Navigators Warned: Don't Leave Tax Returns on the Fax Machine


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, September 30th, 2013, 8:33 PM PERMALINK


As Obamacare enrollment begins, the Department of Health and Human Services has a helpful tip for the program's so-called Navigators: “Do not leave documents that contain PII [Personally Identifiable Information] or tax return information on printers and fax machines.”

The warning is contained in Section 2.4.3 of the 207-page Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Standard Operating Procedures Manual.

The same section asks navigators to “double-check” the fax number before faxing Obamacare enrollee’s tax returns:

“When faxing PII or tax return information, double-check that the recipient’s fax number is correct and that someone is able to pick up the faxed information immediately.”

Because the key components of Obamacare will be enforced by the IRS, navigators will have access to highly sensitive identifying information. The Navigator manual describes Personally Identifiable Information as follows:

  • Identifying information such as consumers’ names, addresses, or SSNs
     
  • Information about consumers’ incomes, personal finances, debts, deductions and exemptions
     
  • Any action taken by the IRS against consumers, such as investigations or penalties
     
  • Any private written agreements (such as a pricing agreement) with the IRS and any background information about these agreements
     
  • Relevant information, even if not found on the return (e.g., expenses)


Additional excerpts from the Navigator Manual:

  • No fake smiles: "Do not pretend to smile, or produce a false smile; these are easy to spot and send the wrong messages." – Section 2.2.1
     
  • Listen: “By not listening you can become very frustrating to consumers.” – Section 2.2.3
     
  • Apologize: “Apologizing when things go wrong demonstrates that you care about consumers and their experiences.” – Section 2.2.4
     
  • "Be Memorable - For the Right Reasons." – Section 2.2.6


The Navigator manual can be found here.

A list of Obamacare taxes, arranged by effective date, can be found here.

Click here for a printable PDF of this press release.

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