Tax Rebates & Refunds

HMRC makes use of social media to catch tax fraudsters

February 27, 2013
Posted in Fraud — Written by Jennifer

As part of a new campaign to crack down on tax evasion and fraud, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is now making use of social media and social networking platforms to find evidence of fraud.

HMRC has not released specific details on how it is using the internet to catch fraudsters or what it considers to be evidence in tax evasion cases. However, the head of analytics at the organisation, Mike Hainey, has told the Computing website that the implementation of its brand new data Connect analytics system has meant that HMRC can feed in information from the internet to use as part of tax investigations.

Mr Hainey said:

“[It's] information that we can obtain that is visible and available legally for HMRC to review,”

He also indicated that the sorts of websites and platforms HMRC will make use of will include Facebook and Twitter, as well as sites such as RatedPeople.com where businesses ply their trade and customers leave comments.

Of course, the income tax and tax rebate department will not be the first to use information freely available on the internet. Reputation management firms, for example, use information on social networks to gather evidence for misuse of corporate imagery or potentially libellous comments.

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