Computer Matching Programs

The Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (the Act), Pub.L.100-503, amends the Privacy Act of 1974, and establishes procedural safeguards affecting agencies' use of Privacy Act records in performing certain types of computerized matching programs. The Act regulates the use of computer matching by federal agencies involving personally identifiable records maintained in a system of records subject to the Privacy Act. The Act requires agencies to have written agreements in place specifying the terms under which matches are to be conducted. The Act applies to the computerized comparison of two or more automated systems of records (or federal personnel or payroll systems of records) between federal agencies or between a federal agency and a non-federal agency. Computer Matching Programs are more commonly stated as a Computer Matching Agreements or CMA. 

What is a Computer Matching agreement?

A CMA is a written agreement between the source agency and the recipient agency (or non-federal agency) specifying the terms of the matching program. The computer matching provisions of the Privacy Act apply to a broad range of federal agency computer matching activities for the purpose of establishing or verifying eligibility or compliance as it relates to cash or in-kind assistance or payments under federal benefit programs.  An agreement between the Treasury Department and another federal agency or a non-federal agency may exist for up to 18 months and may be extended 12 additional months.  

When is a CMA required?

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552a(o), any record contained in a system of records may only be disclosed to a recipient agency or non-federal agency for use in a computer matching program pursuant to a Computer Matching Agreement (CMA) between the source agency and the recipient agency or non-federal agency.  The Department requires CMAs to be developed and approved for any matching program as defined by the statute.

Notices for approved computer matching agreements published in the Federal Register are listed below:  

Fiscal Services (FS)

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)