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Tax Information On The Web In Italy

Posted by Bill on May 10, 2008

A recent read of BBC News reveals that the Italian outgoing government published every Italian citizens declared earnings and tax contributions.  Well, as you might guess there was a public “negative” response and the information was taken down after being on the tax authority’s web site for 24 hours.

Probably the most sacred information to Americans is tax return information.  It is a grievance felony to release tax return information without proper authority.  Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 6103 provides that all tax return information is confidential, private and may not be released or disclosed without specific statutory authority.  The IRS cannot turn over tax return information to anyone, government or private sector, without following specific procedures and statutory provisions.

There are certain exceptions and situations allowing the IRS to release tax return information.

However, there are important exceptions that you should be aware of.

IRC 6103(d) provides that return information may be shared with state agencies responsible for tax administration. The state agency must request this information in writing, and the request must be signed by an official designated to request tax information.  It should be noted that the IRS and almost all states have signed memorandum of agreements relating to specific enforcement programs.

IRC 6103(i)(1) provides that, pursuant to court order, return information may be shared with law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution of non-tax criminal laws.

IRC 6103(k)(6) allows the IRS to make limited disclosures of return information in the course of official tax administration investigations to third parties if necessary to obtain information that is not otherwise reasonably available.

IRC 6103(l)(1) provides that return information related to taxes imposed under chapters 2, 21, and 24 may be disclosed to the Social Security Administration (SSA) as needed to carry out its responsibilities under the Social Security Act. Chapter 2 relates to self-employment income and does not normally concern employers. Chapter 21 concerns social security and Medicare (FICA) tax, and chapter 24 deals with income tax withholding.

The IRS may therefore share information with SSA about social security and Medicare tax liability if necessary to establish the taxpayer’s liability.   This provision does not allow the IRS to disclose your tax information to SSA for any other reason.   SSA employees who receive this information are bound by the same confidentiality rules as IRS employees.   Therefore, they generally cannot disclose the information to state social security administrators, state officials or other Federal agencies.

IRC 6103(e)(6) and (c) provide for disclosures to powers of attorney and other designees.  If you are notified of an audit by the IRS, you may want to have someone other than the authorized officer of your entity represent you or participate in the meeting.   You may bring any individual you wish into the discussion, in person or by telephone.   You may give oral consent to speak with a third party if necessary to resolve a Federal tax matter.   However, oral consent does not substitute for a power of attorney or a legal designation, and the discussion is limited to the issue for which the consent is given.   

Well, so much for the highly technical aspects of the Internal Revenue Code.  Have you read it?

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc., McLean, VA


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