Greg Cohoon (drmellow) wrote,
Greg Cohoon
drmellow

IRS PlansTo Allow Preparers To Sell Data

Hat tip to sidelobe for pointing out a story from the Philadelphia Inquirer linked from Americans For Fair Taxation:
IRS plans to allow preparers to sell data

The IRS is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers will be able to sell information from individual returns - or even entire returns - to marketers and data brokers.

The change is raising alarm among consumer and privacy-rights advocates. It was included in a set of proposed rules that the Treasury Department and the IRS published in the Dec. 8 Federal Register, where the official notice labeled them "not a significant regulatory action."...

Criticism also came from U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.). In a letter last Tuesday to IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, Obama warned that once in the hands of third parties, tax information could be resold and handled under even looser rules than the IRS sets, increasing consumers' vulnerability to identity theft and other risks.

"There is no more sensitive information than a taxpayer's return, and the IRS's proposal to allow these returns to be sold to third-party marketers and database brokers is deeply troubling," Obama wrote.

Read the complete article....
The increased loss of privacy that is built-in with the current income tax system is just one more reason we need serious tax reform. A usage-based tax system like the Fair Tax would make such invasions of privacy impossible. I wasn't planning on saying anything about the Fair Tax until next month, when tax day rolled around, but after reading this article, I had to share.

This was not how I wanted to start my day today.

Want to do something about this? Write the IRS:
Although the formal comment period ended March 8, Cressman said late comments "may receive consideration if they are sent to the IRS promptly." Consumer advocates are urging taxpayers who oppose the changes to contact the agency and Washington lawmakers.

Where to Write

It's too late to comment electronically, but the IRS may still consider written comments. Mail them to:

CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-137243-02)
Room 5203
Internal Revenue Service, Box 7604
Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044.
It probably would be a good idea to get in touch with your legislative representatives, too.
Tags: taxes
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