The personal information of 120,000 taxpayers was accidentally exposed by the Internal Revenue Service due to a glitch in the system. The organization acknowledged the data leak that included information from Form 990-T that was a part of the tax returns and is used to report the business income of US citizens.
IRS data leak explained
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for collecting taxes and managing the Internal Revenue Code in the USA. It is a revenue service for the United States federal government and provides its service for federal statutory tax law.
On September 2, 2022, IRS shared a post on its official website that read, “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.”
In addition to the data exposed by the glitch, the taxpayers’ Individual Retirement Account (IRA) was also revealed, which was not meant for the public. IRS released the incident report on Friday and mentioned that this data was supposed to be used by those who could use machine-readable data, i.e., the original recipient of the data. However, the data leak has compromised the personal information of 120,000 taxpayers.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the data leak, which occurred due to a human coding error when the 990-T began being electronically filed, consists of taxpayers’ private information, including their full names, contact details, reported information for the IRAs filed for that year and detailed knowledge of the account holders.
The IRS reported taking “immediate steps” to address the issue and removed the exposed data from IRS.gov. It has also assured that it will work with individuals and groups who work with these files and help them to replace the erroneous ones with the correct versions. In the post, the IRS also assured taxpayers that it would reach out to all the impacted filers, help them understand the situation, and possibly provide aid if anything happens due to the leaked data.