Do Facebook and Google have your tax returns?

Before you say laugh and say no, read this extremely disturbing article, which ought to win some sort of award for investigative journalism. 

Major tax filing services such as H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer have been quietly transmitting sensitive financial information to Facebook when Americans file their taxes online, The Markup has learned....

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.

TaxAct, which says it has about three million “consumer and professional users,” also uses Google’s analytics tool on its website, and The Markup found similar financial data, but not names, being sent to Google through its tool.

I try never to send tax return data over the internet. I download a copy of TurboTax onto my computer, prepare my taxes there, print out a paper return, and snail-mail the whole thing to the IRS and the many Oregon weasels with their hands in us taxpayers' pockets. Who knows? My computer may still be sending information God knows where. But at least I'm not consciously uploading it.

If there isn't a law against the Meta "pixel" and the Google 'bot listening in on people's conversations with H&R Block, then dammit, there oughta be. Nina Olson, a highly respected former taxpayer advocate at the IRS, thinks existing laws may have been broken.

Any disclosure from a tax preparer must provide the exact purpose and recipient to be in compliance, Olson said. “Do they have a list saying they’re going to disclose the refund amounts, and your children, and your whatever to Facebook?” she said. If not, she said, they may be in violation of regulations....

Mandi Matlock, a Harvard Law School lecturer focused on tax law, said The Markup’s findings showed taxpayers “providing some of the most sensitive information that they own, and it’s being exploited.”

“This is appalling,” she said. “It truly is.” 

You ain't kiddin', lady. "Don't be evil," my eye. 


  1. I try to keep a low profile. That’s very difficult today. If I openly comment on the invasive aspects of government and big tech, I will be labeled a conspiracy boob with a tin hat.

    I have fond memories of freedom

    1. If you are able to comment on this blog, Google is watching you, I'm afraid.

  2. It's crazy how taxes are so complicated that even you use Turbo Tax


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