The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers, for the first time, will be able to sell information from individual returns -- or even entire returns -- to marketers and data brokers.
The possible 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." (Seattle Times)
The kicker? The press release announcing the above change was titled "IRS Issues Proposed Regulations to Safeguard Taxpayer Information."