The Internal Revenue Service has accidentally published on its website confidential information about 120,000 taxpayers. The data shared came from Form 990-T. These are business tax return documents used for tax exemptions and could relate to investments income and even retirement accounts.
On their website, the IRS published not only the names but also contact information and financial data of many individuals. The Social Security numbers were not posted for any individual. The data posted was only partially complete and no detailed financial account data was posted online.
According to a statement issued by the agency, the IRS would try to resolve this issue immediately. All of the information has now been removed from their websites, and data will be replaced by more updated versions. They would also be contacting all the individuals who might be affected by the publication of their details.
Generally, Form 990-T is meant to be confidential in most cases unless the data relates to charities without any related business income. In those cases, the information can be made public.
The letter sent by the IRS to Congress by Anna Cothfield Roth, the acting assistant secretary for management at the Treasury Department, noted the mistake and assured her that all steps to resolve this problem were being taken.
According to federal law, the IRS has seven days to inform lawmakers of any “major incident”
Recently President Biden signed a comprehensive health care and climate change package which will provide the IRS with $80 billion in funding. This is an attempt to modernize the agency and its procedures.
Democrats have also said that this funding would be used to understand the wealthy tax cheats.