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Proposed Rule

Internal Revenue Service: Privacy Act; Proposed Implementation

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Department of the Treasury.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, as amended, the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives notice of a proposed rule to exempt a new system of records entitled “Treasury/IRS 60.000—Employee Protection System Records” from certain provisions of the Privacy Act. The exemptions are intended to comply with the legal prohibitions against the disclosure of certain kinds of information and to protect certain information, about individuals, maintained in this system of records.

DATES:

Comments must be received no later than December 31, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Please submit comments to Office of Governmental Liaison and Disclosure, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20224, CL:GLD:D. Persons wishing to review the comments should call (202) 622-5164 to make an appointment. This is not a toll free number.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Chief, Office of Employee Protection, Internal Revenue Service, 477 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48226, telephone (313) 628-3742. This is not a toll free number.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2), the head of an agency may promulgate rules to exempt a system of records from certain provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a, if the system is investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes. The IRS compiles records in this system for law enforcement purposes. Treasury/IRS 60.000-Employee Protection System Records, contains records that enable the IRS to investigate incidents in which individuals assault, harass, or otherwise threaten IRS employees engaged in the assessment and collection of taxes. The IRS will use the information to ensure the protection of IRS employees and to notify IRS employees of the need to approach a taxpayer with caution.

The IRS is hereby giving notice of a proposed rule to exempt Treasury/IRS 60.000-Employee Protection System Records, from certain provisions of the Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). The proposed exemption is from provisions 552a(c)(3), (d)(1), (d)(2), (d)(3), (d)(4), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H), (I), and (f) because the system contains investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes. The following are the reasons why this system of records maintained by the IRS is exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) of the Privacy Act of 1974.

(1) 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3). This provision of the Privacy Act provides for the release of the disclosure accounting required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(1) and (2) to the individual named in the record at his/her request. The reasons for exempting this system of records from the foregoing provision are:

(i) The release of disclosure accounting would put the subject of an investigation on notice that an investigation exists and that such person is the subject of that investigation.

(ii) Such release would provide the subject of an investigation with an accurate accounting of the date, nature, and purpose of each disclosure and the name and address of the person or agency to whom the disclosure was made. The release of such information to the subject of an investigation would provide the subject with significant information concerning the nature of the investigation and could result in the altering or destruction of documentary evidence, the improper influencing of witnesses, and other activities that could impede or compromise the investigation.

(iii) Release to the individual of the disclosure accounting would alert the individual as to which agencies were investigating the subject and the scope of the investigation and could aid the individual in impeding or Start Printed Page 59755compromising investigations by those agencies.

(2) 5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(1), (d) (2), (d)(3), (d)(4), (e)(4)(G), (H), and (f). These provisions of the Privacy Act relate to an individual's right to be notified of the existence of records pertaining to such individual; requirements for identifying an individual who requested access to records; the agency procedures relating to access to records and the contest of the information contained in such records and the administrative remedies available to the individual in the event of adverse determinations by an agency concerning access to or amendment of information contained in record systems. The reasons for exempting this system of records from the foregoing provisions are as follows: To notify an individual at the individual's request of the existence of an investigative file pertaining to such individual or to grant access to an investigative file pertaining to such individual could interfere with investigative and enforcement proceedings; deprive co-defendants of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication; constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of others; disclose the identity of confidential sources and reveal confidential information supplied by such sources; and disclose investigative techniques and procedures.

(3) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(1). This provision of the Privacy Act requires each agency to maintain in its records only such information about an individual as is relevant and necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency required to be accomplished by statute or executive order. The reasons for exempting this system of records from the foregoing are as follows:

(i) The IRS will limit its inquiries to information that is necessary for the protection of IRS employees engaged in the assessment and collection of taxes. However, an exemption from the foregoing is needed because, particularly in the early stages of an investigation, it is not possible to determine the relevance or necessity of specific information.

(ii) Relevance and necessity are questions of judgment and timing. What appears relevant and necessary when first received may subsequently be determined to be irrelevant or unnecessary. It is only after the information is evaluated that the relevance and necessity of such information can be established with certainty.

(iii) Not all violations of law discovered by the IRS fall within its investigative jurisdiction. To promote effective law enforcement, the IRS may disclose such violations to other law enforcement agencies, including State, local and foreign agencies that have jurisdiction over the offenses to which the information relates. Otherwise, the IRS might be placed in the position of having to ignore information relating to violations of law not within its jurisdiction when that information comes to IRS's attention during the collation and analysis of information in its records.

(4) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)(1). This provision of the Privacy Act requires the publication of the categories of sources of records in each system of records. The reasons an exemption from this provision has been claimed are as follows:

(i) Revealing categories of sources of information could disclose investigative techniques and procedures;

(ii) Revealing categories of sources of information could cause sources that supply information to investigators to refrain from giving such information because of fear of reprisal, or fear of breach of promises of anonymity and confidentiality.

As required by Executive Order 12866, it has been determined that this proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action, and therefore, does not require a regulatory impact analysis.

Pursuant to the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, it is hereby certified that these regulations will not significantly affect a substantial number of small entities. The proposed rule imposes no duties or obligations on small entities.

In accordance with the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Department of the Treasury has determined that this proposed rule would not impose new record keeping, application, reporting, or other types of information collection requirements because the types of records to be maintained are being transferred to this system of records from other systems of records already in existence, specifically the systems of records entitled “Treasury/IRS 60.001-Assault and Threat Investigation Files, Inspection” and “Treasury/IRS 60.007-Miscellaneous Information File, Inspection.”

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List of Subjects in 31 CFR Part 1

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Part 1 of Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

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PART 1—[AMENDED]

1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301 and 31 U.S.C. 321. Subpart A also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended. Subpart C also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552a.

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2. Section 1.36 paragraph (g)(1)(viii) is amended by adding the following text to the table in numerical order:

Systems exempt in whole or in part from provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a and this subpart.
* * * * *

(g) * * *

(1) * * *

(viii) * * *

NumberName of system
*    *    *    *    *
60.000Employee Protection System Records.
*    *    *    *    *
* * * * *
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Dated: November 7, 2001.

W. Earl Wright, Jr.,

Chief Management and Administrative Programs Officer.

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[FR Doc. 01-29710 Filed 11-29-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4830-01-P