Missouri’s Republican Rep. Jason Smith, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is putting the heat on the Treasury inspector general for tax administration (TIGTA) to provide details on its probe of the “massive leak of confidential tax information” to the media outlet ProPublica in June 2021.

In a letter addressed to J. Russell George, Smith expressed his disappointment at the lack of progress in the investigation and demanded a “detailed status” of the probe to ensure TIGTA was conducting a comprehensive and timely investigation. The leak led to the publishing of “a significant amount of legally protected taxpayer information,” Smith wrote, adding that the original article was followed by a series “targeting numerous American taxpayers using tax information that the IRS is tasked with keeping confidential and secure.”

According to Smith, the issue must be addressed appropriately and in compliance with the Code. He drew a line in the sand, saying, “This leak of taxpayer information cannot be ignored, and TIGTA as well as the IRS can be confident that the Ways and Means Committee will work tirelessly to ensure accountability.”

The Chairman requested TIGTA to provide him with a written commitment that it would conduct a comprehensive and timely investigation and produce a report summarizing TIGTA’s investigation with findings and recommendations. Smith also requested a full copy of TIGTA’s unredacted report and for as much of that report to be made public as possible, consistent with Code Sec. 6103.

The leak of confidential taxpayer information is a serious matter that must be dealt with appropriately. Taxpayers entrust the IRS with their confidential information, and the IRS is responsible for ensuring the privacy and security of that information. Smith’s actions in holding TIGTA accountable are a necessary step in ensuring that taxpayers’ confidential information is protected, and we hope that TIGTA will provide the necessary information to address the issue.