Is my taxpayer data safe?

In mid-July, news outlets were reporting that some of America’s largest tax preparation companies have spent years sharing sensitive financial data with Meta and Google. This is based on a report from several Senators and a Representative which can be found here. Some of the low-cost industry giants are implicated including specifically named H&R Block, TaxSlayer and TaxAct. This includes the TaxAct’s IRS Free File service!

This isn’t your ordinary hack or scam! This was a deliberate tracking of information that intentionally sent millions of Americans’ personal information to the tech industry without consent or appropriate disclosures. Information that was shared includes names, phone numbers, email addresses and taxpayer data like filing status, adjusted gross income, tax refund information and even button and form clicks that may reveal what forms or credits were used. This gathering and sharing of data may go back as far as 2011 in some cases.

There will likely be more to come on this investigation as news outlets dig more into the cases sited and as details continue to come out. In the interim, we recommend asking questions before you give anyone your tax information. Do they outsource data? Is all data kept in the United States or does any data go offshore? How are outsourced resources vetted? Does the preparer use AI or automated scanning? Do they have secure transfer portals?

There is no guarantee against hacking; however, your tax preparer should never share your information with any third party.

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