IRS Mistakenly Posted Data on 120,000 Taxpayers Online
The IRS inadvertently posted confidential data for approximately 120,000 taxpayers on its website before discovering the error and removing the information.
The data came from the Form 990-T, the business tax return filed by various tax-exempt organizations, including government entities and certain retirement accounts. The machine-readable (XML) Form 990-T data had been made publicly available in the bulk download section of the Tax Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) when it should not have been made public. The IRS stated that other more widely used sections of TEOS were unaffected.
The information posted did not include Social Security numbers, detailed account-holder information or individual income tax returns. However, the data did include individual names or business contact information in some cases, the IRS said.
The IRS attributed the issue to a coding error and said it immediately removed the files from IRS.gov. The agency will be working with groups that regularly use the files to remove the erroneous files and replace them with the correct versions as they become available. The IRS will also contact all affected taxpayers in the coming weeks.