J.D. Tuccille on How the IRS Turns Your Tax Returns Into Hacker Bait


Computer hacker
Stian Eikeland / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Right about now, millions of Americans are staring at tax forms, silently or loudly cursing the ordeal according to their personal preferences. Maybe they'll answer a few nosy questions about their lives and finances and either receive a bit of their money back or make a payment to Uncle Sam. Maybe they'll answer a lot of nosy questions, with a similar outcome at the end. Either way few, if any, are happy about the cash slipping from their possession into Uncle Sam's coffers. It's possible, though, that they should be more concerned about just how well the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) safeguards the answers to those nosy questions.

As it turns out, Reason.com's managing editor J.D. Tuccille notes, the federal government is a remarkably terrible guardian of information, and the tax man keeps a treasure trove of personal data about almost every American.