The Internal Revenue Service on Friday acknowledged it mistakenly published confidential information about 120,000 taxpayers on its website.
The compromised data — including names, contact information, and financial information about IRA income — came from Form 990-T, according to the Wall Street Journal. The form is a tax-return document that is required for people with individual retirement accounts who earn certain types of business income within those retirement plans, such as IRAs invested in master limited partnerships, real estate, or other assets that generate income.
The exposed data did not include Social Security numbers, full individual income information, detailed financial account data, or other information that could impact a taxpayer’s credit.
The IRS plans to contact all of the individuals who were affected.
“The IRS took immediate steps to address this issue,” the agency said in a statement to Fox Business. “The files have been removed from IRS.gov and will be replaced with updated files in the near future. In addition, the IRS also will be working with groups that routinely use the files to remove the erroneous files and replace them with the correct versions as they become available.”
The information was uploaded due to a human coding error that occurred last year when the form began to be electronically filed, officials said. While the forms for individuals are supposed to be confidential, charities with “unrelated business income” are also required to file Form 990-T, and those are intended to be public.
The confidential data was mistakenly uploaded with the public data to the agency’s website.
The agency took “immediate steps” to address the issue upon discovering the mistake in recent weeks, the acting assistant secretary for management at the Treasury Department told Congress in a letter.
“The IRS is continuing to review this situation,” assistant secretary Anna Cothfield Roth wrote. “The Treasury Department has instructed the IRS to conduct a prompt review of its practices to ensure necessary protections are in place to prevent unauthorized data disclosures.”
The agency’s acknowledgement of the error comes amid concern from Republican lawmakers that an injection of $80 billion in funding to the agency under Democrats’ recent reconciliation bill will go toward targeting low- and middle-income households with more audits.