News Releases

Senator Murray Questions IRS over Privacy Regulations

Mar 22 2006

In letter to IRS Commissioner, Senator raises concerns, urges caution

(SEATTLE) – Following press accounts that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is considering altering privacy protections that would allow tax preparers greater freedom to sell taxpayers’ personal financial information, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today wrote to IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson expressing concern over the agency’s proposals. Murray, the top ranking Democrat on the committee which oversees the IRS (the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development and Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittee), warned Everson to be prepared to answer questions about the proposal at a hearing before her Committee in April.

Murray wrote:

“Mr. Commissioner, what possible public purpose is served by expanding the opportunities for tax preparers and their affiliates to use personal financial data to sell mortgages, mutual funds, IRA accounts and life insurance? Don’t taxpayers already have innumerable opportunities to shop for such services without subjecting their tax returns to perusal by marketers? Who specifically asked you or your staff for this regulatory change and when did they ask for it? And, most importantly, how is this change consistent with the purpose of Section 7216 of the code? I hope and expect that you will be prepared to answer these and related questions in detail during our subcommittee’s hearing on April 27th. In the meantime, I implore you to revise these regulations with a mind toward protecting the privacy interests of taxpayers, not just those that want to use taxpayers’ financial data for marketing purposes.”

Read the full text of Murray’s letter to Commissioner Everson.