Closing the Tax Gap through Modern Information Technology

PictureBy Sam Hampton

Congratulations—you just hit a $5000 jackpot on a slot machine! Would you be more likely to report this income on your 1040 (as you should) if you knew the casino would report the winnings to the IRS? Would you be more likely to report a cash tip income if you found out that a waiter had been prosecuted for tax fraud for failure to report his tips? A recent New York Times article suggests that taxpayers are much more likely to report in either of these situations—and modern information technology provides new avenues for both auditing and monitoring taxpayers. Continue reading

SCOTUS Dodges Privacy Issue … For Now

imrs (1)By Andrew H. Fuller

Last Monday (Nov. 9), the Supreme Court of the United States declined cert to petition Davis, Quartavius v. United States. The case focused on whether the police must obtain a warrant in order to access and review cellphone location data held by carriers. In brief, Davis was convicted of several counts of robbery based on evidence that was largely constructed from cellphone location data the state obtained from Davis’s mobile carrier, MetroPCS, without a warrant. Of particular concern to both Davis and privacy advocates was the data regarding the cell tower locations that Davis’s phone connected to at certain dates and times. The Eleventh Circuit held that Davis did not have a privacy interest in the historical cell site location data and therefore no warrant was necessary. Continue reading