New rule allows tax-return preparers to sell tax-return information

WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Reform opposed today a change in tax return regulations that seriously threatens the privacy rights of taxpayers. The new rule proposed by the Internal Revenue Service would allow accountants and other tax-return preparers to sell information from individual returns to marketers and data brokers, making it widely accessible.

“This sly move by the Treasury Department and the IRS is simply another way to raise revenue for the government,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “If tax return information is not better protected taxpayers will undoubtedly suffer the consequences.”

The Treasury Department and the IRS announced the change in the Dec. 8 publication of the Federal Register. Although the announcement said tax-return preparers may not disclose tax return information without the voluntary consent of the taxpayer, the change still posses a dangerous threat to tax return privacy since many taxpayers trust their tax preparers enough to sign what ever is put in front of them. Norquist said the proposed rule not only violates the privacy rights of taxpayers but it also provides for a monopoly that the private sector cannot compete with.

“Marketers and brokers will pay big money for tax return information,” Norquist said. “It’s very troubling that this rule would give the IRS the ability to empower tax preparers to sell this sensitive information and make money off it. This new change must not be allowed to be implemented.”