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47 AGs Submit Letter to IRS On Sharing Personal Info on Tax Returns

Follow-up to April 4, 2006 posting, IRS Hearing on Privacy Standards and Sale of Taxpayer Data, this related April 3 press release: “Forty-seven Attorneys General submitted a letter (9 pages, PDF) to the Internal Revenue Service objecting to proposed IRS rules that would make it easier for businesses to share and use personal information included on tax returns. The Attorneys General said “the best, most prudent course” the IRS could take to protect individuals’ privacy would be to ban tax preparers from sharing their customers’ information for any purpose unrelated to the preparation of tax returns. If the IRS does not prohibit tax preparers from sharing customers’ return information for marketing purposes, the Attorneys General recommended specific measures to significantly reduce the practice and strengthen privacy protections. The letter recommends that the IRS make the form and manner of the consent more protective of consumers by ensuring that consent is knowing and voluntary. The letter also recommends that the IRS prohibit making any service conditional on taxpayers’ agreeing to share their return information; prohibit tax preparers from using or disclosing any tax return information not necessary to obtain the service or product sought by the taxpayer; and prohibit the use of raffles, lotteries, and other games as a means of inducing taxpayers to share their return information.”

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