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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

IRS Sells Confidential Information of 850,000 Tax Preparers for $35

IRS LogoThe IRS yesterday issued IR-2012-79:

The IRS today reminded the nation’s 730,000 federal tax return preparers that they must renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) for 2013. Also, preparers who have a competency test requirement should take the time now to schedule an appointment for the exam.

Anyone who is a paid federal tax return preparer must register with the IRS and have a PTIN, as must all Enrolled Agents. Additionally, some return preparers have new continuing education and competency test requirements.

Also yesterday, Atlanta CPA Jay Starkment sent this letter objecting to the IRS's sale of confidential information:  

I have just submitted my 2013 Form W12 (Rev. September 2012) application to renew my PTIN (on paper, of course).

The instructions contain a misleading and erroneous Privacy Act Notice which reads: Generally, the information you provide on this form is confidential pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974 and tax returns and return information are confidential pursuant to Code section 6103.

Meanwhile, the IRS website on August 4, 2012, began selling Form W12 information – apparently all 850,000 PTIN holders – including email addresses, phone numbers, professional credentials, and websites on a CD for just $35. IRS even offers an option for ordering a “customized listing” at additional cost. ...

I get enough spam and robocalls without having IRS contribute to such disturbances. I will urge my fellow tax preparers that the only way to omit their email address and phone number is to apply on paper.

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Comments

I get at least an email a day because of my PTIN registration. It's the only spam I get at work.

Posted by: BXO | Oct 23, 2012 1:29:16 PM

Well that may explain the explosion of spam I have gotten over the last few months.

Posted by: Michael | Oct 23, 2012 2:16:31 PM

I appreciate this heads up. The nerve of the government requiring all tax preparers to register and pay a fee each year, which is insulting enough, and then selling their required confidential information to marketing companies for almost half of what it charges just one preparer. Why not do that for everyone who gets food stamps? At least that would help cover the costs for that program. What's Tim Geithner's email address? I may have all of my junk emails forwarded to him.

Posted by: Woody | Oct 23, 2012 4:06:49 PM

The only spam I get in my main email account is from the government selling my PTIN registration.

Posted by: Ross H | Oct 23, 2012 6:17:15 PM

Your Republican IRS Commissioner at Work....oh I forgot he is just a figure head who doesn't know or see anything....When will we get a real person who knows and understands tax as a Commissioner....never.....a political appointment...whether it is Red or Blue....Woody speak up ....tell those Reds to stop punishing you.

Posted by: Sid | Oct 23, 2012 9:38:24 PM

Now I understand the flood of emails..............

Posted by: save_the_rustbelt | Oct 24, 2012 10:07:21 AM

Today received 2 minute long voice mail (cell phone never even rang even though it indicated a missed call) from some company in Florida 407-490-3638 in regard to the IRS continuing education requirement for Paid Tax Preparers.
The IRS made our information public and now we receive regular junk mailings (email and snail mail) for courses, books, forms and catalogs and now phone calls???
We're no longer preparing taxes but we can't get off the list that should never have been publicized in the first place.

Posted by: No longer preparing taxes | Dec 12, 2012 4:16:20 PM