WHO CAN USE ELECTRONIC FILING
Most Unified Court System employees who are required to file annual statements of financial disclosure can use electronic filing. Of course you must have a computer, browser and access to Courtnet or the Internet. In February, every employee required to file is sent a letter with his or her Account Name and Password. You can not file online without this information.
You can not use electronic filing if your filing due date is after December 15th, if you can file only a partial financial disclosure statement because you have an automatic extension of time to file your individual income tax return, or if you are submitting third party financial statements with your financial disclosure statement. Judicial candidates who are not Unified Court System employees can not file electronically.
Access to all electronically filed statements is closed on December 15th, for maintenance. The statements will be made available when the letters containing Account Names and Passwords are mailed out in February.
IS YOUR COMPUTER COMPATIBLE WITH ELECTRONIC FILING?
For Intranet use: you must use a computer connected to the OCA CourtNet.
For Internet use: your computer must be connected to the Internet and have the Internet Explorer browser.
Maintaining the confidentiality and security of the information contained in the financial disclosure statements was the highest priority in the development of the electronic filing system. All data is encrypted during transmission. The data is stored in a secure server located at the Unified Court System’s IT facility at Rensselaer Technology Park. Only the Commission staff will have regular access to the information contained in your statement. Public inspection requests will be processed using paper copies of your statement.
If you have any questions regarding electronic filing after you have read through this Guide and all the “Electronic Filing Frequently Asked Questions”, contact us by telephone at 212 428-2899, by mail at: Ethics Commission
25 Beaver Street Room 875
New York, NY, 10004;
or by email at: EthicsComm@courts.state.ny.us.
Please note however that the Ethics Commission staff are not computer technicians and cannot help you with problems with your software or your CourtNet or Internet connection.
YOUR ACCOUNT NAME AND PASSWORD
You can not file electronically without your Account Name and Password. Your Account Name is your UCS Retirement Number. A new Password is created for you each year. You can not use your prior year's Password to access your statement in the new year. We mail out letters with Account Names and Passwords to all employees required to file financial disclosure statements.
If you haven’t received your letter, or if you have lost it, you must notify the Ethics Commission by telephone, email or regular mail. A new letter will be sent to you. For security reasons, we will not give out Account Names or Passwords over the telephone or via email.
LOGGING IN TO YOUR FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
YOU MUST USE THE INTERNET EXPLORER
BROWSER. YOU CAN NOT EFILE USING ANY OTHER BROWSER.
The first time you log in to your statement, you must have the letter from the Ethics Commission with your Account Name and Password. Make sure that you have this year's letter; you can not access your financial disclosure statement online with the Password in last year's letter.
On the Ethics Commission website home page, click on the “Electronic Filing” heading in the left column. You will be taken to the electronic filing system. When you are ready to start working on your financial disclosure statement, click on the “File Online (Financial Disclosure Form)” heading on the left. The “On-Line Filing Log In Page” will appear.
When you click on "Login”, you will be prompted to type in your Account Name and the Password that we mailed to you. Please note that if a character in the Password looks like both a number and a letter, always choose the number. For example, if a character looks to you like a zero, and like the letter O, it is a zero. The Passwords are case-sensitive, that is, "A" is not recognized as the same letter as "a". Once you have entered the Account Name and Password, click on the “Login” button. If you have typed either incorrectly, you will get an error message. Look at your letter to verify the Account Name and Password, and then enter them again.
If you typed in the correct Account Name and Password, you will be prompted to change your Password. Create a new Password that contains a minimum of eight characters. This is the password that you will use from now on to access your statement. If you forget it you must
contact the Ethics Commission, wait for a new Password letter and start the login process all over again. Your Password can use numbers and/or letters; letters are case-sensitive. For the purpose of verification, you will have to re-enter your new Password. Now click on the “Submit” button. If you have made any errors, you will be so notified.
If you have successfully changed your Password, your online financial disclosure form will open.
To access your financial disclosure statement after the initial login, go back to the Ethics Commission website home page and click on the “Electronic Filing” heading in the left column. You will be taken to the electronic filing system. Click on the “File Online (Financial Disclosure Form)” heading on the left. The “On-Line Filing Log In Page” will appear. Click on "Go to financial disclosure statement", enter your account name and the password that you created, and click on "Login". Your financial disclosure statement will open.
NAVIGATING WITHIN YOUR FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
The buttons used to navigate within your financial disclosure statement are at the top and bottom of each page. Do not use your browser's "back" or "forward" button with this program.
Pages two through fourteen of the statement contain the following buttons: “Go To Question”, "Previous Page", “Next Page” and “Save & Exit”. The first page of the statement does not have the "Previous Page" button. The last page of the statement does not have the "Next Page" button. The "Go To Question" button is only at the top of the page.
If you want to go to any question in the financial disclosure statement: click on the box next to the “Go To Question” button; click on the arrow that appears; highlight the question you want to go to; and then click on the "Go To Question" button.
If you want to go to the next page in the statement, click on “Next Page”. If you want to go back to the previous page, click on "Previous Page".
In addition, a “More” button appears at the end of page 10 (Question 13), page 12 (Question 16), and page 13 (Question17). Clicking on this button takes you to overflow pages for these questions. See the instructions for additional pages in the “Filling In Your Data-Specific Questions” section.
If you want to stop working on your statement, click on
“Save & Exit”. This will save your work and
log you out of the program. When you return to your statement
in the future, all the information you entered will appear. DO NOT EXIT YOUR STATEMENT BY CLOSING YOUR BROWSER. If you exit your statement by closing your browser,
you will have to wait several hours until the system automatically
logs out your statement. If you return to your statement prior
to that automatic logoff, you will get an error message indicating
that your statement is unavailable because it is in use.
FILLING IN YOUR DATA: GENERAL INFORMATION
Accessing Substantive Instructions
In every question (except question 1) there is a question mark in a circle.
Clicking on the question mark will
take you to the substantive instructions for that question.
When you want to return to your statement from the instructions
page, scroll down and click on the “Return” button
on the bottom of the page.
All questions must be answered in full.
You must make an entry in each field in each question except that:
a) if there is a “None” box, and you put an “X” in that box, you do not have to make any other entries in the response area of that question;
b) you do not have to make an entry in the “Percentage
of Corporate Stock Owned or Controlled” field in question
16 on page twelve if you do not own or control the required percentage.
All information being reported about a single item must be confined to a single row. For example, in question 17, if you are reporting that you own one piece of property, all information about that property must be entered in the same row.
You can delete your complete response to any question, beginning with question 4a.
To the right of each question, beginning with question 4a, there is a button labeled, "Clear All". If you determine that you have entered an erroneous response, click on this button and the entire response will be deleted. You cannot delete part of your response with this button.
Drop Down Menus
Certain fields in certain questions have drop down menus. In this circumstance, you can only enter one of the choices in the drop down menu, you can not type in your own response.
The drop down menus appear in the following questions:
- Question 3a: “Married” or “Separated” or “Single” or "Domestic Partner";
- Questions 13, and 16 in the first field: “Self” or “Spouse” or “Joint”;
- Question 17, in the first field: “Self” or “Spouse” or “Joint” or “Corporate”;
- Any question, in the “Category of Value or Amount” field.
If you want to delete any information you have entered using the drop down menu, put the cursor next to the word or category you want to delete, click on the mouse once to open the drop down menu and click on the white or blue space at the bottom of the menu.
FILLING IN YOUR DATA: SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
The system automatically generates your name; you cannot change it.
If the name that appears in this question is not correct, contact the Ethics Commission.
The system automatically generates your job title. This is your title as of January 1st, or, if you were not employed by the Unified Court System on January 1st, as of the date you commenced employment. You can not change your job title. If you believe that the title is incorrect, contact the Ethics Commission.
If you report your marital status as “Separated”, you must report the name of your spouse. Then click on the button for “Statement of Marital Status”. Enter your spouse's name and current address; if the address is unknown, so indicate. You must complete only one of the four available separation options. To indicate the option you have chosen, use the drop down menu to place an "X" in the box next to the number of the option. Then enter the required information. When you are finished, click on the “Return to Page 1” button on the bottom of the page. The Statement of Marital Status will be electronically filed with your financial disclosure statement.
Additional Pages For Questions 13, 16 and 17
If you need more lines to complete question 13 on page 10, question 16 on page 12, or question 17 on page 13, click on the “More” button on the bottom of the page. Once you have entered the additional information, click on the “Return to Page...” button to return to the financial disclosure statement. If there is more than one overflow page, the following buttons can be found on the bottom of the appropriate page: "Next Overflow Page"; and "Previous Overflow Page".
Percentage of Corporate Stock Owned or Controlled
If you enter a number in this field, do not type in the percentage sign or symbol. If you do, when you move from the question, you will get an error message and all the information you entered into question 16 at the same time you entered the percentage sign or symbol will be deleted.
You have to enter the percent of corporate stock owned or controlled only if more than five percent of publicly traded stock, or more than ten percent of stock not publicly traded, is held. If not, you may leave the field blank.
If you have numerous securities held in one financial institution
The format for this question is different from the format for every other question in the financial disclosure statement. As set forth in the substantive instructions for question 16, there are circumstances when you must itemize all the securities held by one financial institution. For example, if you hold securities in a brokerage account, you must name all the securities in that account. In addition, you must itemize the names of mutual funds held by certain financial institutions. The format of this question is designed to allow you to so itemize.
The name of the financial institution should be entered
in the “Issuing Entity” box. The securities held
by that financial institution should be entered in the “Type
of Security” box. That box has room for viewing only
eight lines of text. If you enter more than eight lines, you
must use the arrow keys to scroll up and down to view all
the information that you have entered.
If you have entered more than eight lines of information
in the "Type of Security" box, when you move from
page ten the computer will automatically move the excess text
to the "Type of Security" box in the row immediately
below. The word "Continued" will be inserted in
all the other boxes in the row, except for the "Category
of Market Value" box in which a "0" will be
inserted. To view these automatic entries, return to page
12 and place the cursor in the first "Type of Security"
If you have numerous “Issuing Entity” entries
If you need more “Issuing Entity” boxes than appear on the page, click on the “More” button on the bottom of the page. Once you have entered the additional information, click on the “Return to Page...” button to return to your financial disclosure statement.
In the “Percentage Of Ownership” field, do not type in the percentage sign or symbol. If you do, when you move from the question, you will get an error message and all the information you entered into question 17 at the same time you entered the percentage sign or symbol will be deleted.
FILLING IN YOUR DATA: COPYING RESPONSES FROM YOUR PRIOR YEAR'S STATEMENT
You can copy information reported in your prior year's statement into your current statement only if you filed electronically last year. You can not copy information from any other previously filed statements.
You can not copy any responses from the first page of your prior statement. All other responses, including "None" responses, commencing with question 4a, can be copied.
Log in to your current statement (see the Log-in instructions). It has a button in the bottom right corner of the first page, "Prior Year Statements". When you click on this button your prior year's statement appears. Note that this is a read only copy of last year's statement; you cannot add or delete any information. The word "Archive" appears in the top left corner of every page of the statement.
The button, "Exit Archive" appears on the top and bottom of each page of the Archive statement. If you click on this button, your current statement will appear. You can move back and forth between the two statements as often as you wish. We suggest that you go through the entire Archive statement, read all your responses and choose which to copy.
The following navigation buttons also appear on the top and bottom of each page of the Archive statement: "Previous Page" and "Next Page". The button, "Go to Question" appears only on the top of the page. The function of these buttons is explained in the "Navigating Within Your Financial Disclosure Statement" instructions.
After you have read a response to a question in your Archive statement and you have concluded that the information is accurate for the current reporting year, you can copy the complete response to that question into your current statement by clicking on the "Copy to Current" button that appears to the right of every question commencing with question 4a. You cannot copy part of a response. Clicking on "Copy to Current" copies all the information reported in response to that question, including the information reported on any "More" pages created for questions 13, 16 and 17. If a response is lengthy and most of it is accurate for the current reporting year, you can copy the entire response and edit it in your current statement.
When you return to your current statement, if you decide that you have copied a response in error, click on the "Clear All" button that appears to the right of each question, commencing with question 4a. This will delete ALL the information you copied. It is not possible to delete part of a response using this button. However, you can edit a copied response by using your keyboard to delete information and/or type in new information.
You must affirm that the information you copied from your prior year's statement is accurate for the current reporting year. When you are ready to do so, click anywhere in the box that appears to the right of the question, containing the language, "Click here to confirm that this response is accurate for the current reporting year". Note that you must click in this box even if you have edited your copied response. After you have done so, the word "Affirm" will appear in the box. If you do not do so, your statement will not be accepted for filing and the message, "Prior Year Data Not Affirmed" will appear in the Validation Report". See the "Filing Your Financial Disclosure Statement" instructions for an explanation of the "Validation Report" and the filing process.
VIEWING PREVIOUSLY FILED, ARCHIVED, STATEMENTS
If you are required to file this year, you can view all your previously filed electronic statements online. You can not make any changes in these statements. If you are no longer required to file, you can not access your electronic statements online. You must contact our office if you want a copy of a previously filed electronic statement.
As explained in the section above, you can copy information into your current statement only from the archive statement for the reporting year immediately preceding the current reporting year.
To access your archived statements, click on the "Prior Year Statements" button in the bottom of the first page of your current statement. The most recently filed statement will appear. To go back and forth between archived statements, click on the "Next Year" or "Previous Year" buttons that appear on the top and bottom of each page. Click on the "Exit Archive" button on the top or bottom of each page to return to your current year's statement.
The word "Archive" and the reporting year of the statement appears on the top of each page of an archive statement. Pages two through fourteen ` have navigation buttons on the top and bottom of the page: "Go to Question"; "Previous Page"; "Next Page"; and "Exit Archive". The first page does not have the "Previous Page" button and the last page does not have the "Next Page" button.
If you want to go to any question in the archived statement, enter the number of the question in the box next to “Go To Question”, and then click on "Go To Question". Please note, if you want to go to a question that has a part (a), (b) or (c), you must type in both the number and the letter of the question. This applies to questions: 2(a)(b)(c); 3(a)(b); 4(a)(b); 5(a)(b); 8(a)(b); 12(a)(b).
The following button appears to the right of questions 4a through 19 in all archived statements: “Copy to Current". THIS BUTTON ONLY WORKS IN THE ARCHIVE STATEMENT FOR THE REPORTING YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE CURRENT REPORTING YEAR. If you click on this button in any other archive statement, nothing will happen. See the above section of this guide for information about this button. You will be reminded of this prohibition by the following language that appears next to all relevant questions in the archived statements: “You can copy only from your [reporting year immediately preceding current reporting year] statement”.
FILING A DELETION, OR FAMILY EXEMPTION, REQUEST
Filing A Deletion Request With Your statement
Once you have completed your financial disclosure statement, but before you file it, you may complete an application to request that certain information reported on the financial disclosure statement be deleted from public inspection. The application will be filed electronically with your financial disclosure statement. If you have any questions about deletion requests, please refer to the Filing Instructions first, and then call the Ethics Commission office if you need further assistance.
To access the deletion application go to the bottom right of the last page of the statement and click on the button, ”To file a deletion request, click here”. If you realize that you have gone to this page in error, and that you do not want to file a deletion request, click on the button, “Cancel Deletion Request” at the top of the page; you will be returned to the last page of your financial disclosure statement. If you do complete the application, you can return to your statement by clicking on the “Return to FDS” button on the bottom of the page.
Filing A Deletion Request After You Have Filed Your Statement
If you want to file a deletion request after you have filed your financial disclosure statement, you must complete a paper deletion request and mail the completed request to our office. Indicate on the request the date that you filed your statement online.
Deletion Request Form (PDF)
Filing A Family Exemption Request
If you want to file a request for an exemption from reporting certain information pertaining to your spouse or unemancipated child(ren) you must do so by paper. You can not file this request online. You must mail the completed request to our office. You may file the paper request before or after you file your statement online. If you file the completed request after you have filed online, indicate the date filed on the request.
Family Exemption Request Form (PDF)
FILING YOUR FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
When you are ready to file your financial disclosure statement, click on the box next to the language, "Click here to file your statement. Clicking on this box is the equivalent of signing your statement. When you click on the box, your statement is filed." You do not have to enter the date that you filed. That date will be automatically generated.
A “Validation Report” will appear on the screen:
1. If you have answered every question, the Report will
contain the message that you have successfully filed your
statement. This Report is confirmation that you have filed
your financial disclosure statement. You should print this
page for your records. Use your browser's "Print"
function on the browser "File" menu to print. Do
not use the print icon. You should print in "Landscape"
mode, using 8.5 x 11 inch paper. In the “Print Range”
choose the “Page” option and type in the number
Now you can either leave the program by clicking on the “Log
Out” button at the top of the Report, or you can "Click
here to get an emailed FDS in PDF format". See the section
below for further printing instructions. If you log out
you will be taken to a “Thank You” page. You exit
this page by closing your browser.
2. If you have not successfully completed your statement, it will not be accepted for filing. The Report will advise you as to which questions must be answered or revised.
To make the necessary revisions, first print out a copy of the Validation Report.
Use your browser's "Print" function on the browser
"File" menu to print the selected page. Do not use
the print icon. You should print in "Landscape"
mode, using 8.5 x 11 inch paper. In the “Print Range”
choose the “Page” option and type in the number
Then go back to your statement by clicking on the button underneath the paragraph that begins, "If your statement contains errors...".
Make the necessary revisions. See the “Navigation” section herein to review how to go from one question to another.
You must then go to the last page of your statement, and click on the box next to the language, "Clicking on this box is the equivalent of signing your statement. When you click on the box, your statement is filed."
You will now get a Report indicating that you have successfully filed your statement.
After you have filed your financial disclosure statement, you can log in to the system and view or print your statement until December 1. A message will appear in the top right corner of the first page of your statement, advising you that your statement has been filed. You can no longer make any changes to your financial disclosure statement electronically, unless and until we notify you in writing that it has been made available for revision or amendment.
PRINTING YOUR FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
You can print out a copy of your entire financial disclosure statement at any time, before or after it is filed, by emailing a "PDF" copy of the statement to yourself. You must have the Adobe Reader program on your computer to do this. You must put the document in "landscape" orientation before you print.
To print, go to the bottom of the last page of the statement and click on the following language: "To get an emailed statement in PDF format, click here". Clicking on this button does not file your statement. You can also print from the "Validation Report".
When you click on the button, you will be prompted to enter the email address where you want the statement to be sent. You must also create, and enter, a password. The password must be at least eight characters. You should get the email within a half hour or less, depending on your Internet Service Provider.
The email containing your statement comes from firstname.lastname@example.org. You should be able to access your statement by double clicking on the "PDF" attachment.
If double clicking on the attachment does not prompt you to enter your password, go back to the email, put your cursor on the "PDF" and right click your mouse. Choose "Open With"; choose "Adobe Reader..."; and click on "OK". You will be prompted to enter your password. When you enter your password, your statement will appear.
You cannot make any modifications in your statement at this time. You should print the statement using the Adobe print icon.
For security reasons, we suggest that you delete your financial disclosure statement from your email account, after printing.
You can print any one page of your statement, before it
is filed. Before you print, click anywhere on a page (for
example, on your name in your form) to make sure your form
is active and ready for printing. Use your browser's "Print"
function on the browser "File" menu to print the
selected page. Do not use the print icon. You should print
in Landscape mode, using 8.5 X 11-inch paper. In the “Print
Range” choose the “Pages” option and type
in the number “1" no matter what page you are printing.
Click on the “Print” button.
REVISING OR AMENDING YOUR FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Every statement is reviewed after it is filed. If it appears that your statement must be revised, we will notify you in writing and give you a specified amount of time to do so online.
If you wish to add information to your statement after it has been filed, you must file a letter setting forth your complete amendment. A statement must be filed in only one format. Therefore, your statement will be removed from the electronic system, converted to paper and returned to you for signature. Upon receipt of your statement, we will attach your letter of amendment.
If you want to remove information from your statement, you must file a paper deletion request. See the instructions for filing a deletion request.