Tax Collectors Use MySpace, Google to Find Deadbeats

Public profiles can provide valuable income information for revenue agents
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2009 3:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – Internet-savvy state tax collectors are using a new tool in tracking down evaders: social networking websites. Tax collectors are taking advantage of the fact that an individual’s MySpace or Facebook profile often contains quite a bit of professional information, the Wall Street Journal reports. Agents in Nebraska, for example, recently collected $2,000 from a DJ who advertised a prominent gig on MySpace.

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MySpace works best, agents say, because the majority of profiles are public. Google is also a valuable resource, because it provides easy access to company personnel rosters that can give a rough idea of income. Facebook may be the safest for evaders, because profiles by default are viewable only by “friends.” In Nebraska and California, agents aren’t allowed to friend individuals using sham profiles to collect information.
(Read more tax evasion stories.)

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