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Obama: Introduces bill to nix selling of tax info

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Tax time coming...this just in from the Obama press office...

Obama Introduces Bill to Stop Tax Preparers from Selling Confidential Tax Information


WASHINGTON - Citing his belief that taxpayer information should be
treated as confidential, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today
introduced legislation that would prohibit tax preparers from selling
taxpayer information to third parties like credit card companies or
database marketers.

"Our tax returns contain personal and confidential information that no
American would ever want sold to the highest bidder," said Obama. "Every
American should be able to trust that when their taxes are prepared that
their personal information will remain confidential. Since the IRS won't
clarify its rules to keep taxpayer information private, Congress will."

The IRS has proposed new regulations that permit tax preparers to sell
private taxpayer information to third parties, including marketers and
database brokers. The IRS has claimed that these disclosures have been
legal since 1974 and that the new regulations actually limit the scope
of what third-party tax preparers are allowed to disclose. However,
Senator Obama believes that the IRS should immediately clarify its rules
to prohibit disclosures of any confidential tax information except under
very narrow circumstances such as when a request is made by law
enforcement officials.

"When you get your taxes done, you're asked to sign a vast number of
documents and could easily sign something that would inadvertently give
permission to disclose your personal information," said Senator Obama.
"This isn't a debate about disclosure, and the IRS shouldn't waste its
time defending this practice. Instead, we should make it clear to the
American people that we take their privacy seriously and immediately
make it illegal for third party tax preparers to sell our personal tax
information."

Obama's legislation, the Protecting Taxpayer Privacy Act of 2006 (S.
2484), prohibits tax preparers from disclosing tax information to third
parties, with certain narrow exceptions for law enforcement and other
legitimate uses that are already allowed under the law. The legislation
is cosponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tom Harkin (D-IA),
Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT).

Obama first voiced his concern about this practice on March 14 in a
letter to Internal Revenue Commissioner Mark Everson.

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1 Comment

"Senator Obama believes that the IRS should immediately clarify its rules...." I agree completely. It makes you think that "confidential" doesn't have the same meaning as before.

And, being the cynic that I am, this is another no-lose for Obama. As long as he avoids the cat-fights with the likes of McCain, he remains the high-potential new kid on the block.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 31, 2006 7:19 AM.

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