Tax Filing Professional AccountantsThe April 15th deadline for filing your taxes is right around the corner. Millions of Americans have already gone through the process, some with the assistance of professional accountants and others choosing to do it themselves. In fact, the IRS just published some of its 2019 tax filing season statistics on their website.

According to the IRS, Just a little over 16 million people have already received their individual income tax returns, while 13,306,000 are still being processed. 5,440,000 Americans have used the help of tax professionals, while close to 10 million people have done it themselves.

Personal Data Free Tax Filing ServicesAs you can see, many individuals choose to save money on filing their taxes and prepare the paperwork themselves. But what is it costing them? In the most popular global hub for high technology, innovation and social media known as Silicon Valley, there’s an old adage that says “If the product is free, that means you are the product.” It seems like these days free online tax filing services capture intimate details from your tax returns, such as how much you earn and what is your mortgage payment. Professional accountants know that the end goal of these online services is to target you with financial advertising. Credit Karma is the latest company to come up in this free tax prep arena, and Americans are paying with their privacy.

TurboTax and H&R Block are well-known for their limited free tax filing services, but they’re also always offering upgrades which individuals can pay for. There are pro bono type of organizations that help filing taxes at zero cost, however those are more limited to Americans who make less than $66,000 in income a year.

Tax Filing Personal DataCredit Karma is known as a credit score website, and is widely popular. With over 85 million users, it’s safe to say they have quite an audience. Today, they’ve gotten in to the tax filing business. They offer a free service, but makes money by tailoring a wide variety of offers to its customers. Think credit cards and loans based on a financial profile that includes tax returns, unless customers adjust a setting to opt out. In other words, tax filing is free, but the cost is personal data. Grabbing personal data and offering new products through advertising gives Credit Karma the potential to make between tens and hundreds of dollars every time a customer accepts a credit card or loan. It’s algorithms hard at work.

When using these types of free tax filing websites, ask yourself a few questions. How is your personal information being used, is it shared and with whom, as well as is the company holding on to this personal data. If you sync up your tax return inside Credit Karma’s marketing system, you give the company the legal right to use your personal info for an entire decade. If you choose to deactivate your account, it can still take up to two years to delete your personal data entirely, because of regulatory requirements.

If you don’t want to pay with your privacy, leave your tax filing to a professional accountant. You can count on over 30 years of experience and a reputable team that keeps your personal data private. Call 305.868.7620 for a full range of accounting services in a confidential environment.