Tax Reform Act of 1976
Tax Reform Act of 1976
October 27, 1977
TO:STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS APPROVED UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
SUBJECT: Tax Reform Act of 1976
ATTACHMENT: Portions of Section 1202 of Public Law 94-455
CONTENT:Public Law 94-455, the Tax Reform Act of 1976, which was signed October 4, 1976, amends section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code to permit the Secretary of the Treasury to disclose tax information contained in the master files of the Internal Revenue Service to appropriate child support agencies upon written request when the information is necessary for establishing and collecting child support obligations from, and locating, individuals owing such obligations.
The Internal Revenue Service is charged with administering this law and is responsible for the development of guidelines and procedures to implement the provision of IRC 6103(1)(6). The IRS is presently incorporating the amendment into a more detailed revenue procedure. In the interim, States requesting guidance in this area should contact:
Mr. Earl Klema, Chief
Tax Disclosure Branch
CP:D:T Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20224
Telephone Number: (202) 566-2299
A copy of this amendment is attached for your information. Please note that the word "Secretary" in the statute refers to the Secretary of the Treasury, not the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. Also attached is a copy of sections 7213(a) and 7217 which prescribe penalties for unauthorized disclosure of IRS return information.
INQUIRIES TO:Inquiries concerning use of procedures established by the Internal Revenue Service to disseminate information should be made to that agency. Other inquiries may be made to the OCSE Regional Representatives.
Office of Child Support Enforcement
PUBLIC LAW 94-455--Oct. 4, 1976
SEC. 1202. CONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLOSURE OF RETURNS AND RETURN INFORMATION.
(1) In General.--Section 6103 (relating to publicity of tax returns and disclosure of information as to persons filing tax returns is amended to read as follows:
"SEC. 6103. CONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLOSURE OF RETURNS AND RETURN INFORMATION.
"(1) DISCLOSURE OF RETURNS AND RETURN INFORMATION FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN TAX ADMINISTRATION.--
"(6) DISCLOSURE OF RETURN INFORMATION TO FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES.--
"(A) RETURN INFORMATION FROM INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE.--The Secretary may upon written request, disclose to the appropriate Federal, State, or local child support enforcement agency --
"(i) available return information from the master files of the Internal Revenue Service relating to the address, filing status, amounts and nature of income, and the number of dependents reported on any return filed by, or with respect to, any individual with respect to whom child support obligations are
42 USC 651. sought to be established or enforced pursuant to the provisions of Part D of title IV of the Social Security Act and with respect to any individual to whom such support obligations are owing, and
"(ii) available return information reflected on any return filed by, or with respect to, any individual described in clause (i) rela-
26 USC 61.ing to the amount of such individual's gross income (as defined in section 61) or consisting of the names and addresses of payors of such income and the names of any dependents reported on such return, but only if such return information is not reasonably available from any other source.
"(B) RESTRICTION ON DISCLOSURE--The Secretary shall disclose return information under subparagraph (A) only for purposes of, and to the extent necessary in, establishing and collecting child support obligations from, and locating, individuals owing such obligations.
(d) Penalty for Unauthorized Disclosure of Information.--
26 USC 7213.Section 7213 (relating to unauthorized disclosure of information) is amended by striking out subsection (c), redesignating subsections (d) and(e) as (c) and (d), respectively, and by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
(a) RETURNS AND RETURN INFORMATION.--
(1) FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND OTHER PERSONS. It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee of
Ante.p.1681.the United States or any person described in section 6103(n) (or an officer or employee of any such person), or any former officer or employee, to disclose to any person, except as authorized in this title, any return or return or return
Ante.p.1668.information (as defined in section 6103 (b)). Any violation of this paragraph shall be a felony punishable upon conviction by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution, and if such offense is committed by any officer or employee of the United States, he shall, in addition to any other punishment, be dismissed from office or discharged from employment upon conviction for such offense.
(2) STATE AND OTHER EMPLOYEES.--It shall be unlawful for any officer, employee, or agent, or former officer, employee, or agent, of any State (as defined in section 6103(b)(5)) or any local child support enforcement agency to disclose to any person, except as authorized in this title, any return or return information (as defined in section 6103(b)) acquired by him or another person under section 6103(d) or (1)(6). Any violation of this paragraph shall be a felony punishable by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.
26 USC 7217. SEC. 7217. CIVIL DAMAGES FOR UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF RETURNS AND RETURN INFORMATION.
"(a) GENERAL RULE.--Whenever any person, knowingly, or by reason of negligence, discloses a return or return information (as defined in section 6103(b)) with respect to a taxpayer in violation of the provisions of section 6103, such taxpayer may bring a civil action for damages against such person, and the district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction of any action commenced under the provisions of this section.
"(b) DAMAGES.--In any suit brought under the provisions of subsection (a), upon a finding of liability on the part of the defendant, the defendant shall be liable to the plaintiff in an amount equal to the sum of--
"(1) Actual damages sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the unauthorizeddisclosure of the return or return information and, in the case of a willful disclosure or a disclosure which is the result of gross negligence, punitive damages, but in no case shall a plaintiff entitled to recovery receive less than the sum of $1,000 with respect to each instance of such unauthorized disclosure; and
"(2) the costs of the action.
"(c) An action to enforce any liability created under this section may be brought, without regard to the amount in controversy, within 2 years from the date on which the cause of action arises or at any time within 2 years after discovery by the plaintiff of the unauthorized disclosure."
(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.-The table of sections for such part is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new item :
"Sec. 7217 Civil damages for unauthorized disclosure of returns and return information."