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I Fill Out a Form 700 – What Do I Need to Know?


What is a Form 700, and Who Files It?

Many government employees and officers must regularly disclose their financial interests to the public. This filing is called a Statement of Economic Interests (SEI), but it is better known as a Form 700 . Those who are typically required to complete Form 700 include Commissioners, elected officials, department heads, and managers.

Disclosing Your Financial Interests Matters.

Public officials may not use their position to influence a government decision in which they have a financial interest. Financial disclosures ensure government transparency and accountability.

What do I need to disclose? Things that earn you or your family additional income beyond your job or what is available. For example, a second home that you rent for income, or stock in a local company.

Typically, you don’t need to disclose the home you live in or retirement investments that you don’t directly control (like many mutual funds).

Why this distinction? The government decisions you’re involved in shouldn’t be influenced by your personal opportunity for financial gain or loss. Therefore, the public is entitled to know where these interests are. Then, it can be determined if there is a conflict on any given issue.

Can the Public View Statements of Economic Interest?

Yes! Form 700 filings are available to the public in the Form 700 Online Database. Limited redactions may be needed.
Visit the Ethics Commission’s Form 700 page for more information about Form 700, deadlines, how to access Form 700 filings, trainings and FAQs, and much more.

If you need help searching filed statements, don’t hesitate to ask! Contact the Ethics Commission at 415-252-3100 or

Form 700 Deadlines

If you are in a position that files a Form 700, you must file:

  • An Assuming Office statement, no later than thirty (30) days after assuming your office or position
  • An Annual statement by April 1st every year
  • A Leaving Office statement, no later than thirty (30) days after leaving your office or position
    • Leaving Officer statements apply even if you are not leaving the City entirely, including a change of position.

Keep in mind: It is very important to file Form 700 accurately and by the deadline. Failing to file Form 700 by the deadline, as well as making intentional omissions and errors can have serious consequences, including fees, penalties, discipline, and disqualification from voting on matters before your Board or Commission.

City Gifts Rules

General gift rules:

  • We can’t accept gifts for doing our jobs. Accepting or asking for gifts for providing City services, assistance, advice, or anything related to our City jobs is prohibited.
  • We can’t accept or ask for gifts from the people we manage.
  • If a contractor or other restricted source gives you a gift, don’t accept it! Restricted sources include contractors or someone who seeks to contract with your department. It also includes anyone who has tried to influence you in any legislative or administrative action in the past 12 months.

Gift rules for Form 700 filers: In addition to the rules above, if your level of decision-making authority requires you to disclose your financial interests on Form 700, more gift rules apply.

Visit the Ethics Commission Resource Page for Form 700 filers for more information about gift limits and disclosures.

The City’s gift laws are comprehensive, can apply in a wide range of scenarios, and can also have some common exceptions.

So, the most important rule is: seek guidance before accepting a gift to avoid violating the law.

Don’t hesitate to ask – the Ethics Commission is here to assist you!

Visit the Ethics’ Commission webpage on Gifts and Travel for more information or contact us at 415-252-3100 or


Gifts of travel are also subject to the City Gifts rules .

If you file a Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interests):

Generally, travel payment (including reimbursement) must be reported on your Form 700 as a gift or income.
If the travel payment is a gift, it is also normally subject to the $520 gift limit. If it is income, it may be considered an honorarium. In any case, you may need to disqualify yourself from any decision that could reasonably impact on whoever paid for your travel.

Learn more about travel restrictions, limitations, and exceptions in the FPPC’s Limitations and Restrictions on Gifts, Honoraria, Travel and Loans Fact Sheet.

If you are an elected officer:

You must file the Gifts of Travel form before accepting any out-of-state travel gift paid by anyone other than the City and County of San Francisco, another governmental body, or a bona fide educational institution.

Find out more details and fill out the Gifts of Travel form on the Ethics Commission Gifts and Travel page.


Receiving payment for making a speech, publishing an article, attending a conference, convention, meeting, social event, meal, or similar is an “honorarium”.

The short version is this: if you are required to file a Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interests), you cannot take honorarium payments from any reportable source within your disclosure category.

This means that:

  • If you are in disclosure category 1, you can’t accept honoraria from anyone.
  • If you are in disclosure category 2, you can’t accept honoraria payments from any source if you are required to report income or gifts from that source on their Statements of Economic Interest.

Learn more about Honoraria restrictions and limited exceptions in the FPPC’s Limitations and Restrictions on Gifts, Honoraria, Travel and Loans Fact Sheet.

How Can I Avoid Conflicts of Interest? 

Those who file a Form 700 are often in important decision-making positions.

Though rules for conflicts of interest apply to anyone involved in governmental decision-making, it is likely a consistent part of Form 700 filer’s work.

First, are you making, participating in, or influencing a government decision? This includes:

  • Voting on a matter
  • Appointing a person in relation to the interest,
  • Committing your agency to an action
  • Entering into a contract for your agency
  • Providing advice through research without significant intervening review,
  • Using your position to affect the outcome of a decision

If you answered “yes” to either question, you may have a conflict of interest. You must announce the conflict of interest on the public record and abstain from participating in the decision. That means that you are not allowed to participate in, make, or influence that decision in any way. 

Example: “I am a commissioner who is voting on a permit for a building across the street from my house. Do I have a conflict of interest?”

Second, identify if the decision affects your financial interests or those of your direct family members’:

  • Investments
  • Property
  • Someone who’s been a source of gifts or income for you
  • Management positions (Any entity where you are an officer, director, partner, trustee, or any position of management
  • Income, assets, or expenses for you or your immediate family

• First, you should ask yourself: am I making a government decision? You are voting on this matter, so the answer is yes. 
• Second, you should ask yourself: is this decision affecting any of my financial interests? The answer is most likely, yes. A permit decision on a building across from yours is very likely affecting your property. 

In this example, everything indicated that you may have a conflict of interest, and you should recuse yourself from participating in this decision. 

Reporting Violations

Waste, fraud, or abuse in City government? Report it! You can file a confidential report through the Whistleblower Program, and we can all do our part to make sure our government is fair and accountable.

You can report:

  1. City funds used in the wrong way or for the wrong purpose
  2. Any dishonest activity by a City officer or employee
  3. Wasting money or inefficient government practices
  4. Bad quality or poor delivery of City services

Retaliation against someone who filed a Whistleblower complaint is prohibited.

Retaliation could mean firing someone or suspending them because they filed a complaint. It could also mean moving someone to a lower position or taking any action that affects their jobs in a negative way because they filed a complaint or because they cooperated in an investigation.

If you believe you are a victim of whistleblower retaliation, file a complaint with the Ethics Commission.

To contact an investigator, call the Ethics Commission at 415-252-3100 or visit the Ethics Commission’s complaint website

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