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Data Protection at the Vermont Dept. of Taxes

The Tax Department takes the security of your confidential tax data seriously, and we respond quickly to any disclosure of taxpayer information.  This page helps taxpayers stay up to date when a data breach or inadvertent disclosure of taxpayer information occurs.  Thankfully, these occurrences are rare.

Check here for the most current information, and check back for updates as the Department of Taxes will release new information as it arises. 

Inadvertent Disclosure Occurring on January 9, 2012. 

 

Updated 1/11/12

Press Release

For Immediate Release
Mary Peterson, Tax Commissioner
State of Vermont
January 11, 2012

Contact: Michael Costa
Vermont Department of Taxes
(802) 828-0141 or Michael.Costa@state.vt.us

Inadvertent Disclosure of Tax Information Fully Contained

MONTPELIER – The Vermont Department of Taxes (VDT) has fully identified all three parties that accessed personal tax data inadvertently displayed from Property Transfer Tax Returns on a vendor portion of its website on January 9th.  The immediate investigation of the incident led to the following findings:

  • Three parties accessed the data.  All three parties have been identified and contacted.
  • All three parties have confirmed that the data was not disseminated to other parties, and they have destroyed the data.
  • Two of three parties could not open or see the data file, as it was corrupted.

Given the results of this investigation, the Vermont Department of Taxes has a high degree of confidence that the risk of identity theft arising from this incident is minimal. 

All affected taxpayers will receive a letter alerting them that their personal information was inadvertently disclosed.  Letters will be sent no later than Saturday, January 14th.  The letter encourages taxpayers affected by the inadvertent disclosure to take the following steps: 

  • Call or email the Department of Taxes if they have questions regarding this issue.  Taxpayers may call (866) 348-4038 or email questions to Tax.DataProtection@state.vt.us  
  • Check back for updates posted on our website at http://www.state.vt.us/tax/DataProtection.shtml.  The Department will post updates through its Facebook page and Twitter account. 
  • Learn more about credit monitoring, details to be set forth in the letter to individual taxpayers. 

While the Department is highly confident that the risk to affected taxpayers is small, the Department encourages taxpayers to use these resources. 

The Vermont Department of Taxes continues to review all safeguards related to the disclosure of taxpayer information.  Department staff will strengthen the procedures related to the publication of this specific report.   Also, standard operating procedure at VDT requires that the Taxpayer Advocate investigate and prepare a report with recommendations after any such inadvertent disclosure. 

###

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Mary Peterson, Tax Commissioner
State of Vermont
January 10, 2012

Contact: Michael Costa
Vermont Department of Taxes
(802) 828-0141 or Michael.Costa@state.vt.us

Inadvertent Disclosure of Tax Information Occurs at Department of Taxes
Tax Department is Taking All Steps to Protect Taxpayer Data

MONTPELIER – The Vermont Department of Taxes (VDT) inadvertently displayed personal data from a weekly batch of Property Transfer Tax Returns for less than two hours on a vendor portion of its website on January 9th.  A computer error began a process that resulted in an extra field added to a routine public report. The social security numbers of 1,332 individuals and the Federal Employee Identification Number of 245 businesses were involved. The property transfer report is posted weekly on a data page ordinarily accessed only by real estate professionals; immediate investigation identified two of the three parties who accessed the page during the time in question, and they have destroyed the information.  VDT is working to identify the final party, who will be advised that they inadvertently received confidential taxpayer information that must be destroyed.

The Vermont Department of Taxes is moving aggressively to ensure that taxpayers are protected from identity theft.  All affected taxpayers will receive a letter alerting them that their personal information was inadvertently disclosed.  Letters will be sent no later than Saturday, January 14th.  The letter encourages taxpayers affected by the inadvertent disclosure to take the following steps: 

  • Call or email the Department of Taxes if they have questions regarding this issue.  Taxpayers may call (866) 348-4038 or email questions to Tax.DataProtection@state.vt.us  
  • Check back for updates posted on our website at http://www.state.vt.us/tax/DataProtection.shtml.  The Department will post updates through its Facebook page and Twitter account. 
  • Learn more about credit monitoring, details to be set forth in the letter to individual taxpayers. 

While we are confident that the risk to affected taxpayers is small, the Department encourages taxpayers to use these resources. 

Also, the Vermont Department of Taxes is immediately reviewing all safeguards related to the disclosure of taxpayer information.  Department staff will strengthen the procedures related to the publication of this specific report.   Also, standard operating procedure at VDT requires that the Taxpayer Advocate investigate and prepare a report with recommendations after any such inadvertent disclosure.  “Safeguarding your personal information is the top priority of the Department of Taxes, and we will take every corrective action to ensure that this mistake does not occur again,” said Tax Commissioner Mary Peterson.  “I encourage all affected taxpayers to take advantage of the resources being offered to address this unfortunate error.”

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Vermont Department of Taxes, 133 State Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05633-1401