So you won your NCAA pool? Spare yourself (and us) by not talking about it on facebook

April 9, 2013 — Leave a comment
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Bragging on facebook just isn’t classy, and it might land you in a world of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service.

Yup, turns out the IRS likes to troll too, according to new reports.

Kristen Mathews, a partner at Proskauer Rose, LLP who specializes in data security and privacy, says the IRS may monitor social media sights for tax cheats in the 2012 tax filing season.  The reports indicate that people whose tax returns raise “red flags” may be subject to a social media check by the IRS.  It is unclear to what extent these searches will go or how many people will be targets.

Now before you get all appalled and anti tax-man, the IRS isn’t the first organization – government or private – to check social media outlets for improprieties.  The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have come under intense scrutiny for their use of social media to fight crime or terrorism, and nearly 70% of employers now have social media policies for their employees.

Just a few months ago, The Guardian reported that the defense contractor Raytheon developed analytics software capable of “tracking people’s movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.”

Point is, it’s probably not a good idea to talk about your taxes, gambling victories or anything else related to your personal finance on the internet. But don’t worry, “horriffic spelling and grammar doesn’t typically trigger an audit, or else you’d all be screwed,” Forbes.com contributor Tony Nitti said.

So if you won and NCAA pool, statistics say that you’re not likely to report that income to the IRS.  As such, just don’t talk about it online, because your bragging can and will be used against you in the court of law.

JDKatz: Attorney's At LawJDKatz, P.C. is a full-service law firm focused on tax law and estate planning. We are dedicated to minimizing your existing liability and risks while providing valuable tax planning to streamline your tax issues in the future. Please call us at 301-913-2948 to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our trusted attorneys.

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