Yes, I could do if not working for the IRS. But if I were working for the IRS and there was a list of penalties such as "and, every one of your tax returns that have ever been filed and every one you subsequently file will be audited" I might not take the chance.Mark Leavy wrote: ↑Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:47 pmVinny, you're a gentle soul and I like you.
But you are also smart. And an accountant. If you felt it was vitally important to the security of the country to leak some numbers to the press, do you think you could do it without getting caught?
But there is another factor here - privacy and trust. I did work for an accounting firm for 9 years. I had access to every single tax return the firm filed. I would have loved to have seen my friend's tax return, which was prepared by that firm. However, since I was not involved in preparing his tax tax, I never looked at it because doing so would have been a gross breach of privacy and trust. I don't want that happening to me therefore by the golden rule I'm not doing to do it to others.
Another case, was when I was remotely backing up all my financial advisor's client files on to my hard drive. This was well over 20 years ago. Again, I knew some of his clients and would have loved to have looked at their portfolios. But for the same reasons described above, while I still have all those files, I have never opened one of them.
But back to the IRS. I'm almost certain that they have fairly antiquated computer systems. But, even so, I have to believe that they have some record of each person who has ever touched a certain tax return. Therefore, IF a tax return was ever leaked they are going to focus on each person who ever touched that return and put on heavy pressure. And, I mean HEAVY pressure.
When I was 18 years old I had a summer job with the US post office, delivering mail. One day I left my mailbox key in the mailbox. I came back and told my boss what I had done. Luckily a subsequent mailman found it. My boss told me that that key opened every mailbox in Cranston and Providence (Rhode Island) -- a population of about 250,000 -- and if that key had not been found, they'd have to change the keys on all the boxes in boxes for each city overnight. He told me that the postal inspectors would be on me for the rest of my life. As I said, luckily another mailman found it. How I left it there is a story for another time.
We like to think the government is inept. In certain cases you do NOT want to cross the government.
I just don't know of a tax return ever being leaked from the IRS. Do you?
Finally, your exact question was: "to leak some numbers to the press".
What credibility would you give to some numbers appearing in an article that stated it came from an unnamed source within the IRS? I'd suspect none.
Wouldn't we at least need to see the first page of the 1040 both signed by the taxpayer and the tax preparer?
And, even then, how do we know that it genuine and the real thing and not something someone created in a tax program?