a board of county commissioners. You also advise that the question has arisen as to whether an IRS tax lien is required to be disclosed when filing full and public disclosure (Commission on Ethics Form 6) pursuant to Article II, Section 8(a) of the Florida Constitution.

Article II, Section 8 (a) and (h) (1), Florida Constitution, requires elected constitutional officers and candidates for such offices to file a sworn statement which, among other things, identifies each liability in excess of $1,000 and its value. However, Section 112.312(11), Florida Statutes (1983), defines "liability" to mean


any monetary debt or obligation owed by the reporting person to another person, except for credit card and retail installment accounts, taxes owed, indebtedness on a life insurance policy owed to the company of issuance, contingent liabilities, or accrued income taxes on net unrealized appreciation. Each liability which is required to be disclosed by s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution shall identify the name and address of the creditor. (E.S.)


A tax lien by the IRS is a claim against a taxpayer's property for payment of delinquent taxes. The lien reflects taxes assessed and determined to be owed by the IRS. See, generally, 34 Am. Jur. 2d Federal Taxation, Section 9420 et seq. In our view, a tax lien therefore falls within the contemplation of the exemption for "taxes owed" in the above section.

Accordingly, we are of the opinion that in filing full and public disclosure (Commission on Ethics Form 6), an IRS tax lien in excess of $1,000 need not be listed as a liability.