SSA must disclose tax return information upon receipt of a properly prepared written consent statement from the subject of the record or from someone who can consent for him/her, provided the individual consenting has access rights to the information. (See GN 03340.001 for instructions for determining who has access rights. Also, see GN 03305.005 for who may give consent to disclose a record and GN 03305.006 for who may not give consent to disclose a record.)
Return any consent statement that does not meet the criteria in GN 03305.003E and GN
03320.010B to the requester with an explanation of the problem and request him/her to submit a new consent. If you are unable to contact the requester, or if the requester is unable or unwilling to obtain a new consent, handle the request as a FOIA request (see GN 03350.005B.3. for routing instructions).
SSA must ensure that there is “informed consent” when disclosing information with the written consent of the individual, i.e., both the individual and SSA fully understand the specific information the individual is authorizing SSA to disclose. Because individuals may not be aware of the contents of SSA’s earnings queries, exercise care when handling a consent which designates a query as the information to be disclosed, or if you consider disclosing a query to fill a request. Disclose a query to honor a consent request only if:
the information specified in the consent matches exactly the information on the query; or
the component handling the request documents that it has explained all of the information on the query to the individual and the individual gives his/her permission to SSA to disclose the query.
NOTE: These guidelines on disclosing queries apply to all queries, not just the SEQY and DEQY. See GN 03305.004C for further instructions about handling consent statements that authorize the disclosure of SSA queries.
Written consents to disclose tax return information must meet both SSA’s and IRS’ consent requirements. The IRS requirements are more restrictive than SSA’s requirements (see GN 03305.003E and GN 03320.010B.2. below for more information). The Forms SSA-7004-SM and SSA-7050-F4 are designed to meet all of SSA’s and IRS’ consent requirements. However, any written authorization meeting all of the IRS' requirements is acceptable.
NOTE: Use of the Form SSA-3288 to disclose tax return information is no longer permissible. The SSA-3288 does not meet all of IRS' regulatory requirements for consent for the disclosure of tax information.
A third party seeking tax return information cannot require SSA to process a request within a specific time frame.