According to several reports, the IRS will be trying to collect personal information about tax payers that are red flagged from sites like Facebook and Twitter. The IRS is trying to catch tax cheaters trying to beat the system, but are they going to far?
The IRS has been known to check car records, employment documents and other public records, but this is the first time that they will be looking at your information on social networks. You should know by now that you need to be careful with what you say on social media sites, but now you have another reason to be careful. It looks like the government is pushing the limits of what has historically been considered private. Now is a great time to change your privacy settings on your social sites to make it so only your friends can view your Facebook. You might also want to ignore those friend requests of people you don’t know as it might be an over eager IRS agent trying to see if you are bragging about your tax refund online or if you are posting up lavish vacation photos while you are on welfare!
The IRS has a 38-page training manual on how agents can use the Internet. The training manual says that IRS agents, “(You) are required to conduct Internet searches to determine taxpayer ecommerce activities. Generally, (you) IRS Agents are allowed to review information from publicly accessible, unrestricted websites.” The manual continued to speak about social media specifically, saying, “Employees may not use either their correct identification information or false identification information to become “friends” to gain access to the taxpayer’s social network site.”