Following revelations of a data breach at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, which made private information of approximately 39,000 businesses in the state available to other businesses, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today sent a letter to members of the Massachusetts Legislature encouraging them to pass a measure she introduced (H. 4061), which would provide her office with access to information contained in tax returns for audit purposes.\n\n\u201cHow did you feel when you read today\u2019s Boston Globe headline, \u2019Data breach was twice as large as Department of Revenue said\u2019?\u00a0 Disbelieving? Mad? Helpless?\u201d Bump asked in the letter. \u201cWhile there may be nothing to assuage those first two reactions, there is something you can do to help reduce the risk of future data breaches at the Department of Revenue \u2013 pass House Bill 4061, currently sitting in House Ways and Means.\u201d\n\nIn her letter, Bump notes that Massachusetts is one of only a handful of states that do not allow their state auditing entity access to information on tax records. \n\nBump\u0027s office can currently access tax return data for the purpose of investigating allegations of public benefit fraud, however it is unable to access this data to assist in its audits.\n\nBump testified before the Joint Committee on Revenue in support of the measure in October, which released the bill to the House Committee on Ways and Means where it is currently under consideration. During her testimony, she called the inability of her office to provide oversight of the Department of Revenue \u201ca critical gap in the Commonwealth\u2019s accountability infrastructure.\u201d\n\nAuditor Bump\u0027s letter to the Legislature is available here.