A CITIZEN'S GUIDE ON USING THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
AND THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974 TO REQUEST GOVERNMENT RECORDS
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F. 3. Exemption 3.--Information Exempt Under Other Laws
The third exemption incorporates into the FOIA other laws that restrict the availability of information. To qualify under this exemption, a statute must require that matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion to the agency. Alternatively, the statute must establish particular criteria for withholding or refer to particular types of matters to be withheld.
One example of a qualifying statute is the provision of the Tax Code prohibiting the public disclosure of tax returns and tax return information.\26\ Another qualifying exemption 3 statute is the law designating identifiable census data as confidential.\27\ Whether a particular statute qualifies under exemption 3 can be a difficult legal question.
\26\ 26 U.S.C. Sec. 6103 (1988).
\27\ 13 U.S.C. Sec. 9 (1988).