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IRS Accidentally Exposes Approximately 120,000 Individual Information on Their Website

The hits just keep coming for the IRS. This time in the form of accidentally revealing sensitive taxpayer information from Form 990-T, which is for the business tax returns filed by tax-exempt organizations. According to the agency, it was due to a coding error that caused this information to go public.  The agency then went on to explain they are taking immediate steps to address the issue, discovered by the IRS on August 26th.

The Agency’s Response

“The IRS recently discovered that some machine-readable (XML) Form 990-T data made available for the bulk download section on the Tax Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) should not have been made public,” the IRS said in a statement Friday. “This section is primarily used by those with the ability to use machine-readable data; other more widely used sections of TEOS are unaffected.” They also stated they will be working with groups that routinely use these files to remove them from the site and replace them with the files they had originally intended on putting there as they become available. They will also be contacting all individuals that were affected by this mistake in the weeks to come.

What Information Was Released?

Luckily, the data that did become available wasn’t any social security numbers, detailed account-holder information, or individual income tax returns such as the Form 1040 series. However, some instances did include individual names or business contact information, said the IRS as they continue their review of the situation. Other information included mainly that of IRA’s, like names, contact information, and financial information about income within the IRA accounts. More specifically from investments in master limited partnerships, real estate, or other assets that generate income.

Wrap Up

On the bright side, no super sensitive information like social security numbers were released, however, it is not a great look for the agency to accidentally release this information. Individuals should assume their information will be kept private by the IRS, however it, unfortunately, was not this go around. Fortunately, the IRS seems like they are on top of the situation and have the rectification of the situation under control.

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