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Thursday, February 28, 2008
So You Hate The IRS...'s tax time again and you don't like the Infernal Revenue Snatchers. Well, you may have even more reason to not like them.

Yes, I know taxes are a necessary evil to keep the government running and all that rot. But it still doesn't make me happy that they think entitled to so much of my income and so much of windfalls that I may make in the stock market, or tax on interest that I earn over time.

It's just not right. Still, complaints aside, there are those who fear them more than I. They are the people who have been audited in the past or have a great fear of being audited. I'm personally not scared of it - I don't have anything to hide. They get a fair statement of my income and interest, I don't deal in large piles of cash and almost everything I do is traceable on a credit card statement or other bank transaction online.

So why should you fear them even more now? Because they might be able use almost any means to dig up background on you and one of those means is using social networking. I recently read a story on a technology entrepreneur who met with Irish tax inspectors about an audit he was undergoing. His tax inspector, during the course of the interview, pulled out the man's social networking activities on Facebook and LinkedIn. The man was surprised but relaxed because they weren't going to find anything there.

I'm surprised that a tax agency dug that far down to online activities like Facebook as a reliable source of information. Come on, how much do you get from random games of Scrabulous and the latest Which Disney Princess Are You quiz? And if you have a private profile, you're not going to get anything. What's next? Checking out MySpace or what domains you own in order to see if anything financially nefarious is going to happen there?

Your privacy truly is an illusion - and your blog isn't safe either, I'd suspect.

It just makes me want to post that I hate the Infernal Revenue Snatchers on every single website that I could be associated with. But I won't. I'll only complain about them here, which they'll probably find in the course of an audit if they can conclusively prove that this blog belongs to me. Considering that I don't have an email address associated with it and it doesn't reside on my domains that I may or may not own, that might be a little difficult. They'd have to stretch on that one. Of course, I don't know if the United States version of tax auditors will actually do something like that in the course of an audit, but better safe than sorry.

But still... using one's online activity on social networks and blogs in the course of an audit?. Are they really losing that many audits that they have to resort to that...

...or are they just looking for new friends for their own profiles?