Tax filing companies’ use of customers’ data under scrutiny

What are online tax preparation companies doing with customers’ data? Members of Congress sent a letter this week urging the IRS to investigate.

A report published last fall in the publication, The Markup, disclosed that online tax filing services were sending taxpayers’ identities and financial information to Facebook through code called Pixel. Specifically, it found that the Meta Pixel collected taxpayers’ personal information through online e-filing services, including taxpayers’ names, income, filing status, refund status, dependents, health savings accounts, college tuition grants, and college scholarship amounts of their dependents. The Markup reported that it also found similar financial data being sent to Google.

In the letter to the IRS, U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff, Judy Chu and Raja Krishnamoorthi asked the IRS to investigate, adding that the disclosure of taxpayers’ personal information potentially violated the tax code and may allow for criminal penalties for “tax return preparers who knowingly or recklessly disclose or use taxpayer information without consent.”

In December, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her colleagues sent a similar letter seeking answers from the corporations Meta and Google, and the tax preparation companies, including H&R Block, Intuit, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer.

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