Wednesday 21 August 2019

Taxman admits to facebook 'trawl'

Revenue inspectors have admitted trawling the pages of Facebook in a bid to gather information about taxpayers for audit purposes, writes Patricia McDonagh.

Evert Bopp, a Dutch technology entrepreneur, was shocked when a tax inspector produced a print out of his activities on social networking sites.

Mr Bopp, who has lived in Ireland since 1995, said when Revenue arrived to conduct the audit last Tuesday, he was asked about information he had posted on Facebook, Xing and LinkedIn. "I was surprised when the auditor took out a printout of my Facebook profile," he said. "It is hardly a legally binding document. I wasn't afraid as I had nothing to hide."

A spokesperson for the Revenue said last night that the use of information from Facebook and other sites was not the result of a specific policy decision.

He told the Irish Independent auditors will use "any sources of information" that are publicly available to them for background before an audit.

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