The IRS and Social Media – Things Every Business Owner Needs to Know

Tax Problems
Image of a lady accessing someone's social media profile
About two weeks ago an old high school friend found me on Facebook.

About two weeks ago an old high school friend found me on Facebook.  We haven’t spoken for 25 years and because she is responsible for putting together our 25th high school reunion she searched for me and found me on Facebook.  Now I am friends not only with her but 10 of my other long lost friends from high school.  Facebook truly does “help connect and share with the people in your life”.  I am now able to catch-up with my old high school buddies.  I can see what they are up to – their work, family, exotic trips they took, promotions, and that new 52 inch plasma screen TV.  Well guess what, just like my old high school friends found me on facebook, so can the Internal Revenue Service.  Yes you read right, the IRS.

In the spring of 2010, the Internal Revenue Service is now training revenue agents to gather information on facebook and other social media sites.  Revenue agents are NOT allowed to use false identities while searching social media sites to find interesting stuff out about a taxpayer.  Social Networks can help the IRS find the location of a taxpayer, uncover criminal enterprises and/or prove or disprove alibis.  Some people share a lot of information about their finances on these sites from employment to income.

The next time you decide to post on your Facebook page your amazing two week vacation to Europe and that cute Waterford crystal figurine you brought back with you please remember that not only will your friends be privy to that but so is your long, lost brother – IRS.

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