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Privacy & Confidentiality

Title 26, U.S. Code

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) is the body of law that codifies all federal tax laws, including income, estate, gift, excise, alcohol, tobacco, and employment taxes. U.S. tax laws began to be codified in 1874, but there was no central, comprehensive source for them at that time. The IRC was originally compiled in 1939 and overhauled in 1954 and 1986. This code is the definitive source of all tax laws in the United States and has the force of law in and of itself.

These laws constitute Title 26 of the U.S. Code (26 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq. [1986]) and are implemented by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through its Treasury Regulations and Revenue Rulings.

Congress made major statutory changes to Title 26 in 1939, 1954, and 1986. Because of the extensive revisions made in the Tax Reform Act of 1986, Title 26 is now known as the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Pub. L. No. 99-514, § 2, 100 Stat. 2095 [Oct. 22, 1986]).

Title 26, U.S. Code applies to the statistical work conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau's collection of IRS data about households and businesses. Title 26 provides for the conditions under which the IRS may disclose Federal Tax Returns and Return Information (FTI) to other agencies, including the Census Bureau. Specifically, Title 26, U.S. Code 6103 (j) (1) permits the IRS to share FTI with the Census Bureau for statistical purposes in the structuring of censuses and national economic accounts, as well as for conducting related statistical activities authorized by law.

Protection of Title 26 data

Publication of all statistical products by the Census Bureau, including those based in whole or in part on administrative records covered by Title 26, are subject to disclosure avoidance procedures prescribed by the Census Bureau's internal Disclosure Review Board. Additionally, products using administrative records data are subject to any additional disclosure review required by the supplying agency.

The Census Bureau's main computer system that stores and processes the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) resides behind the Census Bureau firewall(s). Access to the system and file structure is controlled by access control lists and specific user privileges. All activity on the system is recorded in security audit logs that are reviewed on a regular basis by designated personnel. Any anomalies noted are reported to the Census Bureau's IT Security Office, which conducts an investigation and documents the findings for management review.

For more information about how the Census Bureau safeguards Title 26, as well as all other data it collects, see the agency's Data Protection and Privacy Policy Web Site.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 05, 2022