Right-to-Know Law Policy
Reminder: Pennsylvania tax records are confidential and may be released only to the taxpayer or pursuant to a release signed by the taxpayer.
Read more about the process for requesting tax records here.
Pursuant to Section 504 of the Right-to-Know Law, 65 P.S. §67.101 et seq. (RTKL), the Department of Revenue sets forth the following policies and procedures pertaining to requests made pursuant to the RTKL. These policies and procedures also comply with the policies set forth in
Management Directive 205.36, Right To Know Law.
Those requesting information under the RTKL should know the department makes many documents public to facilitate access to documents of public interest and reduce the need for RTKL requests.
- If you have general tax questions or questions about a notice you received from the department, please use the department's
Online Customer Service Center to submit your questions. You can correspond with a representative from the department through a secure process that is similar to sending an email.
- Information regarding the Pennsylvania Lottery, lottery games and information for retailers is available at the
Pennsylvania Lottery's website.
- Historical records of the department are held by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Visit the
Commission's website for further information.
- Some state government data is publicly available through
Open Data Pennsylvania.
- Commonwealth procurement information is available at the
PA eMarketplace website.
- Commonwealth contracts are available through the
Pennsylvania Treasury website.
- Commonwealth employee salaries and other state government data is available on the
- The department recommends submitting RTKL requests electronically using the following email address:
- If you submit your request electronically through this email address, you will receive all correspondence from the department via email.
- The department recommends each requestor provide at least two (2) methods by which to contact a requestor, including a current email address(es), phone number(s) and/or physical address(es).
- Under the RTKL, the department has five (5) business days to respond to a RTKL request after it is received by the department. If the department is unable to complete a RTKL request within five (5) business days, the department will respond to your request advising the request is under review, the reason for the review, and the period of time in which the requestor should expect to receive a response.
- If the department requires more than an additional 30 days to respond to the RTKL request, the department will contact the requestor to discuss the possibility of a further extension.
- Please be advised a response letter regarding the status of a request may be issued separately from any documents responsive to the request.
- A written request to the department under the RTKL must:
- Be addressed to the Agency Open Records Officer (“AORO”) at:
Agency Open-Records Officer
Pennsylvania Department of Revenue
1131 Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17128-1100
Fax (717) 783-4355
- Identify a name and address to which the department should address its response.
- State that the request is being made pursuant to the RTKL.
- All requests must be sufficiently specific to enable the department to ascertain which records are being requested. While verbal requests may be fulfilled by the department, the requester cannot pursue the relief and remedies provided under the RTKL unless the request is submitted in writing.
- RTKL requests may be submitted on the form available at the website of the
Office of Open Records.
- The regular business hours of the department’s RTKL Office are 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday. Any RTKL request received by the department after the close of regular business hours shall be deemed to have been received by that office on the following business day.
- RTKL requests received by the department will be considered “public record” information by the department and such requests may be made available for public access through its website.
The AORO may respond to RTKL requests by providing a requester with access to inspect a record electronically or as otherwise maintained by the department, either: 1) by providing access in the offices of the department, 2) by sending a copy to the requester or 3) by notifying the requester that the record is available through publicly accessible electronic means. Each of these options is a "response" for purposes of the RTKL, as is the department’s written notice to the requester granting, denying or partially granting and partially denying access to a record. The department may send written responses to requesters by United States mail, by hand (in person or by delivery service), by facsimile, or by e-mail.
Unless additional time is needed and communicated to the requester by an interim response (as discussed in paragraph A below), the RTKL requires that the department respond to an RTKL request within five-business days. For purposes of determining the end of the five-business day period, the day that a RTKL request is received is not counted. The first day of the five-business day period is the department's next business day.
- Interim Responses
The department must provide a final response to a RTKL request within 5 business days unless one or more specific conditions are satisfied and the AORO gives the requester written notice that additional time will be required. That notice is referred to as an "interim response."
The AORO may send an interim response if any of the following apply:
- The RTKL request requires redaction of a public record;
- The RTKL request requires retrieval of a record from a remote location;
- A response within the five-business day period cannot be accomplished due to bona fide staffing limitations, which limitations must be specified in the interim response;
- A legal review is necessary to determine whether the record requested is subject to access under the RTKL;
- The requester has not complied with the department’s policies regarding access to public records;
- The requester has not complied with a demand for prepayment of fees, which are required to fulfill the RTKL request and which are estimated to exceed $25; further, the time period for response shall be tolled from the time the demand for payment is made until such time as payment is actually received; or
- The extent or nature of the request precludes a response within the required time period.
An interim response must: 1) be sent to the requester on or before the last day of the five-business day period; 2) state that the request is being reviewed and the reason for the review; 3) give an estimate of any applicable fees owed when the record becomes available; and 4) state a reasonable date that a response is expected to be provided. This date must not be more than 30 calendar days from the end of the five-business day period. If the date of an expected response is in excess of 30 days following the five days allowed for in Section 901 of the RTKL, the request will be deemed denied unless the requester has agreed in writing to the date specified in the notice.
- Final Responses
There are three possible final responses. Either the request is: 1) granted; 2) denied; or 3) granted in part and denied in part. The department’s failure to timely respond is deemed to be a denial.
If a written request is denied in whole or in part, the department will issue a final written response that will include an explanation of the procedure for the requester to appeal, if the requester chooses to do so. The written denial will also set forth the specific reasons for the denial, including a citation of supporting legal authority. If the denial is the result of a determination that the record requested is exempt from disclosure, the specific reasons for the department’s determination shall be included.
The department will not deny access to a record based upon the fact that portions of the record are not public records and, as a result, not subject to disclosure. The department will redact the portions that are not public records and produce the portions that are public records.
The department may provide a requester with access to inspect a record electronically or as otherwise maintained by the department, either: 1) by providing access in the offices of the department, 2) by sending a copy to the requester or 3) by notifying the requester that the record is available through publicly accessible electronic means.
The department has the discretion to determine the building(s) and room(s) that will be used to provide a requester with access to the department’s public records. The selection of buildings and rooms for access to the department’s public records is a matter within the discretion of the AORO.
The department will provide a public record to a requester in the medium requested if the record exists in that medium. Otherwise, the public record must be provided in the medium in which it exists. If a public record only exists in one medium, the department is not required to convert that public record to another medium, except if the public record is only available in an electronic form, the department must print it out on paper if the requester so requests.
The department is not required to create a public record that does not already exist, nor is it required to compile, maintain, format, or organize a public record in a manner in which the department does not currently do.
- Duplication of Public Records
The department may either make copies or, in its discretion, allow the requester to bring the necessary equipment to make its own copies. The department may make its duplication equipment available to a requester but require that the requester operate the equipment; assign department staff to make the duplications; or contract for duplication services and require the requester to pay the applicable rate.
When a request is denied or deemed denied, whether in whole or in part, the requester may file an appeal with the Office of Open Records, where it will be assigned to an appeals officer. This appeal must be filed within 15 business days of the denial or deemed denial. The appeal must state the grounds upon which the requester asserts that the record is public and should address any grounds stated by the department for delaying or denying the request. The appeal shall be sent to:
The Commonwealth Office of Open Records
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North Street, Plaza Level
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225
A person other than the department or the requester, with a direct interest in the record that is subject to an appeal, has 15 days following actual knowledge of the appeal, but no later than the date the appeals officer issues an order, to file a written request to provide information or to appear before the appeals officer in support of the requester’s or the department’s position in the appeal. The appeals officer may, but need not, grant the request.
For further information on appeals, the requester should review the website of the Office of Open Records.
Applicable fees to be charged by the department under the RTKL are as follows:
The department will charge $.25 per page for duplication and currently does not have a fee for enhanced electronic access.
- Specialized Fees
- The department will produce the first ten copies free of charge, then $0.25 per page for additional copies. If duplication involves more than 100 pages, payment is required before the requested documents are sent. If a requestor makes more than one request and did not pay for the previous order, charges are combined for all orders and payment of the total fees are due. When a requestor accrues $25.00 in fees, payment will be due before future documents are sent.
- The department will charge the actual cost for postage, facsimile/microfiche or other media, as well as for specialized documents.
- Special rules apply to fees for transcripts of administrative proceedings:
- Prior to an adjudication becoming “final, binding and non-appealable,” transcripts may be requested through the department, however the stenographer or court reporter is permitted to charge the regular fee for this service.
- Following an adjudication becoming “final, binding and non-appealable,” a request for the transcript shall be treated like any other request for a record and the usual duplication fee of $.25 per page will be charged.
- Reasonable and Necessarily Incurred Costs
As expressly provided by the RTKL, 65 P.S. §67.1307(g), the department has the authority to charge requesters reasonable fees for necessarily incurred costs. The department will determine and charge such fees on a case-by-case basis.
No charge shall be made for department or legal review of the record to see whether the requested records are public records that are subject to production.
If the estimated fees that are required to fulfill the RTKL request exceed $100, it will be necessary for the requester to pay the estimated amount in advance, either by certified check or by ordinary check which must first have cleared, to be considered received by the department. The demand for prepayment may specify a reasonable period of time in which the requester must make such prepayment. If the requester fails to make prepayment within the specified time, the department is not is not required to produce the records requested.
All applicable fees must be paid in order to receive access to the record requested. 65 P.S. §67.901. Any requester who has unpaid amounts outstanding to the department, in relation to RTKL request where production was made by the department, will not be granted access to records under other RTKL requests until such prior amounts due have been paid in full.
When an estimated fee was not required to be paid because the estimate was $100 or less, but actual fees are over $100, or where the fee is under $100, the department has the discretion to produce the records and invoice for the amount due or to require payment prior to production.