Active Matters

Tax Data Leak Investigation

November 2022

Don't be like Andy.

What happened with my tax data? 

In November 2022, investigative journalists at The Markup published a bombshell report on major tax services' sharing of highly sensitive user data with Meta (i.e., Facebook) via the Meta Pixel. You can view the full report here

In a nutshell, here's what seems to have happened. Several online tax-preparation services with collective usership in the tens of millions have allegedly "been quietly transmitting sensitive financial information to Facebook when Americans file their taxes online."

"Th[is] data, sent through widely used code called the Meta Pixel, includes not only information like names and email addresses but often even more detailed information, including data on users' income, filing status, refund amounts, and dependents' college scholarship amounts." 

This information may have been used by Facebook to "power its advertising algorithms," and was "gathered regardless of whether the person using the tax filing service has an account on Facebook or other platforms operated by its owner, Meta."

Who cares? 

Perhaps you hear all this and think: 'whatever, my data is always getting collected online.' Sorry partner––this time you should reconsider. While some data collection is indeed part of the reality of digital life, the information collected here appears to be well beyond the norm.

The data collection at issue here may have been collected and transmitted to Meta in violation of the tax-prep services' terms of service, in violation of Meta's own policies, and––perhaps most importantly–-in violation of IRS rules regarding transmission and use of taxpayer data.

Which companies did this? Was I targeted?

Four different tax preparation services are called out in The Markup report:

  1. TaxAct

  2. TaxSlayer

  3. H&R Block (online service)

  4. Ramsey Solutions

These services transmitted different types of data to Meta, in some instances including their users' adjusted gross income, federal refund amount, number of dependents, and more. 

If you used any one of these four services for tax preparation in the past two years, your sensitive data may have been shared with Meta. 

What should I do about it? 

If you used TaxAct, TaxSlayer, H&R Block online, or Ramsey Solutions for your tax preparation, you may have a claim for damages including the possibility of participating in a class-action lawsuit. 

Class actions are important not only to make sure that those injured by wrongful conduct are compensated but also for the deterrent effect such actions have against future malfeasance.

The American legal system is the greatest in the world. Citizens are able to use their power to hold some of the largest corporations in the world to account. Be proud. Stand up for your rights. 

If you used TaxAct, TaxSlayer, H&R Block online, or Ramsey Solutions for your tax preparation and want to learn more about your legal options, contact The Hoda Law Firm today. Give us a call at (832) 848-0036 for a FREE consultation. 

Practice area(s): Civil Litigation, Class Action

Marshal Hoda

Marshal J. Hoda is an award-winning civil litigator passionate about fighting for his clients, legal futurism, mountaineering, and his dogs Leo and Sid.