Every year there are threads collecting the lowest prices for tax prep software trying to catch the Cyber Monday deals. Often there are threads discussing the security and convenience of online versus download tools. Sometimes there are threads discussing the advantages and disadvantages of e-file versus mail in because of security, convenience, and complexity. I have not found any discussions about what the companies do with your data after you file. H&R Block explicitly says they collect everything:
What information do we collect?
As part of providing products and services to you, we may collect information, including personal information, about you, your spouse, your dependents, or your business when you use our services.
Personal information is data that can be used to identify you, your spouse, or your dependents individually. The information we may collect includes, but is not limited to:
Contact Information (e.g., name, phone number, address, and email address);
Social Security number and other government identification numbers (e.g., EIN, Driver’s License Number and ITIN);
Date of Birth;
Financial Information (e.g., income, revenue, assets, credits, deductions, expenses, and bank account information);
Payment Data (e.g., checking, debit and credit card account numbers, balances and payment history);
Health Information (e.g., health insurance status and financial information related to payment for healthcare services);
Website, Mobile Application, and Email Usage Data;
Device Information (e.g., internet protocol (IP) address, device type, unique identifier, app version, operating system, network data, and phone state);
Login Information; and
TaxAct has less explicit wording but does talk about collecting "Tax Return Information" and using it in limited ways:
We disclose Tax Return Information in accordance with your requests, such as when you direct us to file a tax return with the IRS or to a state taxing authority or you provide your express consent to disclose information to a third party offering its own product or service.
TurboTax seems to be the only tool that has explicitly said "We do not have your financial information if you use our desktop products and you print and mail your return". I'm no lawyer so I'll ask: Is there anything functionally different between the user agreements of the major tax prep software tools? Does it even matter since like all license agreements there is always a "we can change anything whenever we want" clause?