Don’t use H&R Block for your taxes

Its that time of year, you need to file your taxes, and for those of us who either can’t or don’t want to pay some one to prepare the the best option for the past few years has been one of the many computer programs that walk you through the process.  For the past few years I have purchased the H&R block program and used that to help me file.

Typically one either has purchased a CD or downloaded the program via the internet.  This year I noticed it was different, they went immediately to the data collection process with all of my information stored on their cloud based server.  This made me some what nervous as I really am not comfortable with the security protocols on many cloud based applications.  So I did some thing I do not do often enough; I checked the terms of service. www.hrblock.com/…

It is horifying.

We may disclose your information (individually or in aggregate form) to affiliates or non-affiliated third parties (including government entities) when we have a good faith belief that such disclosure is required or permitted by law. This may occur, for example, in connection with a court order, legal process, or other judicial,administrative or investigative proceeding. This may occur in other situations as part of our business operations (including disclosure to H&R Block franchisees or disclosures as part of the sale of our business or assets).

Part of that is reasonable, disclosure to government entities, I hope only when the government has a subpoena or court order but the rest is horrendous.  Any “affiliate”  or non-affiliated third party (so basically anyone) when permitted by law as long as they “believe” it is permitted.  These people know my social security number, date of birth address, income, expenditures, family situation, and a whole lot more and they think they can sell it or provide it to a business affiliate, or even a non-affiliate.

It actually gets worse:

Where permitted by law, we may disclose your information to joint marketers and business partners with whom we have joint marketing agreements. We require all joint marketers to have written contracts with us that specify appropriate use of your information, require them to safeguard your information, and prohibit them from making unauthorized or unlawful use of your information. If a state law (or other law) requires us to give you the right to opt-out prior to any disclosure of your information for joint marketing, we will not disclose your information for such purposes without providing such opt-out or obtaining your consent to such disclosure.

I tried the opt out clause, it did not work. They are going to sell my information basically to any one who forms a “Business partnership” with them, they expect me to trust them with my most personal data.  Essentially that could be anyone who pays H&R Block for a joint business agreement, and promises to use some form of “safeguard” for your information.

About the only good thing I see is that they promise not to sell my information to direct marketers (WooHoo).  This is getting ridiculous.  I am going to look at one of the many alternatives, I can assure you I am not going to be using H&R Block until they change their TOC. 

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