(JustPatriots.com)- Nearly 120,000 taxpayers in the country had their confidential information posted by the Internal Revenue Service before the agency took down the error on its website.
The Wall Street Journal reported late last week that the Treasury Department and IRS sent a letter to Congress informing them of the issue. They blamed a human coding error that happened back in 2021 for the problem.
According to the WSJ report, 2021 was the first year that Form 990-T could be filed electronically. The coding error resulted in non-public data being made available for download to any user through the IRS’ website. Only in “recent weeks” did the IRS discover this issue was made, the WSJ reported.
In a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation, the IRS said:
“Form 990-T is the business tax return used by tax-exempt entities, including tax-exempt organizations, government entities and retirement accounts, to report and pay income tax on income that is generated from certain investments or income unrelated to their exempt purpose. The IRS is required to publicly disclose this information for 501(c)(3) organizations; however, similar information was inadvertently published for a subset of non-501(c)(3)s, which are not subject to public disclosure.”
Included in the data that was leaked was names, financial and contact information for any IRA accounts that were associated with Form 990-T. While the IRS said the information didn’t include any “Social Security numbers, detailed account-holder information or individual income tax returns,” it did include the names of individuals as well as businesses as well as contact information for them.
The WSJ obtained the letter that Anna Canfield Roth, who’s serving as the acting secretary for manager at the Treasury Department, sent to Congress. It read:
“The IRS is continuing to review this situation. The Treasury Department has instructed the IRS to conduct a prompt review of its practices to ensure necessary protections are in place to prevent unauthorized data disclosures.”
This isn’t the only issue the IRS has faced in recent years. In fact, according to a TIME magazine report, the IRS has had ongoing issues with updating many of its technological assets, including the COBOL tax processing system that is almost 60 years old.
In addition, the agency has had a difficult time finding employees who are qualified for the roles they need to fill. The IRS is required by law to notify Congress if there’s ever a data breach. The agency also told the DCNF that it would be notifying those filers who were affected by the breach in the “coming weeks.”
Why it is taking the IRS so long to notify those who were affected by the breach is a question the agency didn’t answer. They didn’t say what they would do for those who were affected, beyond just notifying them that their data was made available for public download.
There was also no indication of whether there are other security failures the agency is currently dealing with.