A class action lawsuit has been filed against H&R Block, Meta, and Google, alleging that the three companies conspired to install trackers on the H&R Block website to collect and transmit tax data for targeted advertising. The lawsuit claims that this conduct amounts to racketeering activity covered under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), typically used for organized crime. The lawsuit stems from a Congressional report that found multiple tax preparation firms, including H&R Block, “recklessly” shared sensitive tax data without proper safeguards. The lawsuit seeks full refunds for affected taxpayers and punitive damages for the alleged illegal conduct.
Attorneys argue that H&R Block, Meta, and Google intentionally violated taxpayers’ privacy rights for financial gain. The main plaintiff, Justin Hunt, claims to have used H&R Block’s software to file his taxes between 2013 and 2018 without being aware of his personal tax data being intercepted. The lawsuit alleges that H&R Block used Meta’s Pixel tracking service, and that Meta would receive a dossier of personal data when users logged onto Facebook or Instagram, even if they did not have an account. The suit also claims that Google interacted with the tax data through H&R Block’s use of Google Analytics, intercepting and collecting personal and sensitive information of consumers for its own use.
The lawsuit highlights the significance of taxpayer data privacy and accuses H&R Block of handing customer income tax information over to advertisers, comparing it to a marketing firm having access to pay stubs and tax returns. This case is part of a larger issue of tax preparation firms sharing sensitive data without appropriate consent or safeguards. The lawsuit seeks to hold the three companies accountable for their allegedly illegal conduct and demands full refunds for affected taxpayers and punitive damages.