Attorney General's Opinion 1993 #001




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

1993 1

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 locality.

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, provides:

[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 public records.

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.