RPAC and IAJGS responded to the Senate Finance Committee invitation to provide input on Reforms to Administration of Tax Laws issued November 20, 2013 found at: http://www.finance.senate.gov/newsroom/chairman/release/?id=a4f8205c-d286-4a41-a61d-753d1abd23d3 Of particular interest to the genealogical community are those provisions that would attempt to address tax fraud by identity theft by limiting access to the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) also known as the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
And with thanks to Michael S. Ramage, J.D., CG
We continue to urge immediate access for all genealogists but acknowledge that a three year delay before display of SSNs in the Death Master File/SSDI, if otherwise needed, would be manageable for most of us. We list categories of genealogists for whom a three year delay would be problematic and who should be certified for immediate access.
We offer four main points:
(1) We are anxious to support the effort to implement the provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act requiring the Department of Commerce to develop a Certification Program governing access to the Death Master File. Genealogists who fit the (a-f) categories listed on pages 2-3 should be accommodated for quick certification. The genealogical community is a vitally interested stakeholder in this process.
(2) As existing policy regarding public access to the Death Master File is reviewed, we urge that input from professional genealogists be sought. The members of the Records Preservation and Access Committee stand ready to assist in arranging for that input to both the Executive and Legislative branches. We can best be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
(3) Our strongest message is that steps already taken by the IRS and genealogical entities to protect SSNs listed in the SSDI may have already intercepted this particular form of identity theft without waiting for any additional legislation.
(4) The SSNs of living people will remain vulnerable as long as the IRS mandate is to rush payments of tax refunds before information returns can be compared with the submitted return to assure its validity.