No Expectation of Privacy for Facebook Photos

Privacy for Facebook photosA picture is worth a thousand words… especially to a Jury… especially when you posted it on Facebook yourself.

A recent decision from the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals regarding a personal injury cases states, “If a photograph is worth a thousand words, there is no better portrayal of what an individual’s life was like than those photographs the individual has chosen to share through social media before the existence of any motive to manipulate reality. The photographs sought here are thus powerfully relevant to the damage issues in the lawsuit.”

Even if you have your privacy setting set to the maximum privacy available, nothing you put on Facebook or the internet is ever 100% private.

The Court opinion in this matter said, “By creating a Facebook account, a user acknowledges personal information will be shared with others, the court said, as that is the very purpose of social networking. Facebook itself does not guarantee privacy.”

The Plaintiff in the above matter claimed that she had a reasonable expectation of privacy for Facebook photos and that they were not “discoverable” (meaning that they should be provided to Opposing Counsel during the “Discovery Process” of litigation).

The Court disagreed and allowed them into evidence.

This lesson on expectation of privacy for Facebook photos is no longer just for teenagers and children. Adults, especially professional adults, must realize that there is very little, if any, expectation of privacy on the internet.

If you do not want someone to read or see something, then do not post it.

ITINs and U.S. Taxes for Foreign Taxpayers

U.S. taxes for foreign taxpayersAn Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) allows a foreign individual to file taxes with the IRS. There have been over 21 million ITINs issued since the program began in 1996.

ITINS are designed for tax administration purposes and are only issued to people who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). ITINs play a critical role in tax administration for foreign nationals, resident and nonresident aliens and others who have tax filing or tax payment obligations.

Due to an overwhelming number of unused ITINs, the IRS will deactivate an ITIN that has not been used on at least one tax return in the past five consecutive years beginning in 2016.

It is estimated that only about ¼ of the ITINs issued are actually being used on U.S. taxes for foreign taxpayers. This new system is designed so that the ITINs not being used will expire and the ITINs that are being used will no longer expire after five years, forcing the foreign taxpayer to apply for a new ITIN, as long as the foreign taxpayers continue to file U.S. tax returns.

For help with U.S. taxes for foreign taxpayers contact Boyer Law Firm today for assistance with tax planning, estate planning, and much more.