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November 12, 1999

Mr. Scott Fawcett
Legal Counsel
Open Records Division
Comptroller of Public Accounts
111 East 17th Street
Austin, Texas 78701

OR99-3220

Dear Mr. Fawcett:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 129512.

The Comptroller of Public Accounts (the "comptroller") received a request for information reflecting whether a particular company has received tax refunds within the past eight years. You state that the fact that the company received a refund in 1994 has been released to the requestor. You seek to withhold, however, all other information pertaining to the tax refund pursuant to section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with section 151.027 of the Tax Code.

Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from required public disclosure information that is confidential by law, including information made confidential by statute. Section 151.027(a) provides confidentiality for information collected under the Limited Sales, Excise, and Use Tax Act and reads as follows:

(a) Information in or derived from a record, report, or other instrument required to be furnished under this chapter is confidential and not open to public inspection, except for information set forth in a lien filed under this title or a permit issued under this chapter to a seller and except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section.

This provision prevents the disclosure of information and data "obtained" or "derived" from a taxpayer. You explain that the information at issue consists of either the sales and use tax return information required to be submitted by the taxpayer pursuant to section 151.403 of the Tax Code, or information directly derived from the tax return information. Consequently, we conclude that the documents you submitted to this office for review are confidential pursuant to section 151.027(a) of the Tax Code and must not be released.

We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

June B. Harden
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

JBH/RWP/ch

Ref.: ID# 129512

cc: Ms. Sylvia Ortega
Post Office Box 4224
Austin, Texas 78765
(w/o enclosures)


 

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