Yellen says leak of taxpayer data is 'very serious situation'

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference, after attending the G7 finance ministers meeting, at Winfield House in London, Britain June 5, 2021. Justin Tallis/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday said a recent unauthorized disclosure of Internal Revenue Service taxpayer data by news outlet ProPublica was “a very situation” and vowed to take steps to shore up data protection, if necessary.

Asked about the news report, which cited tax returns by thousands of the wealthiest Americans, Yellen said Treasury had referred the matter to the Justice Department and Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, but it was still unclear how the data breach occurred.

“We don’t have any facts at this point,” she said. “But it is absolutely a top priority to safeguard taxpayer data.”

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