Tax preparation software platforms from TaxAct, TaxSlayer, and H&R Block shared users’ personal and financial information with Facebook parent-company Meta through a widespread code called the Meta Pixel. Information included names, email addresses, income, filing status, refund amounts, and college scholarship amounts. Once sent to Facebook, the data can be used to drive its advertising algorithms — whether the user has a Facebook or other Meta platform account.
Reporting from The Markup and The Verge shines a light on these hidden practices connecting tax prep companies with giant social media and technology corporations. These widely-used platforms, which all employ the pixel code, are among the companies providing electronic filing services to as many as 150 million individuals each year. Each requires filers to provide a wide array of information to calculate their returns, including income and investments; Facebook received some of the data, including poorly-obscured dependent names.
Additionally, through its use of Google Analytics, TaxAct may have sent some of the information, without names, to Alphabet. Intuit, whose TurboTax platform is among the most used during tax season, also used a pixel that sent non-financial information such as usernames and email addresses to Meta.