Below The Beltway

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Tax Authorities Monitor Social Networking Sites To Catch Tax Cheats

by @ 6:47 am on September 1, 2009. Filed under Facebook, Internet, Technology, Twitter

Be careful what you say online, Big Brother is watching:

Tax deadbeats are finding someone actually reads their MySpace and Facebook postings: the taxman.

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.


Searches for tax dodgers typically begin with examinations of bank, employment, tax, and motor-vehicle records. “These new supplements are often far more efficient than the older ones, such as reading the local newspaper or making inquiries at barbershops and church meetings,” said Jim Eads, director of the Federation of Tax Administrators.

Now, when a tax dodger can’t be found, said Nebraska tax official Steven Schroeder, agents often turn to Google. One agent collected $30,000 of unpaid tax from a resident after a Google search found him listed as a high-ranking local marketing rep for a national firm. If a Google online search isn’t productive, agents use the social sites or chat rooms in a last-chance hunt for their quarries.

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

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