The Internal Revenue Service revealed on Friday that private information concerning approximately 120,000 individuals had been temporarily made public.
For roughly a year, confidential data from some Form 990-Ts, a company tax return used by tax-exempt organizations, was available for download on the IRS.gov website’s search engine, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The agency blamed a human coding fault that went unnoticed for months until an employee found it lately. The Federal Information Security Modernization Act requires the IRS to notify Congress of any incident involving more than 100,000 people.
In a letter to Congress on Friday, Anna Canfield Roth, the IRS’s acting assistant secretary for management, stated, “The IRS took urgent actions to resolve the situation.”
According to Roth, among the data that was accidentally leaked were taxpayer names and business contract information. However, sensitive information such as social security numbers, salary information, and “other sensitive information that could influence a taxpayer’s credit” were not made public.
The papers have subsequently been withdrawn from the internet, and the agency will replace them in the coming weeks with the correct materials. The IRS also intends to contact all affected filers.
The agency stated that it is still reviewing the incident and will provide further information in the following 30 days.
The blunder comes after Congress passed a historic tax, climate, and healthcare bill that will increase funding for IRS improvements.