IRS Has More Powers Than Ever Before, Monitors Facebook, EBay

Monday, 13 May 2013 01:10 PM

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The Internal Revenue Service is tapping into Facebook and eBay, and monitoring credit card and web-transaction payments in a new bid to catch tax cheats.

Editor's Note: You Owe It to Yourself to Know What Obama and Bernanke Are Hiding From Americans

U.S. News & World Reports reveals the new strategy is being used as the agency attempts to recoup on an estimated $300 billion it loses per year due to tax evasion and errors.

Financial experts say the expanded push to get information could push the boundaries of privacy.

"I am sure people will be concerned about the use of personal information on databases in government, and those concerns are well-taken,'' Edward Zelinsky, a tax law expert and professor at Yale Law and the Cardozo School of Law, told the publication.

Congressional staff sources told U.S. News' Richard Satran the expansion will be a "key issue'' when the next IRS chief is up for approval in front of the Senate.

As part of its modernization, the IRS has hired private industry experts to help them digitally track financial transactions. The experts are also given access to Social Security numbers, health records, and credit transactions.

Other methods of keeping tabs on taxpayers, U.S. News says, include analyzing Facebook, targeting audits by matching filings to social media or electronic payments, and tracking Internet addresses and emailing patterns.

The publication reports that U.S. Tax Court records show information gathered from Facebook and eBay postings have been used by the IRS in defending tax challenges.

It may not be as bad as it sounds so far.

U.S. News says that "in practice, the third-party data has been used only if the irregular returns merit more attention.''

One example of that is zeroing in on prisoners who were filing false claims for energy tax credits for window replacements.

Congressional staffers on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation told the publication they will study the possibility of errors in the so-called "robo-audit'' monitoring and storage of data on millions of taxpayers.

Paul Schwartz, University of California law professor and co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, said social media can "make people testify against themselves. They provide a counternarrative."
 
Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

He told U.S. News that one example might be a businessperson going to Florida for five meetings over a week who also visits family. A casual posting to friends about "visiting my mother in Florida" would raise a red flag as to the true nature of the deduction.



© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Dershowitz Challenges UK's Miliband: Would You Protect Great Britain Against Terrorism?

Thursday, 30 Oct 2014 20:34 PM

Ed Miliband, who is the leader of Great Britain's Labour Party, wants to become Prime Minister following the next genera . . .

Michelle Obama to Heckler: 'We Love You'

Thursday, 30 Oct 2014 22:23 PM

A heckler interrupted Michelle Obama several times during a speech Thursday, to which the first lady replied, "We love y . . .

McCain: Released Gitmo Detainees in Terror Leadership Roles

Thursday, 30 Oct 2014 22:04 PM

Sen. John McCain says reports of 20-30 former Guantanamo detainees joining the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved