The IRS has entered social media in hopes of catching tax violations. Look over your statements and claims on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Make sure your posts, pictures and tweets don’t state or imply you tricked the tax man. There is nothing legally wrong with bragging about your good fortune or that live-saving huge deduction you made. Just make sure that your good fortune is properly reported and that your deduction is in line with IRS rules and regulations. Note that this goes they can find out through beyond explicit admissions such as “made a bunch of cash on the side, didn’t report it. Business trips that look suspiciously like personal vacations are a big red flag for audits and other IRS involvement. Pictures or descriptions of deductible “home offices” that have scant evidence of the office are another potentially big mistake. If you resent what might seem like a call to timidity, self-censorship or undue intrusion by the government, learn your social media privacy settings. The IRS is restricted by law as to how much they can find out through social media. They are not allowed to make profiles of “long lost friends” or “potential lucrative business clients” to get past your privacy settings. Simply be mindful of the fact that electronic records are incredibly easy to copy and store. There is one more issue to consider. The IRS has a rewards system for anonymous tips that lead to collected income. This means that if you post status updates, pictures or tweets that incriminate you in a tax law violation, the IRS itself doesn’t have to see it for you to get in trouble. Any of your online friends or followers that can see those posts could report your admission of tax law violation to the IRS.
The government takes strict measures to ensure confidentiality and rewards tips that lead to collected income or other IRS action.
Bragging to others about questionable tax moves within the privacy-settings cocoon is no guarantee of legal protection.