“This Is Appalling”: Major Tax Filing Services Have Been Sending Financial Information To Facebook

Major tax filing services, including H&R Block, TaxAct and TaxSlayer, have been covertly sending Facebook sensitive financial information when Americans file their taxes online, according to The Markup.

The data includes names, email addresses, income, filing status, refund amounts and college scholarship information – which is sent to Facebook regardless of whether a person even has a Facebook account – or with other platforms owned by Meta. The company can then be used to fine tune advertising algorithms.

It is sent through widely used code called the Meta Pixel.

Of note, Intuit-owned TurboTax does use Meta Pixel, however the company did not send financial information – just usernames and the last time a device signed in. Beyond that, they have kept Pixel entirely off pages beyond sign in.

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service processes about 150 million individual returns filed electronically, and some of the most widely used e-filing services employ the pixel, The Markup found. 

When users sign up to file their taxes with the popular service TaxAct, for example, they’re asked to provide personal information to calculate their returns, including how much money they make and their investments. A pixel on TaxAct’s website then sent some of that data to Facebook, including users’ filing status, their adjusted gross income, and the amount of their refund, according to a review by The Markup. Income was rounded to the nearest thousand and refund to the nearest hundred. The pixel also sent the names of dependents in an obfuscated, but generally reversible, format. -The Markup

TaxAct, which services around three million “consumer and professional users,” also sends data to Google via the company’s analytics tool, however names are not included in the information. – READ MORE