Daily Caller: IRS Using Google Maps to Spy on Taxpayers:
Agents from the IRS are using Google Maps as part of their tool kit to audit taxpayers and organizations, The Daily Caller has learned.
A redacted IRS letter dated Sept. 8, 2011 [Priv. Ltr. Rul. 2013-13-031] reveals that at least in one case the IRS’s examiners used photos of a property, obtained through Google Maps, as evidence to revoke the 501(c)(4) status of a homeowner’s association.
“The road consists of a two-mile loop around the inside of the property. It goes not have any sidewalks or bicycle lanes. The examining agent printed and copied a map from Google Maps (www.google.com) into this report,” states the letter. ...
In formal guidance issued to IRS agents inspecting historical conservation sites, however, Google Maps and the online real estate database Zillow are mentioned as tools to help determine whether a property meets the regulatory requirements necessary to receive charitable contributions. ... The guidance, which is posted publicly online at the IRS’s website, was last revised on Jan. 3, 2012. An agency manual, effective Oct. 1, 2013, also lists Google, Google Maps, and a number of other Internet search tools to help agents spy on taxpayers.
In July 2012, according to USASpending.gov, the Treasury Department and the IRS awarded a $9,585 contract to Virginia-based information technology vendor ICS Nett, Inc. to pay for “Google Maps License and Maintenance.” ...
Government tax collectors in Lithuania, Estonia, Greece, and the U.K. have also used Google Maps and Google Street View against suspected tax dodgers.
The TaxProf Blog warned in 2010 that the practice was coming to the U.S. after witnessing it transpire in Greece.