It’s fun to share pictures and details of your life on Facebook, showing off your new car or 32-foot sailboat, your Caribbean cruise, expensive purchases or Vegas winnings. However, your friends and family aren’t the only ones able to see and read about your good fortune. Did you know you have an unknown, unapproved, and uninvited “friend” who is able to view everything you post, tweet or click? —the Internal Revenue Service. Besides being cautious on Facebook, think twice before sending an email or text message, especially if it contains financial information.
This past April, the IRS announced that it can read text messages and emails, without a court order or search warrant. This seems to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”. However, the IRS 2009 employee handbook claims that this amendment does not protect emails because the person sending the email doesn’t “have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications”.
So, if you want to convey private and personal information, including financial data, remember to do so face-to-face or via a land line.
For more information on our Tax Planning & Preparation Services, contact Jim Forbes by leaving a comment below or by calling 440-449-6800.