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Why the IRS wants to be your Facebook friend

Emily Price

If the fear of an audit wasn't enough to scare you into being honest on your taxes, try this on for size: the IRS might be checking out your Facebook page. The good ol' Internal Revenue Service is reportedly using robots to scope out public social media accounts to catch potential tax dodgers. That means that the government can question if the "business trip" you took to Hawaii was legit based on snorkeling photos from your Instagram account or where you got all those benjamins in that YouTube video.

Tax evasion is a big deal in the US, and accounts for an estimated $300 billion in lost government funds each year. Like it or not, the IRS is technically free to use any public posts on social media during the auditing process or even to profile potential liars. That means you don't want to brag on Twitter about how much money your business is making if you're actually about to go under. Likewise, if you are fudging your taxes (which we don't recommend), you should consider revisiting your account privacy settings, and make sure you're keeping any incriminating evidence to yourself.

Image credit: Stockmonkeys

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