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Friday, March 24

IRS and Mass Marketing, working together against YOU

Betcha you didn't hear about THIS little change to the tax code:

The IRS is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers will be able to sell information from individual returns - or even entire returns - to marketers and data brokers.The change is raising alarm among consumer and privacy-rights advocates. It was included in a set of proposed rules that the Treasury Department and the IRS published in the Dec. 8 Federal Register, where the official notice labeled them "not a significant regulatory action."

IRS officials portray the changes as housecleaning to update outmoded regulations adopted before it began accepting returns electronically. The proposed rules, which would become effective 30 days after a final version is published, would require a tax preparer to obtain written consent before selling tax information.Critics call the changes a dangerous breach in personal and financial privacy. They say the requirement for signed consent would prove meaningless for many taxpayers, especially those hurriedly reviewing stacks of documents before a filing deadline.

"The normal interaction is that the taxpayer just signs what the tax preparer puts in front of them," said Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America, one of several groups fighting the changes. "They think, 'This person is a tax professional, and I'm going to rely on them.' "Criticism also came from U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.). In a letter last Tuesday to IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, Obama warned that once in the hands of third parties, tax information could be resold and handled under even looser rules than the IRS sets, increasing consumers' vulnerability to identity theft and other risks.

"There is no more sensitive information than a taxpayer's return, and the IRS's proposal to allow these returns to be sold to third-party marketers and database brokers is deeply troubling," Obama wrote.

Soooooo anyone want to bet where this is leading? And I just love how the administration and every other idiot loves to blame 'electronic' (ie, internet) for all these changes. MOST of us can easily set up an httpS site with just a bit of coding, but for some reason that seems to be too much trouble for the IRS. And trusting H&R Blok or god knows who to NOT sell my information to a third party? Yeh, sure, these asses would sell out their grandma's for a nickle.

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