IRS use of social media for information mining connected to audits has been rumored, but it has not been confirmed until a recent request for information shows that it is seeking to formalize a tool to compile relevant public information from social media sites. The request reads that “businesses and individuals increasingly use social media to advertise, promote, and sell products and services. For example, taxpayers can create ‘online stores’ on social networking sites free of cost. Much of this information s unrestricted, allowing the public, business and various governmental agencies to discover taxpayers’ locations and income sources. But the IRS currently has no formal tool to access this public information, compile social media feeds, or search multiple social media sites.” The URS currently heavily restricts social media research through policies that bar personal social media accounts used for work, as well as a the use of fake accounts for several different work tasks.
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