Frequently asked questions about public notices

Q. If I post an e-edition of the newspaper on my website, does that satisfy the requirement to post public notice advertisements to our web page?

A. If the e-edition includes the public notice advertisements that were published in your print edition for that day, then the answer is “yes.” Make sure that readers of your e-edition can enlarge the version to the point where the public notice advertisements are readable.

Q. I notice that the new forms don’t require notarization. Is that no longer required?

A. This was a policy change implemented by the state Board of Accounts months ago when it approved “electronic tearsheeting” and has nothing to do with the changes made by the passage of H.E.A. 1230.

The Publishers Claim Form 99P is designed for billing of government agencies for public notice advertisements places by those public entities. You no longer have to get a signature from a notary public.

You still may get a request for notarization from attorneys who are placing what many call “private legals” – notices required by law to be published by individuals or corporations. Examples include notice of administration placed by lawyers who represent an estate or sheriff’s sale (mortgage foreclosure) notices that are ultimately paid for by the winning auction bidder.

You may need to create a secondary form that includes the notary language for those public notice customers that require the notarization because they have to file proof of publication in a court proceeding.

Click here to download examples of the form.

Q. The old form was printed on 8 ½” by 14” paper, but the new form appears to be on 8 ½” by 11”. Is that correct?

A. Yes, you can print the form on 8 ½” by 11” paper.

Q. I have two newspapers in the county with separate Web pages. Do I have to post the public notice advertisements to both Web pages?

A. Yes. You’re publishing the public notice advertisements as two newspapers so readers of both newspapers should also be able to find the public notices on both Websites.

Q. Must I archive the public notice advertisements on the Website?

A. No, the law does not require that public notices be archived on the newspaper’s Website, but it might not be a bad idea for future reference to what was published by local government agencies.

Q. When I print the new Publishers Claim Form 99P, there appears to be a jumble of letters in the upper left-hand corner of the form. Is this a glitch or what?

A. The letters should run down the left-hand side of the form to “ATTACH COPY OF ADVERTISEMENT HERE,” but for some reason certain printers will widen the column so multiple letters may appear side-by-side rather than a single-letter column.

You may want to try printing other version (.xcl or .pdf) to see if the copy prints properly.

Q. If I have a multi-run public notice advertisement that’s first publication was in June, which I printed in 6 point type, do I have to change to 7 point type for the subsequent runs in July and if so, how do I bill it?

A. The State Board of Accounts will allow public notices that began publication in June to continue to be printed in the smaller type that was used in June, so that the billing can reflect a consistent point size and line rate for the entire run of that public notice advertisement.

Q. I’m only changing the point size of the type to 7 points, but not my column width. Do I have to change the line rate I charge?

A. Yes, the formula for determining line rates is dependent upon three variables – point size, column width, and price per square. Any change if one or more of the variables changes the maximum amount your newspaper can charge for public notice advertisements. So a change in the point size will change your line rate.

On January 1, the price per square will increase by 2.75 percent, so most newspapers will be allowed to increase their line rates due to that change brought by H.E.A. 1230.

Q. Do we charge the public agency for our posting of the public notice advertisement on the Web page?

A. No, it now becomes a part of the duty of publication by the newspaper, but there is no extra charge you can add to your line rate for publication.

Q. The old form had a place for the business manager to sign , then it had a place for the publisher to sign, and then there was a place for it to be notarized. The only place that I see to be signed on the new form is at the bottom. Who signs this part?

A. The publisher or an employee such as the business manager, can sign the new form.

Q. There is a statement on the back that says “See table of legal rates in the applicable State Board of Accounts Bulletin”. I do not have that bulletin and the rates were on the back of the claim form but are not now.

A. The rates are no longer printed on the back of the form since column widths have changed so drastically and are all across the board now. The message is more for the public agency that you billing, in case they want to check on the line rate you are claiming. There will be a news bulletin with rates charts created by the state Board of Accounts prior to Jan. 1 when the next rate increase goes into effect.

So you don’t have to worry if you don’t have the charts or bulletins as long as you know your line rate. If you don’t know what your rate should be, ask HSPA Executive Director and General Counsel Steve Key at To complete the formula you need to know the point size in type you are using and your column width, either in inches or picas and points.

Q. Our county auditor believes she is required to give us the county claims for posting on the Internet even though there no longer is a publication requirement for the newspaper. Is this correct?

A. No. County claims are no longer required to be published, although court warrants that need county commissioner approval still need to be published. Only public notice advertisements subject to the state’s public notice advertising law (I.C. 5-3-1) need to be posted. This includes public notices that are paid for out of state or local government funds. It would not include what many call “private legals,” such as sheriff’s sale (mortgage foreclosure) or an estate’s notice of administration.

Q. My library board wants to know what impact H.E.A. 1230 will have on it concerning public notice advertisements? And what impact will there be for townships?

A. If the library board has the ability to levy and tax and its budget is greater than $300,000, it will have a new requirement to publish an annual report after its fiscal year ends. This is the same type of financial report that schools, cities and towns and counties already prepare and publish.

In counties with newspapers located in different townships, those townships previously were required to publish public notice advertisements in both the newspaper in that township and another newspaper in the county if that newspaper circulated within the township. Now that township will only have to publish notices with the newspaper located in the township.

Q. What would you say would be a reasonable amount of time to keep public notice advertisements on our website – one month, two months, etc.?

A. The law only requires the public notice advertisement to be posted the same day of publication, so anything above that is a plus for your Internet readers. Since most multi-run notices are for three weeks, I’d think a month at most would be fine.

If you have an electronic archive, you may want to consider archiving the notices as a reference for reporters/readers interested in checking on a government project at a later date. It could be helpful to check on building projects, for example, to see what the original request for proposals called for from bidders.