Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Your tax-return data? Well, we could retain privacy protections, or we could let your tax preparer make a nice profit on your personal financial information. Guess which choice the Bushies prefer?

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 ... 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."

...The proposed rules ... would require a tax preparer to obtain written consent before selling tax information.

Critics ... say the requirement for signed consent would prove meaningless for many taxpayers, especially those hurriedly reviewing stacks of documents before a filing deadline.

"The normal interaction is that the taxpayer just signs what the tax preparer puts in front of them," said Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America, one of several groups fighting the changes. "They think, 'This person is a tax professional, and I'm going to rely on them.'"

But wait -- where's the Orwellian language the Bushies like to use when doing things like this?

The IRS first announced the proposal in a news release the day before the official notice was published, headlined: "IRS Issues Proposed Regulations to Safeguard Taxpayer Information."

Ah, there it is!


(UPDATE: Garbled syntax corrected.)

No comments: