Democrats call for probe into disclosure of taxpayer information to Facebook

Greg Nash
A download screen for Facebook is arranged for a photograph on Friday, August 19, 2022.

House Democrats are calling for an investigation into major online tax filing companies over their disclosure of personal data of taxpayers to Facebook.

The group of lawmakers led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) publicly pushed the IRS to investigate companies like H&R Block, TaxAct and TaxSlayer after a report by The Markup in November revealed that the companies were sending the sensitive data of their users to Facebook.

The Markup found that the companies were not only sending information such as names and email addresses, but were also sharing financial data like income information, filing status, refund amounts and college scholarship amounts. The Democrats argue that it is a significant breach in consumer privacy.

“We believe that the American people deserve to know whose personal information was shared with Meta and Facebook, how this was allowed to happen, and what steps the IRS will take to ensure this cannot happen again,” the letter to the IRS said. “We strongly urge you to take swift action to thoroughly investigate, take steps to mitigate the harm caused, and protect the rights of American taxpayers.”

Nearly 78 percent of all tax filings were filed electronically in 2021, according to the IRS. Around 90 percent of individual returns were filed that way.

In addition to calling for an investigation, the members also asked the tax agency to answer a number of questions, including how many people the government can determine to have had their data shared with Facebook.

The IRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tags Adam Schiff democrats investigation IRS tax information

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