- Days left

IRS employees are snooping through your tax records

There's a very simple rule at the Internal Revenue Service: Employees are only supposed to look at tax records which are required to do their jobs. They're not supposed to look at anyone else's records. Not their neighbors. Not the ex-wife. Not a celebrity. Those records are off-limits.

The Treasury Inspector General has reported that in fiscal 2007, they opened 521 investigations related to employees snooping into tax records. In fiscal 2006, there were 448 investigations opened. That's a 16% increase in fiscal 2007.

The number of "adverse administrative actions" against IRS employees has gone up too, more than doubling between 2006 and 2007.

"The numbers aren't so bad," you might think. Guess again. Those are only the people who actually got caught snooping. Imagine how many other employees are snooping too. The IRS says the investigations involved fewer than 1% of employees, but as a taxpayer, that doesn't make me feel any better.

Of any agency that should be protecting our personal information it should be the IRS. I don't care if the number of employees accessing information without authorization is low. It still bothers me, particularly when identity theft is such a concern.

Forensic accountant Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations through her company, Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored Tracy as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Hubbard Award and her first book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will be on bookshelves in March 2008.

Learn about investing from the comfort of your own home.

Portfolio Basics

Take the first steps to building your portfolio.

View Course »

Investment Strategies

Learn the strategies you need to build a winning portfolio

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

5 Tax Tips for Single Parents

Filing taxes as a single parent requires coordination between you and your ex-spouse or partner. Usually the custodial parent claims the child as a dependent, but there are exceptions. A single parent is allowed to claim applicable deductions and exemptions for each qualifying child. Even though you claim your child as a dependent, she may still have to file her own tax return if she has income, such as from an after-school job.

Affordable Care Act Decoded

The health care reform law known as the Affordable Care Act may directly affect your tax liability. Many taxpayers are familiar with the requirement that most Americans either carry health insurance or pay a tax penalty. But that's just one provision, and knowing what else is in the law can help you avoid surprises come tax time.

Cost of Taking the Wrong Tax Deductions

Taking the wrong tax deductions can cost you time and money. If you're depending on a tax refund, a tax return that is improperly filed can keep you waiting for a long time. You may also get back less than you expected. If the Internal Revenue Service suspects errors or requires proof of deductions, you may be asked to provide back-up documents to prove your numbers and amend the return. "If the IRS requires further information," advises Bill Symons, president of Computer Accounting Services in Oswego, N.Y., "You'll receive an official request by mail. Normally the situation is easily rectified, but it can delay refunds by up to 10 to 11 months."

5 Steps to Navigate the Healthcare Marketplaces

To navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace, you have to know what you want from a health plan. Have your previous plan handy to make comparisons, as well as household and income information. If this is your first health plan, be aware of your needs and know your tax situation. Eligibility depends on the size of your family and combined income from all sources.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum