The Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration, J. Russell George
, has chastised the Internal Revenue Service for its poor handling of incidents where taxpayer personal information was disclosed. The report found that the IRS was remiss in notifying taxpayers of the incidents, The Washington Post reports
IRS records show that in 2009 and 2010 there were 4,081 inadvertent disclosures of taxpayers’ personal information. However, the IRS did not exactly notify the taxpayers in a timely fashion. In 20 percent of the cases, notification was mailed 86 days after the fact. The inspector general believes notification should be made in 45 days.
In 5 percent of the cases looked at by auditors, the IRS could not notify the taxpayers because of poor documentation and in 10 percent of the cases no notification was given because the information exposed did not fit the definition of sensitive personal information. In another 21 percent, the victims were not told of the breach because those who got the information, such as state officials and law firms, were not deemed a threat, the Post reported.
“It is troubling that, although the IRS has many processes and regulations that protect taxpayer information, there are times when [the information] is inadvertently disclosed,” George said in a statement, according to the Post.
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