Tax reporting websites have reportedly sent users’ financial information to Facebook.
According to a new report from The Markup, the data was shared via a widely used code called Meta Pixel.
The publication said it includes users’ names, email addresses, enrollment statuses, reimbursement amounts, dependents’ college scholarship amounts, and income information.
According to the markup, the information sent to the social media giant can be used by the company for advertising algorithms and is collected regardless of whether the person using the tax return service has an account on Facebook or another meta-platform or not.
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Some of the most popular e-filing services use the pixel, including TaxAct, H&R Block and TaxSlayer.
According to the markup, a review showed that a pixel on TaxAct’s website sent personal information — including login status, their adjusted gross income, and the amount of their refund — to Facebook.
Relatives’ names were also apparently transmitted in a generally reversible format.
H&R Block, the report said, embedded a pixel that collected information about filers’ use of health savings accounts and dependents’ grants and tuition expenses.
This is because TaxSlayer sent personal information, including phone numbers, the user’s name and the names of any family members of the returnee, as part of Facebook’s “Advanced Matching” system.
“The privacy of our customers is very important to all of us at TaxAct, and we continue to comply with all laws and IRS regulations,” TaxAct said in an emailed statement to Fox News on Wednesday. “Data provided to Facebook is used by TaxAct on an aggregate level and not on an individual level to analyze our advertising effectiveness. TaxAct does not use the information provided by its customers and referenced in the report published by The Markup to serve targeted advertising with Facebook. “
TaxSlayer spokeswoman Molly Richardson told The Markup that she removed the pixel to evaluate its use, noting that Ramsey Solutions “decided to remove the pixel as well.”
“Our customers’ privacy is paramount, and we take concerns about our customers’ information very seriously,” she said.
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“H&R Block has removed the pixels from its do-it-yourself online product to prevent it from collecting tax information from customers,” H&R Block told Fox News.
According to the markup, as of Monday, TaxAct’s website stopped sending Meta financial details, such as earnings and reimbursement amounts, but continued to send the names of dependents.
Also, TaxSlayer and Ramsey Solutions had removed the pixel from their tax return pages, but H&R Block’s page continued to post information about health savings accounts and student grants.
Ramsey Solutions told Fox News Digital that the company “implemented the Meta Pixel to provide a more personalized customer experience.”
“We were NOT aware and were never informed that Facebook is collecting personal tax information through the pixel,” they said. “As soon as we found out about this, we immediately informed TaxSlayer to disable the Ramsey SmartTax pixel.”
According to the markup, Intuit’s TurboTax has also stopped sending usernames through the Pixel at login.
“Intuit does not share tax return information with social media platforms, including Meta (Facebook), for marketing or other purposes. The meta-pixel does not track, collect, or share any information that users enter into TurboTax while filing their taxes. Intuit’s use of Meta Pixel is compliant with Section 7216,” an Intuit spokesman told Fox News in an email.
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Intuit said it is committed to being a responsible steward of customer data and is clear about using it in a global privacy statement.
Fox News Digital’s request for comment from Meta was not immediately answered.