Lance Drury Law
Ste. Genevieve 573-883-3056
Columbia 573-886-8900
St. Louis 314-200-0003

IRS Authorized to Circumvent Warrants Regarding Personal Electronic Records

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the IRS can read your electronic communications. In 1986, the Electronic Communication Privacy Act gave government agencies such as the IRS the authority to examine any electronic communications older than 180 days. Even if you erase all your messages and statuses, rest assured that social networks, phone companies, and ISPs have not. Digital records, especially texts, are incredibly cheap to store. As such, there is a comprehensive open book of what many think of as "private communication" available to the government. The Electronic Communication Privacy Act specifies that a judge's warrant is not necessary for a government agency to snoop through your records. An attorney's subpoena -- basically, a request to conduct any investigation -- is sufficient. Note that prosecuting attorneys have incredibly wide powers to designate almost anything of interest as an "investigation." As such, their desire to obtain records about your personal credit card purchases, emails, search history and social network posts is easily satisfied. Nevertheless, there is hope for resistance to virtually endless IRS intrusion.  Stored electronic communications are counted as a type of "private property" of the organization providing the messaging or transaction services. Companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others have resisted IRS requests, insisting on a harder-to-get warrant from a judge. Legislators have also noticed. Some pushed forward a bill that would curtail the authority of government agencies to obtain private electronic communication. Despite prospects for restrictions of IRS powers, keep in mind several facts. First, relevant legislation (if any) is very unlikely to be retroactive -- to apply to electronic communications already on record prior to the legislation's enactment. In addition, companies have no obligation to resist IRS inquiries. Of course, companies have every legal right to cooperate with government agency requests. They are prevented from doing so only by their own discretion, within limits of the law. You can take steps to ensure privacy. To diminish the possibility of potentially incriminating information haunting you years into the future, keep tax-related communications off the electronic record. Letters and personal meetings are a small price to pay for strong legal protections in matters of tax law.

As Seen On

NBC ABC Fox News Channel USA Today BIO - The Biography Channel CBS
NBC ABC Fox News Channel USA Today BIO - The Biography Channel CBS

Schedule a No Obligation Tax Consultation

Contact us today and get relief from your tax burden. You can also receive a FREE chapter from the best-selling book, Protect and Defend, just by requesting it from the form below.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

The Law Firm of Lance R. Drury
150 Merchant Street
Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670

Phone: 314-200-0003
Fax: 573-883-3095
Ste. Genevieve Law Office Map

St. Louis Office
3636 South Geyer Road, Suite 100
St. Louis, MO 63127

Phone: 314-200-0003
Fax: 314-238-7201

Columbia Office
3610 Buttonwood Drive, Suite 200
Columbia, MO 65201

Phone: 573-886-8900
Fax: 573-886-8901

Facebook Twitter You Tube Linked In Rss Feed
Review Us

Back to Top

"The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements."

- Lance

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters.