A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Changing Times at the IRS

A few news items have gotten my "german" up this week. There's another round of the President making speeches justifying our invasion of Iraq. (Has anyone noticed that the President makes these speeches as often as other Presidents played a round of golf?) Then there is the Ohio truck driver running for Congress on a platform of making homosexuality a capital crime. (I didn't realize Adolf Hitler was living in Ohio!) Then there are the new IRS privacy rules.

Basically, the new IRS privacy rules state that the average American taxpayer will not have as much privacy as they might think. Among the more controversial regulations is one that allows tax prepares and accountants to sell taxpayers private information to marketers and other interested parties. Granted the regulation also states that the' preparer/accountant must get permission from the taxpayer before they do sell information, but this is still flying against the grain of previous privacy policies (say that three times fast) set down by the IRS.

Let me get this straight, Mr. Federal Government. A few years ago you sent the health care and health insurance industry into a tizzy over the HIPPA laws. These sectors of the economy spent millions of dollars upgrading their businesses, making physical changes to their facilities, and training their employees to safeguard their patients and clients privacy. You even backed up these new regulations with penalties ranging from fines to serious jail time for HIPPA violators. This was all well and good; a patient’s privacy needs to be protected.

Don't you see certain hypocrisy now with the new IRS rules and the HIPPA rules? I don't recall that health providers and insurers are allowed to sell any information, even with a patient’s permission. That option is not open at all for the health care industry. So why allow a government entity the right to grant this privilege to accountants? I worked for the IRS one season, and we were threatened with termination if we so much as breathed a taxpayer’s name outside the office. My, how times have changed!

Of course, if you say this was all the President’s idea, then it will make perfect sense. In considering the source we've come to expect this sort of thing from him. After all, he's busy worried about real threats to American democracy, like the Iraqi people and gay marriage. Still, it doesn't make the new regulations right.


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