How taxmen are tracking your Facebook pictures to ensure proper filing of taxes…

Never underestimate the government especially when it comes to collecting more and more taxes. One may be posting his/her pics on EB to draw several likes and neighbor’s envy but is now also drawing attention from tax authorities.

Next time you are hiding your taxes saying low business income etc for the year, pop will come a picture from your Facebook showing a foreign holiday recently. The question the tax person will ask is if incomes are indeed low how did this holiday come about?

Income-tax officers have found new ammunition with which to extract correct information from taxpayers. The ammunition in question are social media posts, such as photographs of an overseas vacation or a new car, which the taxpayer has shared among his friends, little knowing that the same could be used by taxmen. Surprisingly , it is I-T officials in non-metros who are increasingly vetting social media posts of taxpayers.Prominent chartered accountants in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi whom TOI spoke with haven’t come across such instances.

 
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex body of the income tax department, has not issued any directive to its tax officers to scour social media. However, an I-T official admitted he finds it useful, in certain instances, to look up social media posts of a taxpayer to gather information.
“This isn’t harassment as the posts are publicly available. We don’t jump to conclusions, but ask questions, which results in correct tax assessment,” said the official. Glimpses of how this was done in their client’s cases were shared by several CAs. “The main purpose is to `spook’ the taxpayer.So if the I-T officer says he will make an addition to the taxable income declared by the taxpayer in the I-T return, either by denying certain expenditure that was claimed, or by enhancing the income declared, the taxpayer (who is a businessman) may start cribbing on how his `dhanda’ is not going well. Just as he is getting into the flow on how things could not have been worse, the I-T officer shows him pictures of his foreign trip a month back, which was shared by the taxpayer on Facebook,” explains a chartered accountant (CA) based in Asansol, West Bengal.
Fascinating. Be careful people.. Something are best kept as private..

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