Tax Preparers May Sell Customers' Information

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

March 13, 2006

When it comes to filing taxes the only people who see your personal information is the government and your tax agent. But the IRS may be changing that rule.

The government is trying to revise the tax code that would allow tax preparers to sell customers information to a third party.

Libby Edwards, the owner of Liberty Tax Service, said this rule could unlock the door to someone’s entire life. "Once it's sold to a third party, what the third party does with it is the disturbing part because then there is no liability whatsoever as far as what happens after that," said Edwards.

The public will get a chance to voice their opinions of the proposed regulation. A public hearing has been scheduled for April 4, 2006.

Some taxpayers are worried that it could lead to fraud.

"They take not only your tax information--they take your social security number and a lot of other information that would easily lead to identity theft," said Sean Diehl.

"I don't want anyone giving out personal information I don't care who it is," said Joe Eger.

In a statement, an IRS representative Gloria Wajciechowski said, "The heart of this proposed regulation is about the right of taxpayers to control their tax information. The idea is to strengthen taxpayer consent and set clear boundaries on how tax preparers can use information."

But Edwards said even if the new law is passed she will not sell her client's information. "As an owner of a business that is not something we would ever do regardless of whether or not a law was passed or not," said Edwards.

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