New report highlights security risks to taxpayer information
Washington, D.C.–A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights both new and longstanding unresolved security risks to the safety of confidential taxpayer information at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The report, requested by U.S. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Missouri), identifies dozens of security weaknesses at the agency, many of which have been known by the IRS for years, and makes recommendations aimed at safeguarding and protecting taxpayer information. The report was originally requested following the unauthorized disclosure of private, legally protected information from the IRS to ProPublica—an incident of which little has been revealed, despite it being more than two years since that leak.
“From serious breaches of confidential taxpayer data and document mismanagement to poor cybersecurity training and infrastructure vulnerabilities, the IRS has a decades-long and troubled history with adequately protecting American taxpayers’ information. Now, in addition to tax collector and enforcer, the agency wants to act as tax preparer, despite the evidence showing it is unprepared to be trusted with such responsibility,” said Crapo. “Instead of devoting time and resources to developing new federal programs that would collect and expose even more sensitive information from taxpayers, the IRS should instead focus on addressing the security weaknesses identified by the GAO and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and improving its woeful customer service.”