Tax Return Information Should Remain Confidential, TEI Tells Justice, Treasury Departments.
In its letter, TEI called the plaintiffs' "disparate treatment" claim worthy of adjudication, but asserted that the claim, even if wholly meritorious, is not sufficient reason to vitiate the protections of the Internal Revenue Code's privacy provisions. The Institute urged both the Treasury Department and the Department of Justice to use all the resources at their disposal to prevent the release of tax returns and tax return information in the case, including settling the case. The Institute did, however, express concern that the IRS not be permitted to defeat the taxpayer's claim simply by invoking section 6103.
"The government should work with the plaintiffs and third-party taxpayers to develop one or more alternatives to disclosing the third-party information," TEI said. These alternatives -- such as preparation of a statistical summary or the production of the information either in camera or subject to a protective order -- would satisfy the court's need for information necessary to adjudicate the disparate treatment claim without identifying particular taxpayers. Safeguarding taxpayer confidentiality must "remain a cornerstone of our system of tax administration," the Institute concluded.
The Institute's comments are reprinted in this issue, beginning on page 365.
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|Date:||Jul 1, 1999|
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