Q&A: Sales disclosure forms


From the Crothersville Times:

Q: Are sales disclosure forms for property transfers public records that should be available to the public for inspection and copying?

A: Here’s a walk through the process for your county officials:

The presumption under the state’s Access to Public Records Act is that records are available for inspection and copying with the burden placed on the government agency to show statutory authority for keeping a record confidential [see IC 5-14-3-1 and IC 4-5-14-3-9(c)].

Social Security numbers and parties’ phone numbers on a sales disclosure form are confidential [see IC 6-1.1-5.5-3(e)], but county officials are required to redact that information and make the rest of the document available [see IC 5-14-3-6(a)].

Both the county auditor and the county treasurer have public records [as defined at IC 5-14-3-2(n)], so it doesn’t matter whether the form was first filed with one office or another. The disclosure form in each office is a public record subject to inspection and copying after any Social Security numbers or party phone numbers are redacted.

If either office wants to deny access to the sales disclosure form, ask them to provide you with the code citation for the denial.

If this doesn’t help you obtain the records, put the situation before Public Access Counselor Luke Britt for a formal or informal opinion. I’m confident Britt will agree that the form should be made available to you to inspect or copy.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.