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What is Form 700?
Every year, government officers and designated employees who hold certain positions must disclose (make known) their financial interests in a public form. This is called a Statement of Economic Interests. It is commonly known as Form 700.
Why does it Matter?
Public officials cannot use their position to influence a government decision in which they have a financial interest. Financial disclosures promote government transparency and accountability.
When people are informed of potential conflicts of interest, they can make sure that officials are acting in the best interest of the public, not benefitting their own personal finances.
Disclosing financial interests helps public officials identify when their personal interests conflict with their government duties. That way, they can take steps to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest. For example, they can avoid participating in a government decision that could benefit them or their families.
Who Files Form 700?
Elected officials, department heads, board members, and commissioners file Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interests). Departments identify who is required to file. Designated Employees who make or participate in government decisions that could cause conflicts of interest also file Form 700.
The City’s Conflict of Interest Code lists the positions that must file Form 700. The Conflict of Interest Code is reviewed at least every other year to make sure it is up to date.
How Do Filers Submit Their Statements?
- Elected officials, department heads, commission and board members, and certain positions that manage public investments file with the Ethics Commission.
- Designated employees file with their departments.
All filers fill out Form 700 electronically using the Ethics Commission’s NetFile e-filing system.
When Do Filers Submit Their Statements?
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 starting your job or position.
- An Annual Statement by April 1st every year.
- A Leaving Office Statement, no later than thirty (30) days after leaving your job or position.
Keep in mind: It is very important to file Form 700 accurately and by the deadline. If you need to amend your Statement during the year, you may do so at any time.
What Should You Disclose on Form 700s?
It depends on the disclosure category assigned to your position. Different positions have different levels of risk for conflicts of interest. Positions a with broader scope of duties typically require more disclosure than those with less scope of duties or authority.
The City’s Conflict of Interest Code has a list of all positions that by law need to file the Form 700 by department, with their disclosure categories. It is important to know your disclosure category to understand what you must report and who is a reportable source. If you don’t know if you have to file Form 700 or have questions, visit the Form 700 Help portal.There are some things, like your personal residence (if you only use it as personal residence) or your bank account, that you do not have to disclose. The Ethics Commission’s website has resources where you can learn more about Form 700 and what needs to be reported.
If You Miss the Filing Deadline
First, we hope it will never come to this! You can always contact your department’s designated filing officer or the Ethics Commission if you need assistance.
Failing to file Form 700 by the deadline, as well as making intentional omissions and errors can have serious consequences. For example:
- Fees of $10 per day, up to a maximum of $100 per position, for the late filing of a Form 700.
- Potential enforcement action by the Ethics Commission, perhaps including a penalty of up to $5,000 per violation.
- For Board and Commission members: disqualification from participating in and voting on matters before them.
- Failing to file within 30 days of receiving a late filing reminder may cause discipline including:
- Removal from office
- Termination of employment
Don’t let that happen to you! File your Form 700 on time.
What if You Made a Mistake on your Form 700?
Submitted forms are reviewed. Failure to disclose required information could result in enforcement action. If you made a mistake you can amend a previously filed Form 700 at any time.
If you filed the statement electronically, log in to your NetFile account and in the E-Filing History table, click Amend to open the ‘Amend a Previous Filing’ page.
To amend a statement originally filed on paper, visit FPPC Form 700 page to access amendment forms for prior years.
How to Search Filed Statements?
Form 700 filings are available to the public in the Form 700 Online Database. Under the law some information is not shown on public statements to balance the privacy interests of filers.
Visit the Ethics Commission’s Form 700 page for more information about Form 700, deadlines, conflict of interest code, how to access Form 700 filings, trainings and FAQs by audience, and much more.
Conflict of Interest
A situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity as described in Article III, Chapter 2 of the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code.
Any employee of the City and County of San Francisco required to file a Statement of Economic Interest (Form 700) under Article III, Chapter 1 of the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code.
Any payment that confers a personal benefit on the recipient, to the extent that consideration of equal or greater value is not received and includes a rebate or discount in the price of anything of value unless the rebate or discount is made in the regular course of business to members of the public without regard to official status. A gift can be a monetary payment such as cash or a check. It can also be any good or service for which the recipient does not pay fair market value.
Any commissioner, department head, board member, or elected official.