In “How private are your tax records? You’ll be surprised,” Bob Sullivan illustrates why the “opt-in/opt-out” way of discussing privacy is so destructive:
Any information you give to a company that helps you prepare your taxes can be sold to anyone else. Only a single signature on a permission slip stands between you and the complete loss of your privacy. While that seems shocking -– aren’t tax records sacred? — this isn’t new. The IRS says it’s a long-standing practice.
Worse yet, the government and the nation’s tax preparers are steering you to use one of these third-party tax preparation companies. Anyone who wishes to file a return electronically — the only rational way to file in the 21st century — must use a private company to do so. And that private company has the right to share everything it knows about you.