U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mistakenly releases personal information of 120,000 taxpayers

Sicherheit (Pexels, allgemeine Nutzung)[German]That's pretty much off the mark. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mistakenly published personal data of 120,000 taxpayers from the so-called Form 990-T, which should never have gone online. This is because the information provided in this form is confidential.


Taxpayers in the USA have to submit a number of forms to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for their tax returns. I remember this from my time as a US author, when I regularly received such a form on my desk.

Some taxpayers are required to file Form 990-T as part of their tax return. This form is used – according to the IRS – to report "unrelated business income" paid to a tax-exempt entity such as nonprofit organizations (charities) or IRA and SEP retirement accounts. Bleeping Computer writes here that the income reported there is usually from sales unrelated to a nonprofit's primary purpose, or from real estate investments that pay income into an individual retirement account.

For ordinary taxpayers, these forms are confidential and are only seen by the IRS. For nonprofits, however, Form 990-T must be available for public inspection for three years.

Publication unintended

On Sept. 2, 2022, however, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was forced to announce, that it was not just the data for nonprofit organizations that had to be made public that had been posted online. Rather, tax data from Form 990-T, which is actually confidential, was inadvertently posted online. To that end, it states:

The IRS recently determined that some machine-readable (XML) Form 990-T data available in the Tax Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) section as a bulk download should not have been made public. This section is primarily used by those who are able to use machine-readable data; it does not affect other, more widely used sections of TEOS.

Immediate action was taken by the US Internal Revenue Service to address this issue. For example, the files have been removed from the IRS.gov website and will be replaced with updated files in the near future. In addition, the IRS will also work with groups that routinely use the files to remove the incorrect files and replace them with the correct versions as they become available. The IRS will contact all affected filers in the coming weeks.


Form 990-T is the business tax return used by tax-exempt entities, including tax-exempt organizations, governmental entities, and retirement accounts, to report and pay income tax on income derived from certain investments or income unrelated to their tax-exempt purpose.

The IRS is required to disclose this information for 501(c)(3) organizations; however, similar information was inadvertently disclosed for a subset of non-501(c)(3) organizations that are not subject to the disclosure requirement. However, the data do not include Social Security numbers, detailed information on account holders, or individual income tax returns (Form 1040). In some cases, however, the data include names of individuals or contact information for businesses.

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