To some, this may sound too harsh. For others, it’s no surprise at all. As for me, I just wish it wasn’t so. Whichever angle you view it from, however, I think the conclusion is inescapable: the IRS cannot be trusted to not mishandle the information they collect from taxpayers.
Why do I say that? Because it has now been documented that IRS employees used personal (non-government) email accounts to send confidential taxpayer information. This is, as I understand it, a direct violation of federal law, as well as IRS policy.
Why is that a big deal? Emails sent through government accounts are automatically archived (as has been finally borne out in the case of IRS employee Lois Lerner, despite initial denials). This makes it possible to track and reconstruct the handling of taxpayer information. Sending such information through non-government emails avoids those internal controls.
And that’s exactly the point. Why would IRS employees send taxpayer information in private emails, if not to evade detection of what they were doing?
The source of this information is a letter (PDF) from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to the Principal Deputy Commissioner of the IRS dated September 30, 2013.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.