Accountants and business owners across California received emails from the state tax department this week that gave them access to confidential information regarding companies that were not theirs.
The messages alarmed accountants who worried someone would misuse the access and file information that would trigger an audit or penalty on their companies.
“It’s very concerning,” said Cathy Torres, a San Diego accountant who files taxes for nine companies. “I’ve gotten access to five accounts that were not mine.”
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration Deputy Director Stacie Spector said the messages went to 72,000 email accounts Tuesday night. They were intended to remind taxpayers about an upcoming filing deadline, but a technical error caused some people to receive the email more than 10 times and some taxpayers to receive access codes that would have allowed them to file taxes for eight companies that were not theirs.