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Orwellian IRS - Manifestos of the Moon

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Previous Entry Orwellian IRS Mar. 22nd, 2006 @ 05:15 pm Next Entry
"IRS Issues Proposed Regulations to Safeguard Taxpayer Information" headlined the new release from the Internal Revenue Service. The new guidelines, said the IRS, follow the principle that "that tax return preparers may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without the knowing, informed and voluntary consent of the taxpayer."

But in actuality the new proposals will for the first time allow tax preparers to sell the information in tax returns to marketing & data brokering companies. Previously tax return information was considered private and sacrosanct. The new regulation proposal was published in the Federal Register last Dec 8th, under a label that said it was "not a significant regulatory action."

If the new regulation goes into effect then tax preparers, tax preparation software and websites will be required by law to offer you the opportunity to "opt out" of having your tax return data sold to others. Vigilance may be required.

IRS spokesperson William Cressman defended the rule change in obfuscating language that would have impressed Orwell. "The heart of this proposed regulation is about the right of taxpayers to control their tax return information," he explained. "The idea is to emphasize taxpayer consent and set clear boundaries on how tax return preparers can use or disclose tax return information."

You will be in charge, you see, because you will have the power to search for and uncheck the little box that allows your tax information to be marketed.

The IRS says it's too late for the public to provide comment by email, but for a short time they will still accept comments mailed to
CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-137243-02)
Room 5203
Internal Revenue Service, Box 7604
Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044
Before yesterday, the IRS had only gotten about a dozen comments on the proposed rule change. Read more about this here on the Philadelphia Daily News website.
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