WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman David Schweikert (AZ-01) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) sent a letter to Acting Commissioner of the IRS Douglas O’Donnell demanding the agency release documents related to the improper disclosure of private taxpayer information leaked by the government. The IRS improperly published confidential taxpayer information twice just months apart in 2022, jeopardizing the private information of over 100,000 taxpayers.
“The fact that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) improperly published confidential taxpayer information once is bad enough,” the lawmakers wrote. “The fact that the agency put months into resolving the issue only to republish the exact same confidential taxpayer information again raises alarms about whether the agency is capable of upholding the fundamental principles – both legal and ethical – that are supposed to be part of the agency’s core mission. The Committee on Ways and Means needs to gather documents and information to understand how this happened multiple times, and what the agency – and potentially Congress – needs to do to make sure it does not happen again.”
Following its discovery of the first improper disclosure of confidential tax information that occurred in August 2022, the IRS issued a report to Congress revealing the length and nature of the improper disclosure as well as the preventative actions the agency would take to address the failure, which Schweikert and Smith summarized in their letter:
- “The improperly disclosed data was publicly available online for approximately eight months before the agency detected the error.
- A summary of what was disclosed, the types of taxpayers impacted, the type of information disclosed, and provided a series of “preventative measures” the IRS would take to address the root cause of the August Disclosures.
- The information disclosed included names, phone numbers, business addresses, compensation attributable to unrelated businesses, preparer tax identification numbers, and limited financial information.”
To read the full letter, click here.
- On September 2, 2022, the Treasury Department notified Congress of an inadvertent disclosure of confidential taxpayer information which the agency discovered on August 8, 2022.
- IRS’s discovery of the data disclosure came approximately eight months after the information was posted online.
- On November 23, 2022, the IRS republished the confidential data of about 112,000 taxpayers – which remained online until early December 2022.
- Among the information posted were names, phone numbers, business addresses, and compensation attributable to unrelated businesses.