Tags: irs | net | privacy | issues

Expanded IRS Net Raises Privacy Issues

Monday, 13 May 2013 02:38 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.

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

Financial experts say the expanded effort 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 Cardozo School of Law and Yale Law professor, told the publication.

Congressional staff sources told U.S. News's 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 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.
But It all may not be as bad as it sounds.

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 aides on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation told the publication the panels plan to study the possibility of errors in the so-called "robo-audit'' monitoring and storage of data on millions of taxpayers.

Paul Schwartz, a 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 counter-narrative."

He told U.S. News 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:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Time Warner Cable Customers Lose Internet Service Nationwide

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 09:54 AM

Time Warner Cable, which is planning to combine with Comcast, said Internet service is largely restored after frustrated . . .

Police Departments Suspended for Losing Pentagon Equipment

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 09:37 AM

Nearly 200 state and local police departments have been suspended from a Pentagon program that allows local agencies to  . . .

WSJ: Buffett Makes Tax Whopper on Burger King Deal

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 06:40 AM

Billionaire Warren Buffett may be an ally of President Barack Obama's quest to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans,  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

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