Q. Who can file electronically?
A. Most Unified Court System employees who are required to file annual statements of financial disclosure may use electronic filing. You must have a computer with an Internet Explorer browser and access to Courtnet or the Internet. In February, all employees required to file are sent letters with their Account Names and Passwords. The Account Name is the filer’s UCS Retirement Number; new Passwords are generated by the computer each filing year.
If you have filed in prior years but changed your address, or if you think you have to file, and did not receive the letters, call, write, or email the Commission office. Our telephone number is: (212) 428-2899; our address is: Ethics Commission,
25 Beaver Street Room 875,
New York, NY, 10004; our email address is: EthicsComm@courts.state.ny.us.
Q. Why can't I file electronically?
A. You can not file electronically if you are not an employee
of the Unified Court System. Judicial candidates who are not
so employed can not file online.
You can not use electronic filing if :
a) your filing date is after December 15th. This is necessary for administrative purposes. Access to all electronically filed statements is closed on December 15th. The statements will be made available when the letters containing Account Names and Passwords are mailed out in February.
b) 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
c) you are submitting third party financial statements with your financial disclosure statement.
In a very few cases, technical, network or security problems may make it impossible for a particular computer setup to use the program. If that happens to you, try another computer or contact your IT Help Desk.
Q. What is the advantage of filing electronically?
A. Online filing make it easy for you to complete and file your statement, without having to post it in the mail. The system verifies that your statement is complete before your filing is accepted. This could save you the time and possible mailing costs of having to revise your statement after it is filed. If you filed electronically last year, you can copy your answers from that statement into your current year statement.
Q. Can I file from from the office? From home?
A. Yes. You may work on the form and revise your answers over
as many sessions as you wish and from wherever you can use
Courtnet or the Internet.
You should file from the office only if your office policy allows
you to. As a security measure, your data is not saved on the
computer you use. When you stop work and save the form using
the "Save and Exit" button, your data is encrypted
and transmitted to our secure server where it remains encrypted
until you log in again and download your form and data.
Q. How secure is Internet filing?
A. 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.
Q. Do I have to complete my statement all at once?
Can't I do part today and part tomorrow?
A. You can work on your statement over several sessions. After your initial session, you may log in again as often as you like. You must use the Password that you have chosen, as the one we sent you will no longer work. Your work is saved each time you move from page to page and every time you click on “Save and Exit”. If you do not take either of these actions for thirty minutes, you will be automatically logged out of the system, and the information you entered since you last took such action will not be saved.
The electronic system is closed for maintenance on December 15th. It opens again when the new passwords are mailed out in February.
Q. Can I access information in a previously filed statement and copy it into my current statement?
A. You can copy information from your prior year's statement into your current statement if you filed electronically last year, and your statement was not removed from the system. You can copy the response to any question, beginning with question 4a, including "None" responses. You can not copy responses to any questions on the first page of your statement.
You must copy the entire response from the prior statement, but you can edit the response in your current statement. Before you file your current statement, you must affirm that each response that you copied from the prior year is accurate for the current reporting year. If you do not do so, your current statement will not be accepted for filing.
If you are required to file this year, you can view all your previously filed electronics statements online. If you are no longer required to file, you can not do so. You must contact our office if you want a copy of a previously filed statement.
Q. I don't have my Account Name or Password. Where do I get them?
A If you have not yet logged in to the electronic filing system,
and you lose the letter with your Account Name or Password, notify the Commission
and we will mail you a copy of the letter.
If you have logged in and created your own Password, but
you have forgotten it, notify the Commission.. We will mail you a new Password and you must complete the login process again. You will be able to retrieve your statement, containing all the information you have entered.
To notify the Commission that you have lost or forgotten
your Account Name or Password: write to the
Ethics Commission office at 25 Beaver Street, Room 875, New
York, NY 10004; telephone the Commission at 212 428-2899;
or email the Commission at EthicsComm@courts.state.ny.us.
For security reasons,
we will not give out Account Names or Passwords over the telephone or via
Q. How do I print a copy of my form?
A.If you have a printer attached to your computer, you can print any one page of your statement, before it is filed.
You can print out a copy of your entire financial disclosure statement at any time by emailing a "PDF" copy of the statement to yourself. To do so, before you have filed your statement, click on the following message: "To get an emailed statement in PDF format, click here". To do so, after you have filed your statement, click on the following message: "Click here for PDF of this filing". These messages can be found on the bottom of the last page of the statement, and on the right side of the Validation Report.
See the "Help Guide and Instructions" for detailed instructions for printing a copy of your statement.
Q. How do I know my statement has been filed?
A. When you are ready to file your statement, go to the bottom of the last page, on the left. Click on the box that reads, "Click here to file your statement...." Clicking on this box is the equivalent of signing your statement. When you click on the box, a Validation Report is generated. The Validation Report will indicate whether your statement has been filed, or rejected.
If you failed to answer a question,
or if you did not complete all required fields in a question,
the Validation Report will so indicate and your statement will be rejected. Print out a copy of the Report and go back to your statement by clicking on the button under the paragraph beginning with the words, "If your statement contains errors..." Once you have completed all the questions, you must return to the last page of your statement and once again click on the "Click here to file your statement...." box.
If your statement is complete, it is filed. If your filing has been accepted, the Validation Report will so indicate. We recommend that you print a copy of the Report for your records. At this point you can either leave the system by clicking on the “Log Out” button at the bottom of the Report, or you can go to a printable copy of your statement by clicking on the “Print or Correct” button at the bottom of the Report. You can then log out of the system by clicking on the “Log Out” button on the top of the first page of your statement. Do not close the screen without logging out.
When your filing has been accepted, the following language will appear on the top right corner of the first page of your statement, "This statement has passed validation and has been filed."
Q. How can I revise or amend my statement after it has been filed?
A. 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 is 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.
Q. Can I submit brokerage or other third party statements as attachments to my statement if I file electronically?
A. No. If you must use attachments, you must file a paper statement.
Q. Where can I get help for this program?
A. If you have any questions regarding electronic filing after you have read through all of these frequently asked questions and the Help Guide with Step by Step Instructions, contact us
by mail at:
25 Beaver Street Room 875
New York, NY, 10004;
or by email at: EthicsComm@courts.state.ny.us;
or by telephone at 212-428-2899.
Please note however that the Ethics Commission staff are not computer technicians and cannot help you with problems with your software, your CourtNet or Internet connection.