THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG
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Confidential Tax information is being published online by some Virginia Treasurers which is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. What are these elected officials thinking? And where are the Commonwealth's Attorneys who should be prosecuting them for violating this law?
The Virginia Watchdog has discovered another Virginia county allowing access to Personal Property Tax information - ORANGE COUNTY, VA.
Here is the Orange County Treasurer's site....You can get to the information by clicking on "Personal Property Inquiry" and "Yearly Personal Property Taxes Paid" at this link and then entering their SSN. An ex-spouse/partner, banker, car dealer, cop, debt collector, etc. may have that number... and, for example, ANYONE can find SSNs in a Circuit Court Clerk's office at the local courthouse on many types of records including mortgages from the 90's. (Note: Here's Colin Powell's record from the Circuit Court Clerk's office showing how easy it is to get SSNs - page one showing his address and page 2 showing his and wife's SSNs. Many states' legislators including our own VA General Assemblymen have allowed the Circuit Court Clerks to put the records they hold on the internet and ANYONE can get to the information from their home computer.)
Orange County, VA is using the same system as Culpeper, Giles, Frederick, Louisa, and Westmoreland. Prince William is using another system but allowing access to the confidential information also with a SSN. Fairfax has the same info online but in addition to the SSN, one must have the last four digits of the VIN which can be found by merely looking thru the windshield of comeone's car. For example once you see Colin Powell's SSN, then ANYONE could look thru his windshield and there is his VIN... then they could get into his PP "tax" records which should be stored within the four walls of an office somewhere and not online like most Treasurers are doing.
Being able to pay a bill online is one thing.... but actually seeing confidential TAX information is something else. Most Treasurers will allow tax payers to pay a bill online but they do not allow a person to see the actual items like year, make/VIN of vehicles/boats/buses/motorcycles, etc. They only allow a person to use an account number and ticket # to pay the bill using a credit card or paying by echeck. A person would give the credit card #, etc and input the amount of the taxes and that's it.
But when you can see the vehicles or boats, etc someone owns, then that's wrong...and also is against the law for that information to be "published or disseminated." (COV 58.1-3 F) So where are the Commonwealth's Attorneys in these counteis who should be prosecuting the Treasurers who have put the confidential information online?
The Personal Property Tax information is confidential under Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3. See Paragraph A and Paragraph F.
(c) 2003 Ostergren, P.C. (Page Format Only)