IRS Mistakenly Published Some Taxpayers’ Confidential Data

The Internal Revenue Service mistakenly published confidential data for 120,000 taxpayers on its website before realizing the error and taking down the data, the Treasury Department said.

The IRS accidentally posted data from a tax form used by both individuals and tax-exempt organizations, the Treasury said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday. While information about nonprofit groups is routinely made public, that for individuals is supposed to be kept private. The Treasury said the IRS would contact all individuals affected in the coming weeks.

The disclosure didn’t include Social Security numbers, income figures or information that could harm an individual’s credit, the department said. Some published information included names and contact information.

The 990-T form involved in the incident is used by both tax-exempt groups and individuals with some retirement accounts invested in certain assets, including master limited partnerships and real-estate investment trusts.

The Treasury said the error was discovered on Aug. 26, but didn’t specify how long the confidential information had been available for the public to download.

“The IRS is continuing to review this situation,” Anna Canfield Roth, the Treasury’s acting assistant secretary for management, said in the letter. “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.”