Sunday, March 26, 2006
Interesting article in the Weekend Wall Street Journal: IRS Claims Rule Changes Tighten Data Disclosure, by Robert Guy Matthews:
The IRS, responding to critics accusing the agency of loosening rules to let tax preparers disclose and sell taxpayer information, said proposed changes would actually tighten a 1974 law that has always allowed such disclosure. "There has been a mischaracterization," IRS Commissioner Mark Everson said Friday. "Clearly, our intention here is to tighten standards and not loosen. Our concerns in this came out of the fact that people were unaware that their returns were being prepared overseas."
Amid rising complaints about tax preparation being outsourced overseas, the IRS proposed revising its rules to make it clearer to consumers how tax preparers use their information. Taxpayer disclosure and use rules, a complicated tangle of regulations on how tax preparers can use private information, have allowed limited cross-marketing, such as providing taxpayer information to affiliated mortgage companies, financial-services firms and others. But taxpayers must give their consent. That requirement often is buried in small print and goes unnoticed.