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H&R Block’s Privacy Policy

A reader points to the H&R Block Canada privacy policy, which includes the following gem for Canadians handing over their personal tax information:

Due to H&R US's location in the United States, and in instances where your personal information is processed or stored by another affiliate or service provider in the United States, courts or law enforcement or regulatory agencies may be able to obtain disclosure of your personal information under the laws of the United States.

10 Comments

  1. Given how easy it would be for them to store the data on Canadian servers and thus not have the information vulnerable to U.S. access I’ve gotta wonder why their doing this? Another way for the U.S. gov. to accumulate data on anyone and everyone?

    And why us H&R when it’s so easy and cheap to pick up some tax software or even use an online tool at the local library for those without a computer. I know, I know, all those who just don’t know better and who don’t have a nasty and suspicious mindset like some of us.

  2. reader
    Also, they share your info with other financial services companies for purposes such as marketing and debt collection.

    Furthermore, “under the laws of the United States” does not require a warrant if you’re not a US citizen.

  3. Given that they are upfront about it, and there are options, I can’t see the problem. This isn’t H&R Block’s fault.

  4. They could choose not to send the information to the US or share it with any other companies. That this is their practice is absolutely their fault; that they disclose it is Canadian law.

  5. [ link ]

  6. If you are a subsidiary, you don’t have that choice. If you don’t like it, either use a differrnt preparer or actually do your own return.

  7. I was thinking about going to H&R Block for my taxes this year, as 2007 was my first year as a freelance consultant and I don’t know too much about filing business taxes. After reading this, I will definitely not be going to them.

  8. My inlaws own an H&R franchise and all their information is stored on their own local server. H&R Canada has no right to access it with out the customers permission.

  9. franchise owner says:

    H & R Block
    I own a franchise in Quebec of H & R block and no one can get information on data of my clients My data is saved on my local hard disk and no one can search my data without my permission

  10. HR Block
    Oh for God’s sake, people, get over it already. Your personal information is stored all over the world by any number of your service providers. You are naive if you think otherwise.

    For the record, the law is pretty muddled here. There’s nothing in PIPEDA that says that your personal information cannot be shipped outside of Canada. The federal Privacy Commissioner has said that organizations should give notice when PI is stored/processed outside of Canada, but her comments do not have the force of law. That’s a good thing too, because her view, although eminently practical, is probably technically wrong – technically a disclosure to a foreign government acting under its lawful authority is not one of the Section 7 situations for which consent is not required. So, the counsel of caution is to obtain consent – not to shipping the info out of Canada, but to disclosing it to a foreign government authority in those circumstances.

    As for the comment by “reader” above, I think that’s wrong, but stand to be corrected if they could cite the law that is the basis for the comment.