and coordinate the implementation of CIPSEA, is under development. It is intended to cover such topics as the steps that agencies must take to protect confidential information; wording of confidentiality pledges in materials that are provided to respondents; steps that agencies must take to distinguish any data or information they collect for nonstatistical purposes and to provide proper notice to the public of such data; and ways in which agents (e.g., contractors, researchers) may be designated to use individually identifiable information for analysis and other statistical purposes and be held legally responsible for protecting the confidentiality of that information.
Subtitle B of CIPSEA, Statistical Efficiency, permits the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the Census Bureau to share individually identifiable business data for statistical purposes. The intent of the subtitle is to reduce respondent burden on businesses; improve the comparability and accuracy of federal economic statistics by permitting these three agencies to reconcile differences among sampling frames, business classifications, and business reporting; and increase understanding of the U.S. economy and improve the accuracy of key national indicators, such as the national income and product accounts.
A key limitation of CIPSEA is that data in the Census Bureau’s Business Register, which is constructed in large part out of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax data, cannot be shared. New legislation would be required to amend Title 26, which governs access to IRS tax data by BLS, BEA, and other agencies. All access to federal tax information, even within IRS, must be authorized by statute, meaning that legislation has been codified as part of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code. Title 26, Section 6103, is the primary law articulating IRS’s data-sharing constraints. Section 6103 provides that tax returns and return information are confidential and may not be disclosed by the IRS to other government agencies or employees except as provided in the code. It further specifies non-IRS access, indicating which agencies (or other entities) may have access to tax return information. Congress must enact legislation to add users. Accompanying regulations clarify the purposes for which access may be granted, detailing specific items that can be shared and under what conditions the information will be received. The assistant secretary for tax policy of the Treasury Department is responsible for setting regulations. As with all users, BEA access to IRS tax data is codified in Section 6103. For example, Section 6103(j) specifies (in the accompanying regulations) BEA access to Statistics of Income sample files of corporations; Section 6103(n) grants access to some extracts for partnerships and sole proprietorships. In some cases, policy agreements (such as the Census Bureau-IRS Criteria Agreement) may supplement statute and regulations. Because the confidentiality of tax data is considered crucial to vol-