Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service does not believe that.
And in some cases, the IRS is correct. When you post something on Facebook, Twitter or the like, you are allowing anyone who wants to look to see that posting. In these instances, you do not have an expectation of privacy because you have, de facto, waived it.
On the other hand, I think it is reasonable to assume that the IRS cannot read your emails without a court order or warrant. The American public treats emails just like it treats telephone calls and/or postal mail.
The problem is that some Courts agree and others disagree. And that is creating chaos in the system as the IRS can now, potentially, create a warrantless search based upon the suspicions of an unaccountable bureaucrat. (You know, the same people who make rules for health care and our energy policy – and how is that working out for you?)
Congress is talking about creating a law to prohibit the IRS from reading our emails. Maybe they can agree or maybe they cannot. Only time will tell.
Accordingly, I think twice before writing an email and I am more likely to call a client to express a financial opinion.
Is this another government intrusion on our liberties? What do you think?