Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #379A



March 31, 1982

The Honorable Ora A. Maupin
Commissioner of the Revenue for the City of Charlottesville

81-82 379A

This is in reply to your letter of March 17, 1982, in which you asked whether §58-46 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, prevents you from releasing information which reveals (1) the total revenue that the City of Charlottesville receives in the form of license taxes from attorneys, (2) the total number of licenses issued to attorneys reporting gross income of 2,500 or less and, (3) the total number of licenses issued to attorneys reporting gross income in excess of that figure. The person making this request wishes to know this information for the period from 1975 through the most recent year for which such figures are available and claims entitlement to this data under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, §2.1-340, et seq. (the "Act").

Section 58-46 makes it unlawful for you to divulge any information acquired by you in the performance of your public duties in respect to the transactions, property, income or business of any person, firm or corporation. However, this statute also limits its application so that "[n]othing contained [therein] shall be construed to prohibit the publication of statistics so classified as to prevent the identification of particular reports or returns..,," It is my opinion that the release of the statistical information requested in this case, if it exists, is not prohibited by §58-46 because it does not identify particular reports or returns, See Reports of the Attorney General (1974-1975) at 524, (1973-1974) at 412(1), (1967-1968) at 58, and (1959-1960) at 344,

Although you are obligated under the Act to furnish "records" as defined in the Act, you are not obligated to tabulate individual returns existing in your office and prepare statistical analyses which may be released under §58-46 if such statistics do not presently exist. If, however, the statistics have been assembled, they may be released under 58-46 and, pursuant to a request under the Act, must be released, You "may make reasonable charges for the copying and search time expended in the supplying of such records; however, in no event shall such charges exceed the actual cost. in supplying such records, Such charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen." Section 2.1-342