CANADA REVENUE AGENCY MONITORING FACEBOOK, TWITTER POSTS OF SOME CANADIANS

The Canada Revenue Agency is scrutinizing the Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other social media posts of Canadians it suspects could be cheating on their taxes.

That’s just one example of the agency’s increasing focus on what it can learn by collecting and analyzing many kinds of data — both its own internally generated information and what it calls “publicly available information.”

“The CRA does practice risk-based compliance, so for taxpayers identified as high risk, any relevant, publicly available information relating to the specific risk-based factors for the taxpayer may be consulted as part of our fact-gathering processes,” said spokesperson David Walters.

Among those considered high risk are wealthy Canadians with offshore bank accounts, said Jean-François Ruel, director of CRA’s Strategy and Integration Branch.

“If we go with high-risk, high-wealth individuals that do offshore [banking], then we would look at all information that is public for compliance action.”

Tobi Cohen, spokesperson for the privacy commissioner, said CRA notified it of its plan to collect publicly available information from social media in connection with “tax fraud and non-compliance risk analysis, audits and investigations.

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