top of page
  • The Kiplinger Tax Letter & The Markup

Beware of Privacy Issues if Using Tax Software to Prepare Your Own Return

The following excerpt was originally posted in the February 16th, 2023 The Kiplinger Tax Letter. We do not claim to be the author, nor the owner of this content.


Beware of Privacy Issues if Using Tax Software to Prepare Your Own Return

The news website The Markup reported that three online tax filing firms... TaxAct, TaxSlayer, and H&R Block... sent various taxpayer information to Meta, the parent company of Facebook. This story has rankled federal lawmakers. A group of senators sent a letter late last year to the heads of Meta and the three tax firms to get answers. And this month, three House members asked Treasury inspectors to investigate the data-sharing practices if online tax preparation.





Congressional Report Finds Meta and Tax Prep Companies “Recklessly” Shared Taxpayers’ Data

The following excerpt was originally posted in the July 12th, 2023 The Markup. We do not claim to be the author, nor the owner of this content.


Congressional Report Finds Meta and Tax Prep Companies “Recklessly” Shared Taxpayers’ Data


The report determined that the tax prep companies installed tracking tools from Meta and Google on their services without a full understanding of how tax data might be collected and used, and that the companies were “still not fully aware of the current status of millions of taxpayers’ data.”


Tax data is tightly regulated, with penalties for improper sharing including fines and jail time. The report found the companies involved likely didn’t receive proper consent to share the data and could face criminal penalties.


The lawmakers provided the report today to various federal enforcement agencies and asked them in a letter to investigate and prosecute any company or individual who broke the law. The agencies include the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission.


Meta claims to have automated mechanisms to filter out sensitive data, but the lawmakers’ report claims those safeguards are “woefully inadequate” and appear to exist only to provide “a modicum of deniability.” According to the report, Meta told congressional staff that it sent notifications to tax prep companies about the data after The Markup requested comment ahead of publication, but the tax prep companies said they never received those notifications.


The tax prep companies also contacted Meta multiple times after The Markup’s article was published to learn about the final status of their customers’ data, according to the report, but walked away without a satisfying answer.


3 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page