The IRS has a serious problem -- criminals are filing fake tax returns in increasing numbers and victimizing American taxpayers. One of the ways this is being done by using the Social Security Master Death List and filing fake tax returns on newly deceased individuals -- often children. ABC News has more on this issue here.
The collateral damage to this problem may be a restriction in information available throught the FOIA. Because deceased individuals have no privacy interests, the Social Security Administration was forced to release its Master Death index years ago -- and it now does so routinely. However, this information is also a tool for the identity theifs by providing a treasure trove of material they then use to file fake tax returns. As a result there are now bills before Congress that exclude the Master Death Index from being released to the public.
In a perfect world, this information would continue to be made public and the real issue -- how should the IRS proactively block fax tax returns before they are filed would be front and center of moving forward. However, as Congress is cutting IRS funds, it is more likely that the disclosure of the Social Security Master Death list will one, and possibly the only solution, Congress attempts to make in combatting this terrible crime.