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IRS consultant leaked tax returns on ‘nation’s wealthiest individuals,’ DOJ alleges

The Department of Justice charged an IRS consultant Friday with disclosing tax return information on “thousands of the nation’s wealthiest individuals” to a news organization, the agency said in a statement.

The consultant also passed tax information associated with “a high-ranking government official” to a different news outlet. Neither the news outlets nor the government official were identified in the statement from the DOJ.

The consultant was named as Charles Littlejohn, a 38-year-old resident of Washington, D.C.

“Littlejohn is charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison,” the DOJ said.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which is the IRS’s internal watchdog, will be investigating the case.

The announcement of the charge was made by the Department of Justice’s criminal division along with the Deputy Inspector General for investigations of TIGTA.

The IRS declined to comment on the charge, citing pending legal issues.

“Any disclosure of taxpayer information is unacceptable,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement provided by the IRS to The Hill on Friday.

“Helped by funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS has moved quickly to take significant steps to improve protection of taxpayer data and add new safeguards against unauthorized access and disclosure of sensitive information,” the agency said in its own statement on Friday.

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