DISCLAIMER: This is not how Mac Neal LLC stores personal data, and our clients are not affected by the information in this article.
- Here to add another layer of dread ahead of the upcoming tax season, The Markup reported that some of the biggest online e-filing services—unbeknownst to millions of users—have been sharing sensitive user financial information with Meta. Some services linked user names and email addresses with detailed information like income, refund amounts, filing status, and even the amount of dependents’ college scholarships.
- These services include H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer, which transmit data via a tool that Meta provides for businesses called the Meta Pixel. The Markup published the data sent to Meta by these companies, which it confirmed was sometimes generated and shared “regardless of whether the person using the tax filing service has an account on Facebook” or other Meta services.
Meta provides the Meta Pixel as a code that businesses can customize and embed on their websites to gather information to help businesses improve targeted marketing campaigns on Meta platforms. In return for this service, Meta gets to use the shared data to drive its own algorithms in its mission to know just about everything that can be known about its own users.
The Markup asked the Internal Revenue Service to verify whether tax preparers sharing sensitive financial information with Meta violated IRS regulations, but the IRS declined to comment.
Google Is Also Collecting Tax Data
While The Markup’s report focused on the Meta Pixel, their investigation also revealed that TaxAct was sharing financial information with Google through its use of Google Analytics. In those cases, names weren’t shared, but information like income and refund amounts were.