IRS workers caught snooping on tax returns

Ugh. I admit it. When I used to work at the pharmacy/gift shop/assorted sundries story growing up, I used to sneak a peak now and again of the photos people dropped off for developing. And when I worked at that West Side flower shop I’d skim old orders of celebrities to see what they ordered.

So, its with some reservation that I take any glee in hearing that the IRS has taken disciplinary action against a five employees for snooping into unauthorized tax returns.

From Wired’s Threat Level blog:

Five workers at the Internal Revenue Service’s Fresno, California, return processing center were charged Monday with computer fraud and unauthorized access to tax return information for allegedly peeking into taxpayers’ files for their own purposes.

Apparently only 13 taxpayers’ information was accessed, but guess what the punishment is?

Time in Club Fed? Expensive penalty fees with outrageous interest rates? An audit?

Nope. Not even a paper cut:

(Snooping workers) are typically subject to disciplinary measures like unpaid leave, and less commonly charged with misdemeanor violations of the Taxpayer Browsing Protection Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. There were 185 such prosecutions from 1998 to 2007, with offenders typically receiving probation.

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