“Information is power”
The IRS knows that better than anyone. The Information Age arrived and computers became everyday, "personal" information devices. Not surprisingly, once our personal information went into circulation, the IRS started grabbing it. The IRS has been data-mining since early 2009 and the pace is accelerating. Today, the IRS gets your information from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, EBay/PayPal, and credit card processors (just to name a few).
People are willing, even eager, to share personal details knowing they have little to no control over who has access to them. The IRS's power was more limited when it had limited sources of information. Those limits are gone now because the IRS gets information about your income, expenses, assets, and lifestyle from an ever-increasing number of places.
How much does the IRS know?
Right now, IRS computers are sorting your data into over 32,000 categories based on more than 1,000,000 identifying factors. Where do you live, travel, eat - what do you buy, sell, rent - who are your friends, colleagues, neighbors, partners - the list is endless.
Why does it matter?
For one simple reason.
The IRS is using "predictive" computer programs to target individuals and groups for audits and tax fraud analysis. We don't know, and the IRS won't say, how those programs are designed or how they work. The only thing we do know is they're working, right now, on a database that, more likely than not, includes something about you.
What can you do?
Don’t be your own whistleblower!
Everything you do online leaves information behind creating an electronic footprint. If you don't exercise control over your information, that footprint and your potential exposure to unwanted IRS scrutiny will only grow.