de.tech.ting

IRS tracks tax evaders through MySpace and Facebook

Posted by andreaitis on August 31, 2009

I.R.S.

Image via Wikipedia

The taxman cometh by reading your status updates.

State revenue agents have begun nabbing scofflaws by mining information posted on social-networking Web sites, from relocation announcements to professional profiles to financial boasts.

In Minnesota, authorities were able to levy back taxes on the wages of a long-sought tax evader after he announced on MySpace that he would be returning to his home town to work as a real-estate broker and gave his employer’s name. The state collected several thousand dollars, the full amount due.

Meanwhile, agents in Nebraska collected $2,000 from a deejay after he advertised on his MySpace page that he would be working at a big public party.

via Is ‘Friending’ in Your Future? Better Pay Your Taxes First – WSJ.com

The new image of a tax collector: a cross between Dog the Bounty Hunter and a computer geek.   Authorities frequently start tracking scofflaws with a Google search.  That’s all it took for one agent, who collected $30K when a tax-challenged Nebraska resident showed up in a search result along with all the info on his high-ranking marketing job.

If a Google  search is a dead end, agents then turn to social media sites like MySpace and Facebook.  There are, of course, rules and regulations by state (it is the government, after all).   Agents in Nebraska can only use online information that is available to the public; agents in Nebraska and California cannot ‘friend’ someone using false information.

What to do if you’re an active social media tax evader?  Don’t brag about your latest Home Shopping Network purchase.  Or your new Jimmy Choo shoes.  Or that ec0-adventure vacation that had you swinging from the mountaintops.  Basically, don’t be your own worst enemy.  Keep your status update ego in check.

I repeat: Keep your status update ego in check.

Unless you live in Massachusetts.  For now, they don’t have a system in place to crawl social media sites searching for tax jumper clues.

At least, that’s what it says in their status update.

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2 Responses to “IRS tracks tax evaders through MySpace and Facebook”

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