Paul L. Caron

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Joint Tax Committee Releases IRS Disclosures of Tax Return Information, 2009

The Joint Committee on Taxation yesterday released Disclosure Report for Public Inspection Pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 6103(p)(3)(C) for Calendar Year 2009 (JCX-25-10):

Section 6103(p)(3)(C) of the Internal Revenue Code provides that the Secretary of the Treasury shall, within 90 days after the close of each calendar year, furnish to the Joint Committee on Taxation for disclosure to the public a report which provides, with respect to each Federal agency and certain other entities, the number of: (1) requests for disclosure of returns and return information (as such terms are defined in section 6103(b)); (2) instances in which returns and return information were disclosed pursuant to such requests or otherwise; and (3) taxpayers whose returns, or return information with respect to whom, were disclosed pursuant to such requests.In addition, the report must describe the general purposes for which such requests were made.

Pursuant to section 6103(p)(3)(C), the Internal Revenue Service prepared a disclosure report for public inspection covering calendar year 2009. This document sets forth the report of the IRS.

The report reveals that the IRS made 7.6 billion disclosures of tax return information to federal and state agencies (up from 5.3 billion in 2008 and 4.5 billion in 2007). Here are the Top 5 recipients of taxpayer information:

  1. States: 4,846,131,877 disclosures
  2. Bureau of Census: 1,349,028,710 disclosures
  3. Congressional Committees: 1,326,054,627  disclosures
  4. Medicare Premium Subsidy Adjustment: 39,031,057 disclosures
  5. Child Support Enforcement Agencies: 16,418,936 disclosures

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It looks like the states are using the IRS as an free audit clearinghouse. I wonder how many of these requests have nothing to do with taxes but everything to do with private information and snooping? The silence in Congress over this is truly deafening.

Posted by: Albie | Apr 17, 2010 4:03:32 AM

Over a billion disclosures to congressional committees? How many congressional committees can there be and how continuously can they be requesting tax info?

Posted by: Darion | Apr 16, 2010 11:08:00 PM

And that’s just(!) your tax information.

They started collecting your medical information on March 24th — and March 31st after they “fixed” the first bill (didn’t know about that one, did you?).

Privacy? Confidentiality? Honestly, there can’t really be anyone left who believes that, can there? Remember, of course, access to information is for others, not you. Try to get information about one of your children, or wife, or mother while they’re in the hospital, or, if you’re feeling particularly self-abusive, ask for some of your own information while you’re a patient. I don’t think so.

Posted by: Granus | Apr 16, 2010 1:08:18 PM

I wonder if it is possible to get the information by state as to which states requested information and how often? Might be interesting and easier to do something to rein this in if necessary by putting pressure on the states and state agencies involved in states that are particular offenders. I wonder if it is pretty evenly distributed or if per capita some states are much more likely to request information about you and if so whether we can trace why.

Posted by: PSM | Apr 16, 2010 1:03:03 PM

This is a good way to hide the salami.

I'd guess most of these are for statistical tabulations so no privacy issues are involved.

By lumping the iffy disclosures with the statistical ones, we've supposed to be confused about just how much REAL prying is going on.

There are much more politically meaningful ways of presenting this information that could tell us more about the threats to our privacy at the hands of the government.

Just don't expect it to improve.

Posted by: Whitehall | Apr 16, 2010 12:57:25 PM

1.3 Billion disclosures to Congressional Committees? What are the chances none of them were for illegitimate purposes?

Posted by: smq | Apr 16, 2010 12:03:50 PM

Maybe they sent out a blanket spreadsheet with the whole US tax return information on it. Each time they send it out, they have to record 400m disclosures. 10 emails like that is 4 billion disclosures. Just a guess. Not sure how they do it. It is a large number, sounds like CYA number.

Posted by: Mark M | Apr 16, 2010 12:00:41 PM

That's roughly 25 disclosures for every man, woman, and child, in this country. If you group us into average family units of four, then it's roughly 100 disclosures for every taxable family unit. Sounds like somebody put Dr. Evil in charge of counting...

Please, nobody tell Obama what comes after trillion...

Posted by: Tom Armstrong | Apr 16, 2010 11:54:38 AM

Just big brother's way of keeping an extra eye on you. You need to be monitored and regulated until you're out of wiggle room. Wit til healthcare gets into swing.

Posted by: robertsgt40 | Apr 16, 2010 11:53:28 AM

That number makes no sense to me. Let's say there are 400M people in the US, and 2 business in per person in the US (800M). That gives us 1.2B - which is close to the Bureau of Census requests, but still under 1 request per business and person in the US.

How can the numbers possibly be that high? WTF are they doing?!

Posted by: Ach | Apr 16, 2010 11:49:19 AM

Do you know why the Census bureau and Congressional Committees would want tax returns? Is there any way for us peons to find out if our tax return has been disclosed to any of these bureaucrats?

Posted by: David Aitken | Apr 16, 2010 11:27:33 AM