Is Your SSN Really Required On County Forms? - WSPA.com

Is Your SSN Really Required On County Forms?

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The exact boundaries of each county are spelled out in state law. One of Union Counties borders is "a dead Spanish oak on the north bank of the Enoree river." The exact boundaries of each county are spelled out in state law. One of Union Counties borders is "a dead Spanish oak on the north bank of the Enoree river."
GREENVILLE, S.C. -

Some local governments may be asking for more personal information that you need to provide.

In some cases, confusing forms lead taxpayers to believe they are required to disclose important personal information like social security numbers in a possible violation of the Federal Privacy Act.

The law says state and local governments should make clear the exact reason why they need a social security number and must make it clear whether the information is voluntary or required.

In January, Antoinette Pizzino noticed a confusing portion of a Greenville County tax form after it was mailed to her home.  Pizzino works in credit card processing and said she was especially wary of any information leaks that could lead to identity theft.

"It's huge when somebody's identity is stolen so we're very very careful about that," Pizzino said.

The documents from the Greenville County tax assessors office appeared to require a social security number.

 

In January, when 7 On Your Side confronted the county about the forms, spokesman Bob Mihalic said the social security number was voluntary and the county was printing new, less confusing, forms for the office.

Now, 7 On Your Side has obtained the new assessor forms, and while there is a subtle change, most of the people questioned at Greenville County Square still believed the social security number appeared to be a requirement.

A county official said the office uses those numbers when there are "red flags" on the paperwork.

The documents in question are to determine a person's "primary residence" which would lower the amount of taxes owed.  

Mihalic said the social security numbers are encrypted in the computer system and individual employees would not have access to that information.

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