Is the IRS Searching Social Media for Proof of Poker Payouts?


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With an administration focused on downsizing government the Internal Revenue Service is looking for ways to streamline their efforts and make the most of a shrinking budget. According to a new report, those efforts include searching social media for unreported income, such as proof of a poker payout.

If It’s Public, They Can See It

Sharing pics of a brand new car might seem innocent enough, but if those posts are shared publicly on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter they can also be seen by the tax man. The Spokesman Review reported the IRS has been combing social media for years without much awareness among the general public.

Why Bragging is Bad

Most poker winnings are appropriately taxed or far too small to show up on the IRS radar. However, big winners should think twice before bragging about tax evasion. Researcher Kimberly Houser for the WSU Carson College of Business provides the example of a Florida woman who was convicted after proclaiming herself the “Queen of Tax Fraud” on Facebook.

The Tax Man Might Need Millennial Help

The IRS is most certainly training employees to search for potential tax fraud on social media – the report cited IRS training documents, but they might be about a decade behind the curve. The document mentions Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace. Unless he wants to know what kind of music tax evaders liked in the early 2000s the tax man might want to switch out MySpace for a more relevant platform.

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