It looks as if there is a little “concern” from the Internal Revenue Service about their data sharing arrangement with the Department of Education.
The Department of Education said, “As part of a wider, ongoing effort at the IRS to protect the security of data, the IRS decided to temporarily suspend the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) as a precautionary step following concerns that information from the tool could potentially be misused by identity thieves. The scope of the issue is being explored, and the IRS and FSA are jointly investigating the issue. At this point, we believe the issue is relatively isolated, and no additional action is needed by taxpayers or people using these applications. The IRS and FSA are actively working on a way to further strengthen the security of information provided by the DRT. We will provide additional information when we have a specific timeframe for returning the DRT or other details to share.” – Source
Now that’s an interesting statement. Does that seem to indicate people who used the FAFSA online application have already been subject to some type of data breach? And when they say, “we believe the issue is relatively isolated” what issue specifically is it other than an actual data breach?
According to the Department of Education the online data transfers between the IRS and Department of Education occur when tax data is automatically pulled in during a FAFSA application and Income Driven Repayment Plan application. This would include repayment plans like Income Contingent Repayment, Income Based Repayment, Pay As You Earn, etc.