Avoiding a Virtual Audit

One of the major stories in the news recently was about “Big Data” — the U.S. government tracking us through our Internet usage and Verizon cell phones.


Ostensibly, the NSA isn’t getting customer names or the content of our phone conversations. But that hasn’t assuaged the concerns of some citizens, who fear Big Brother cobbling together bits and pieces from our electronic lives in order to draw conclusions about our likes, dislikes, friendships, spending patterns and lifestyle.


In fact, according to Brian Dooley of the International Tax Counselors Blog, the IRS has a new supercomputer designed to do exactly that.


Mr. Dooley is reporting that the IRS has more than 3,000 pages of data on each of us, and that “the IRS Super Robot… is creating a DNA blueprint of your behavior.”


According to the article available here, the IRS supercomputer:

  • is combing through EBay, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp and all social media, your Internet searches, and your email in some cases
  • has access to every social media posting going back 5 years
  • is so powerful, it can read 200 million e-Filed tax returns in 10 hours

What’s the purpose of all this snooping? In theory, using data trolling tools, facial recognition, artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms, the IRS might be able to find evidence of under-reported income… a boondoggle deducted as a ”business trip”… or raise questions about how one can afford a new Lexus based on one’s reported salary.


Once the robot locates you, it sends your return to an audit manager. And voila, you’ve been “robo-audited.”


IRS audits: evidently one more thing that’s gone virtual.