ate, to Congress. The JCT published its report on January 28, 2000; the Office of Tax Policy of the Department of the Treasury submitted its report on October 2, 2000.
The JCT and the Treasury Department have disagreed on the merits of changing Section 6103 to permit expanded data sharing. The JCT recommended that “new access to returns and return information should not be provided unless the requesting agency can establish a compelling need for the disclosure that clearly outweighs the privacy interests of the taxpayer.” The JCT report did not explain how to determine both the pros and cons of such a decision, nor did it appear to fully accept the need for the existing access. (Both the JCT and the Treasury Department recommended dropping the Federal Trade Commission from access under Section 6103.)
The Treasury Department, in contrast, recommended that “the disclosure authority of Section 6103(j) should be expanded to additional specified statistical agencies, and such agencies should be permitted, upon prior Treasury approval, to share IRS data with each other.” It also specified the agencies to include and that the change to Section 6103 should cover both individual and business records.
Private business economists have actively supported data sharing. In 1996, Maurine Haver, president of Haver Analytics and chair of the Statistics Committee of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), testified before the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology. In her testimony on consolidating the three major economic statistical agencies (H.R. 2521), she expressed support for the inclusion in that bill of provisions for data sharing among these agencies as it would allow for the creation of a single business register. In 2001, Richard Berner, the president of NABE and managing director and chief U.S. economist of Morgan Stanley, Inc., testified before the House Subcommittee of the Census Committee on Government Reform on the Statistical Efficiency Act of 1999. In his testimony, Berner reported on NABE’s support for the reintroduction of this act, which had been passed unanimously by the House in the previous Congress. He testified that “NABE believes that our national data collection efforts should be as efficient as possible. To that end, we believe that Congress should mandate ‘data sharing’ among the agencies, solely for statistical purposes.” He noted that existing confidentiality statutes are barriers to such data sharing because “they virtually guarantee duplication of effort and inconsistencies among related data sets collected by the affected agencies. Moreover, they prevent agencies from undertaking new analyses that could improve the information available to policy makers. This is not a cost-effective way to run any business—either public or private.”