Tax Administration:

How IRS Ensures That Others Adequately Safeguard Tax Data

GGD-87-13: Published: Nov 14, 1986. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 1986.

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GAO analyzed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) policies and procedures for safeguarding federal tax information it discloses to federal, state, and local government agencies.

GAO noted that: (1) the Tax Reform Act of 1976 required that agencies receiving tax information from IRS establish appropriate safeguards to protect the information's confidentiality; (2) the act also authorized IRS to approve and periodically review those safeguards; and (3) IRS has developed security guidelines and has implemented a Safeguard Review Program to monitor and evaluate the application of those guidelines by agencies having federal tax data in their possession. GAO believes that the guidelines and review program, taken together, provide a reasonable framework for ensuring that agencies receiving tax data maintain adequate safeguards.

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