IRS Using Social Media to Collect Taxpayer Information and Catch Cheats


With tax day fast approaching, the IRS is reportedly preparing to gather information on suspected tax cheats in a way they’ve never attempted before: via social media. Indeed, if you’ve been red-flagged in the past for tax misdeeds, the IRS could be combing through your Facebook and Twitter pages this month to ensure you’re not boasting of beating the system.

While more law enforcement agencies are turning to social media to help them catch crooks, some privacy advocates are uncomfortable with the government’s ability to peek into citizens’ digital lives for incriminating information.

“There are laws that regulate the government’s ability to get a hold of things like credit card transaction history. But those laws have become more permissive in the last several years, particularly after 9/11, and so some might say those laws are no longer in line with the average expectation of privacy,” said attorney Kristin Mathews to My Fox DC, the TV station that first broke the story.

Of course, anything you publicly post online is fair game for anyone—even the tax man—to find and use to their ends. The less you reveal about yourself online, especially about your personal financial situation, the better.

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