If you are not familiar with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.
When a federal agency collects information, they are required to disclose it under the FOIA act, unless it falls under one of the nine exemptions. The exemptions are meant to protect personal privacy, national security and law enforcement. Any person, United States citizen or not, has a right to request any of this information.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration took a sample of 65 information requests from a population of 2,809 FOIA/privacy Act information requests. In the analysis they discovered eight cases (12.3 percent) where the IRS improperly withheld information from requestors. The IRS also improperly withheld information for four (7.3 percent) of the 55 I.R.C. sec 6103 information requests reviewed. Even though the IRS did properly release thousands of pages from these documents, taxpayer rights still may have been violated as information was withheld.
In addition, TIGTA discovered that the IRS Disclosure Office does not have direct control over how other IRS functions process I.R.C. sec 6103 information requests; it does not regularly assess the quality of disclosure responses either.
See the full TITGA report here.
The IRS seems to be on a slippery slope lately. More problems keep popping up everywhere. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen should be making an announcement in regards to this soon. It will be interesting to hear him explain why they were trying to hide information.