ADMINISTRATION OF GOVERNMENT GENERALLY: AUDITOR OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS
VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.
TAXATION: INCOME TAX.
Auditor's report of local assessing officers' accounts and records
considered public records, open to public inspection under Act.
Although Auditor not required to report findings of his review of
commissioner of revenue's accounts to local governing body, he may do
so on own initiative, and is required to do so upon receipt of
freedom of information request. If report contains information
concerning particular taxpayer's income taxes, that information must
be deleted before release of Auditor's report.
February 8, 1993
The Honorable Dianna W. Robbins
Commissioner of the Revenue for the City of Hopewell
You ask whether the Auditor of Public Accounts, after performing
an audit of the records of a commissioner of the revenue for
compliance with §58.1-307(B) of the Code of Virginia, must
report his findings to the governing body of the commissioner's
I. Applicable Statutes
Section 58.1-307(B) provides, in part:
The Auditor of Public Accounts shall either prescribe or
approve the commissioner of the revenue's or director of finance's
or other assessing officer's record-keeping system and shall audit
such records as provided for in Chapter 13 (§ 2.1-153 et
seq.) of Title 2.1.
Section 2.1-165, which is a part of Chapter 13 of Title 2.1,
[I]t shall be the duty of the Auditor of Public
Accounts to audit all accounts and records of every city and
county official and agency in this Commonwealth handling state
funds, making a detailed written report thereof to the Governor
within thirty days after each audit. Reports so made shall be
public records, and the Governor shall transmit to the General
Assembly at each regular session thereof copies of the same.
II. Auditor of Public Accounts Is Not Required by
§58.1-307(B) to Report Results of Audit to Local Government, but
Audit Report Is Public Record
Section 58.1-307 requires the Auditor of Public Accounts to
prescribe or approve the record-keeping system of commissioners of
the revenue, directors of finance and other assessing officers and to
audit those officers' records as provided for in Chapter 13 of Title
2.1. That chapter includes §2.1-165.
Section 2.1-165 directs the Auditor to audit the accounts and
records of every local official and agency in the Commonwealth that
handles state funds, and to make a detailed written report to the
Governor within thirty days after every such audit. Under
§2.1-165, reports of such audits are specifically designated as
As public records, these audit reports must be disclosed to any
citizen requesting to see them, as required by The Virginia Freedom
of Information Act. See §2.1-341 (definition of official
record); §2.1-342(A) (procedure for requesting official
records).1 While nothing in
§2.1-165 requires the Auditor to furnish the local governing
body with a copy of an audit report made under §58.1-307, as a
public record such a report is readily available to the local
governing body and other local officials.
It is my opinion, therefore, that the Auditor is not required by
§58.1-307(B) to report the findings of a review of the accounts
of a commissioner of the revenue to the local governing body, but
that he may do so on his own initiative, and is required by The
Virginia Freedom of Information Act to do so on request.2
1. In the event the Auditor's report contains
information concern- ing the income taxes of a particular
identifiable taxpayer, the Auditor would be required to delete that
information before releasing his report. See §2.1-342(A)(3); see
also 1986-1987 ATT'Y GEN.
ANN. REP. 283, 285.
2. The Office of the Auditor of Public Accounts
has advised my staff that copies of the report letter following an
audit under §58.1-307 customarily are sent to the local
commissioner of the revenue and to the mayor or county board.