When criticism of the Internal Revenue Service's revision of its more-than-30-year-old preparer disclosure rules first surfaced, it came as an attack from consumer groups outraged that rules were being eased to permit the marketing of taxpayer information.However, contrary to press reports, the IRS said that the proposed rules actually tighten existing requirements regarding the customer consent that a return preparer must obtain to disclose the customer's tax return information to third parties. In fact, explained IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, "For over 30 years, under the law, return preparers have been able to disclose tax return information with the consent of taxpayers."

"These new rules strengthen taxpayer protection by clarifying the consent standard," he added. "We thought it was important to clarify the consent provision because of widespread concerns about the disclosure

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