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WSJ  and Forbes

This was all over the news today. Credit Karma bought out AFJC Corporation's online tax platform and is now going to offer a free service. Users can opt-in or opt-out of the data mining, which isn't shared with third parties. They estimate 90% of US tax filers will be eligible.

https://www.creditkarma.com/tax    have to reserve a spot, for now.
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Supported forms


Certain restrictions were listed in a competing deal forum's post:

There is a small single percentage of returns that we don't think we can handle this year. We will identify those in the upfront questions so you don't find out at the end.

We don't support these scenarios:
Filing multiple state or non-resident state returns
State filings without a federal return
Non-resident federal filing – 1040NR (non-resident tax return)
Foreign earned income credit
Non-dependent earned income credit
Married filing separately (MFS) in common law states
Estate and Trust income from K1 forms

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TY, OP.
I like how this company is innovating.

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The company they bought was behind Jackson Hewitt's branded web service.

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Funny how these companies have been charging to do your taxes, then turn around and sell your 'anonymized' data. Show how valuable that data is since there are quite a few ways to do your taxes for free now.

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Thanks, OP!

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hope TT will match..

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I didn't see them supporting form 1098 in their list. Kind of a big one not to support if you want to cater to 90% of taxpayers ...

That makes me worried about how competent they are about this. If using them, I'd recommend verifying their numbers with TurboTax or H&R Block software (some versions usually allow you to prepare for free and only charge you when actually filing with them).

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Giving all your most sensitive info (including all info needed for ID theft, as well as all bank account info) to an obscure company on the net, which has no track record of keeping it secure. What could go wrong?

I guess if you don't have any savings, it's not as much of an issue. For anyone with assets, this doesn't sound like a risk worth taking, just to save $20 or so.

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canoeguy1 said:   Giving all your most sensitive info (including all info needed for ID theft, as well as all bank account info) to an obscure company on the net, which has no track record of keeping it secure. What could go wrong?

I guess if you don't have any savings, it's not as much of an issue. For anyone with assets, this doesn't sound like a risk worth taking, just to save $20 or so.

  
CreditKarma is "an obscure company on the net"??

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gatzdon said:   
canoeguy1 said:   Giving all your most sensitive info (including all info needed for ID theft, as well as all bank account info) to an obscure company on the net, which has no track record of keeping it secure. What could go wrong?

I guess if you don't have any savings, it's not as much of an issue. For anyone with assets, this doesn't sound like a risk worth taking, just to save $20 or so.

  
CreditKarma is "an obscure company on the net"??

  It is, since you have no idea who actually does the data processing for them, and to how many subcontractors this data goes to. It's not CreditKarma itself that's the issue (although I certainly wouldn't trust them with all my sensitive data either). They're just the customer-facing name for this operation.

Again, till they have a proven track record like the bigger tax filing companies, I see them as a risk. Just look at the many data breaches at places like Home Depot or Target, which are huge and (supposedly) well run companies. If THEY can't keep it secure, what makes you think CreditKarma's contractors are any better? 
A data breach here would be a hundrerd times more serious than just having your credit card info stolen.
To each his own when it comes to risk, I guess.

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 It may not be an "obscure" company. But, do you actually know what company is behind Credit Karma?  What security measure do they take to protect your info? Why would you put your most sensitive info to a company you do not know.  Yes you see the commercials but would you give your tax info to some random tax site just because it is free. That is dumb.  

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"Here are just a few of the ways Credit Karma Tax protects your information:
•We use 128-bit or higher encryption for transmission of data, firewalls, and other advanced technology
•We are an Authorized IRS e-file Provider, which means we must comply with security, privacy and business standards set by the IRS
•We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards of taxpayer information that comply with applicable law and federal standards
•We have a dedicated on-site security team, plus independent third-parties who regularly assess our site for vulnerabilities
•We require strong passwords and use your phone number to double-check your identity"

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canoeguy1 said:   
gatzdon said:   CreditKarma is "an obscure company on the net"??
 

  It is, since you have no idea who actually does the data processing for them, and to how many subcontractors this data goes to. It's not CreditKarma itself that's the issue (although I certainly wouldn't trust them with all my sensitive data either). They're just the customer-facing name for this operation.
 

  
I do have some idea, since it's in the OP. AFJC Corporation did the processing for the Jackson Hewitt-branded online tax service.

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Shandril said:   I didn't see them supporting form 1098 in their list. Kind of a big one not to support if you want to cater to 90% of taxpayers ...

That makes me worried about how competent they are about this. If using them, I'd recommend verifying their numbers with TurboTax or H&R Block software (some versions usually allow you to prepare for free and only charge you when actually filing with them).

  

On the competing deal forum, credit karma's founder said they support form 1098.

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tankker001 said:    It may not be an "obscure" company. But, do you actually know what company is behind Credit Karma?  What security measure do they take to protect your info? Why would you put your most sensitive info to a company you do not know.  Yes you see the commercials but would you give your tax info to some random tax site just because it is free. That is dumb.  
 I'm not getting what your point is.  It's not some random website, it's Credit Karma.  Do you have some specific security concern or just an argumentum ad ignorantiam.

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tankker001 said:    It may not be an "obscure" company. But, do you actually know what company is behind Credit Karma?  What security measure do they take to protect your info? Why would you put your most sensitive info to a company you do not know.  Yes you see the commercials but would you give your tax info to some random tax site just because it is free. That is dumb.  
  
Many already give them their SSN to get their credit score for free...

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rsuaver said:   
tankker001 said:    It may not be an "obscure" company. But, do you actually know what company is behind Credit Karma?  What security measure do they take to protect your info? Why would you put your most sensitive info to a company you do not know.  Yes you see the commercials but would you give your tax info to some random tax site just because it is free. That is dumb.  
 

  
Many already give them their SSN to get their credit score for free...

  The least of the concerns for some of the folks on this forum
 

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I'm not defending CreditKarma's practices in the least bit, but I can tell you from personal experience that fraud at the hands of your local HR Block, Jackson Hewitt, or Liberty tax preparers has been a very serious issue in the past that is very difficult to recover from. Those company's hire anyone who can type and give them the old 2 hour rundown, then give them customers.

Common scandals included copying the information to open fraudulent accounts, using the information to file fraudulent returns in subsequent tax years, and simply selling it outright.

It has gotten easier to cope with such fraud, but there was a time where the IRS took the 'First' return filed as golden and treated everything else as an affront to everything the nation stands for. In the very early days, people could even end up actually filing an amended return to 'correct' to the fraudulent return. You couldn't even protect yourself from this since for the average person, only a fraudulent return would be ready to file in January.

Another issue that then cropped up was the blatant use of the data for marketing. Who else could Target your mortgage better than the company with all your financial information? They would charge you to collect your data, then get paid again when they sold it.

I will say this for credit karma. They have never been shy about where they make their money. They make their money off of targeting promotional offers based on your consumer reports and financial situation. A creditkarma founder has done AMA's on reddit in the past and is very open about the question.
https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2qq95l/i_am_the_founder_o...

That said, if the average consumer did at least some due diligence about every company's practices regarding their data, we would all be better off. If using your information for marketing purposes is not your cup of tea, then so be it and I respect your decision, but don't fool yourself into thinking your information is that much more secure or private at some other big name unless you have researched it yourself and vetted the company. Be careful of buried language like 'anonymized' or 'not personally identifiable' because they may only apply to the data they sold, not the data they are still storing.

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ellory said:   
rsuaver said:   
tankker001 said:    It may not be an "obscure" company. But, do you actually know what company is behind Credit Karma?  What security measure do they take to protect your info? Why would you put your most sensitive info to a company you do not know.  Yes you see the commercials but would you give your tax info to some random tax site just because it is free. That is dumb.  
  
Many already give them their SSN to get their credit score for free...

  The least of the concerns for some of the folks on this forum

  If Data privacy and security is concern then you would be better off buying CD from TT or H&R (and avoid filing online)
  Credit Karma being a small company does not make it less or more trustworty with your data. do you trust your data with Target, Home Depot, Pay Pal, Yahoo, Wells Fargo?
  
   Way too many people have access to your sensitive data (e.g. doctors's office - name, address, ssn). If you buy online, use online banking, swipe card or write checks, fill your name, email and address online your information might have been compromised maytimes over. 

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With the 10% Amazon promotion for H&R Block (and for TT in previous years), I get paid to do my taxes. Better than free.

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krk77 said:   
ellory said:   
rsuaver said:   
tankker001 said:    It may not be an "obscure" company. But, do you actually know what company is behind Credit Karma?  What security measure do they take to protect your info? Why would you put your most sensitive info to a company you do not know.  Yes you see the commercials but would you give your tax info to some random tax site just because it is free. That is dumb.  
  
Many already give them their SSN to get their credit score for free...

  The least of the concerns for some of the folks on this forum

  If Data privacy and security is concern then you would be better off buying CD from TT or H&R (and avoid filing online)
  Credit Karma being a small company does not make it less or more trustworty with your data. do you trust your data with Target, Home Depot, Pay Pal, Yahoo, Wells Fargo?
  
   Way too many people have access to your sensitive data (e.g. doctors's office - name, address, ssn). If you buy online, use online banking, swipe card or write checks, fill your name, email and address online your information might have been compromised maytimes over. 

  The big difference is the TYPE of data.
Home Depot, Paypal etc only has access to your credit card info, name and birthdate.
That's bad enough, but it's nothing like a tax return. A scammer would have all your bank account info, on top of all identity info needed to go on a phishing expedition and clean you out.

That's why I only file using the download products, and I never store my data online at HR block etc. Credit Karma? No way, even if they paid me.

I'm still taking the risk that e-filing leaves data somewhere that can be breached, but I'm making the assumption that the IRS has put safeguards in place to prevent that. Given the number of e-files, and no data breach so far, that's (hopefully) a reasonable assumption.
 

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Will they cover backdoor roth?

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canoeguy1 said:   ......

I'm still taking the risk that e-filing leaves data somewhere that can be breached, but I'm making the assumption that the IRS has put safeguards in place to prevent that. Given the number of e-files, and no data breach so far, that's (hopefully) a reasonable assumption.
 

  
check again

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/pr/former-irs-revenue-agent-pl...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/09/12/thie...
 

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canoeguy1 said:   
krk77 said:   
ellory said:   
rsuaver said:   
tankker001 said:    It may not be an "obscure" company. But, do you actually know what company is behind Credit Karma?  What security measure do they take to protect your info? Why would you put your most sensitive info to a company you do not know.  Yes you see the commercials but would you give your tax info to some random tax site just because it is free. That is dumb.  
  
Many already give them their SSN to get their credit score for free...

  The least of the concerns for some of the folks on this forum

  If Data privacy and security is concern then you would be better off buying CD from TT or H&R (and avoid filing online)
  Credit Karma being a small company does not make it less or more trustworty with your data. do you trust your data with Target, Home Depot, Pay Pal, Yahoo, Wells Fargo?
  
   Way too many people have access to your sensitive data (e.g. doctors's office - name, address, ssn). If you buy online, use online banking, swipe card or write checks, fill your name, email and address online your information might have been compromised maytimes over. 

  The big difference is the TYPE of data.
Home Depot, Paypal etc only has access to your credit card info, name and birthdate.
That's bad enough, but it's nothing like a tax return. A scammer would have all your bank account info, on top of all identity info needed to go on a phishing expedition and clean you out.

That's why I only file using the download products, and I never store my data online at HR block etc. Credit Karma? No way, even if they paid me.

I'm still taking the risk that e-filing leaves data somewhere that can be breached, but I'm making the assumption that the IRS has put safeguards in place to prevent that. Given the number of e-files, and no data breach so far, that's (hopefully) a reasonable assumption.

  

Why would you provide your banking account info when filing your income taxes? 
 

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vrovner said:     Why would you provide your banking account info when filing your income taxes? 
 

  To get your refund deposited into your bank account.
Or to pay your tax due.

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I will continue to do mine the way I always do. No use changing something that works.

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fwuser12 said:   
vrovner said:     Why would you provide your banking account info when filing your income taxes? 
  To get your refund deposited into your bank account.
Or to pay your tax due.

  Or if you have international accounts, and need to file form 8398 (FATCA) where you specify, in detail, eveything about those accounts (including the account number, institution address, amount in the account etc)

Or if you simply have capital gains on mutual funds and need to report the account/institution where they came from
 

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gatzdon said:   
canoeguy1 said:   ......

I'm still taking the risk that e-filing leaves data somewhere that can be breached, but I'm making the assumption that the IRS has put safeguards in place to prevent that. Given the number of e-files, and no data breach so far, that's (hopefully) a reasonable assumption.

  
check again

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/pr/former-irs-revenue-agent-pleads-guilty-aggravated-identity-theft-taxpayer-information 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/09/12/thieves-stole-taxpayer-data-from-irs-get-transcript-service/

  
Neither of those cases involves a data breach of the e-file system.

The get transcript service would be available whether or not you file electronically.

The IRS agent scammed the IRS itself, and it had nothing to do with the initial filing method.

There are criminals everywhere, but that has nothing to do with e-file.

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Wow. Tons of nonsense in this thread. I was in IT, and can do basic coding. Absolutely NOTHING on the net is "secure". CreditKarma is just as secure as all of your bank accounts and credit cards. As in, NOT VERY. Anyone with some willpower and wherewithal can get in. However, this is 2016. Why in the WORLD are you worried about identity theft? I'm only 32, but it's happened to me three times in my lifetime and was resolved in less than 30 minutes each time. The only scary time was the first, but that theme practically goes for almost milestone you've ever encountered in life. Do you guys still get worked up when you kiss a girl or lose your wallet? Sheesh.

But back on topic, CreditKarma is awesome, used it to get my credit score from low 500 to low 800 in about 7 years. FOR FREE. So I wouldn't discredit this service. Unfortunately though, there are % rebate deals that would benefit you more. I've been using TurboTax for the extra % on an Amazon card, which makes my taxes Free after the Rebate.

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Well, I agree with most of you said on the security of the internet. But I can't help wonder if you meant to say Credit card fraud instead of ID theft. It's not quite the same. So, did you freeze your credit when it first happened and still have it happen 2 more times?

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I wonder if TurboTax and TaxCut info will import into this. Also brokerage info, etc...

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Clocks said:   I wonder if TurboTax and TaxCut info will import into this. Also brokerage info, etc...
  https://help.creditkarma.com/hc/en-us/articles/216489263-Credit-...

As for your second question, they didn't address it so i would guess no, not as of yet.  there was a good reddit AMA with the founder about it.

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/5ha7sg/im_kenneth_lin_fou...

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Thanks OP.
Too many free choices for me this year.

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Does anyone know if this does form 8888?
I want to split my tax refund.

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The Credit Karma Tax Service is available now.  I was able to start my tax return.

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It's similar in look and feel to TurboTax Online, but I don't think it's a finished product yet. There were a couple things I noticed that it did straight up wrong, many of the help areas are unfinished, and copying in W-2s and 1099s by hand was more of a pain in the butt than I expected. Once it gets some polish I'm sure it'll be a very useful product.

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wx1trw said:   It's similar in look and feel to TurboTax Online, but I don't think it's a finished product yet. There were a couple things I noticed that it did straight up wrong, many of the help areas are unfinished, and copying in W-2s and 1099s by hand was more of a pain in the butt than I expected. Once it gets some polish I'm sure it'll be a very useful product.
  Almost makes me feel this is rebranded......According to the New York Times (OnePriceTaxes) is the company Credit Karma bought.

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I never used Jackson Hewitt's online site, so I can't say. I only mentioned TT since that's what I used the last several years through State Farm.

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After decades, I too am abandoning TT. Last year was the final straw. They got too greedy.

Skipping 40 Messages...
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I'm surprised people even try this halfbaked Credit Karma tax software. Look at all the bug reports in this thread. And I'm sure there is more.

My time is not worth $15 I paid for H&R Block Deluxe State (with free federal/state e-file).

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