Our Commitment to Your Privacy
Protecting your information is important to us. We strive to do business in a manner that justifies you choosing H&R Block.
- Our online and software tax preparation products and services;
- Our website; and
Special Note to Parents: Because of the nature of the services we provide, we do not knowingly market our services to children, nor do we collect information from children. Our website does not contain any material that would knowingly be inappropriate to children.
This policy applies to personal and business information we collect when we provide tax preparation and other products and services to customers and former customers of H&R Block Limited. This policy does not apply to our affiliates or our franchisees. These companies may be subject to different regulations and may have different operating practices. If you are doing business with these companies, you should consult their respective privacy policies.
Information We Collect
We collect information, including personal information, about you, your spouse, your dependents, your business, and other individuals (such as employees as part of providing business services) when you use our services. This information includes, but is not limited to:
- Contact Information (e.g., name, phone number, address, and email address);
- Tax File Numbers and other government identification numbers;
- Dates 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);
- Geo-Location Information;
- Website, Mobile Application, and Email Usage Data;
- Login Information; and
- Demographic Information.
We collect this information from the following sources:
- We collect information directly from you. We collect information you voluntarily provide as part of using or requesting our services. This information includes information you provide as part of preparing your tax return, electronically filing your tax return, authenticating your identity, or applying for or purchasing a product or service. If you choose not to provide certain information we request, we may be unable to serve you as our products, services, tools or calculators may rely upon this information.
Our website may make chat rooms, forums, message boards, and/or news groups available. Please remember that any information disclosed in these areas becomes public information, and you should exercise caution when disclosing personal information in these applications.
- We collect information when you use our services. We collect certain information and usage data whenever you interact with us, whether in our offices, online, through a mobile application, or when you view an email. This data may include websites you visit, what you click on, and when you performed those actions. These activities may be performed by us or a service provider acting on our behalf.
We utilize certain web and wireless technologies to collect this information. These technologies include cookies and web beacons. Please see “Types of Web and Wireless Technologies (including Cookies) We Use” for an in-depth discussion of these technologies and how to opt-out.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or state taxing authorities may require we collect certain personal and system information in connection with preparing or electronically filing your tax return. This may include your name, tax file number, IP addresses, and unique device identifiers.
- We collect information from other companies and government entities. In accordance with their privacy notices, our affiliates, our business partners, H&R Block franchisees, and non-affiliated third-parties (including the ATO and credit reporting agencies) may share certain information about you with us.
We also collect information when you request services or information from us or companies with whom we have a business relationship, enter contests or sweepstakes, or complete surveys or polls.
To improve the security of our services, to protect your identity, and to protect your information, we may verify your personal information by matching the information you provide against other publicly available information that we obtain from identification verification companies.
How We May Use Your Information
We use your information to provide you the products and services you request. We may also use your information, as permitted by law, to service and report on your account and to offer you relevant information, products, or services. These activities may be performed by us or a service provider acting on our behalf.
- Offer You Products and Services. We may use your information to contact you about products and services offered by us or our affiliate companies. This may include delivery of our or our affiliate’s newsletters or publications.
- Geo-Location Uses. We may use your location to provide you a list of nearby H&R Block offices, assess the level of interest in our services in a particular area, and enhance the services we are providing you and other clients. You may at any time revoke our collection of this information by turning this off at the device level and not using our office locator.
- Mobile Devices. When you use a mobile device, we may ask your permission to dial a phone number, access your camera or photo library, access the internet, access your calendar, push notifications to you, read and write to internal and external storage, wake/lock your mobile device, and authorize in-app purchases.
- Security Enhancements. We may use publicly available information to verify your personal information in order to improve the security of our services, protect your identity, and protect your information.
- Unique Identifiers. We may assign you a global unique identifier (GUID) when you use our services. The GUID is a unique alphanumeric combination. The GUID allows us to match your information, which may include personal information, with data collected through our other products and services. Generally, we use this information to help us better understand your use of our products and services.
- Calculators and Tools. When you use our calculators and other tools, we may collect non-identifiable data, such as the number of people that use a certain tool. We may also set cookies or clear gifs based upon your use so that you do not have to re-enter your information in a later visit and to help us customize offers and tools to your particular interests. For our calculators and other tools that require registration or ask for your contact information, we may contact you directly with relevant services and offers.
- Contest/Promotions and Surveys. We may elect to administer contests and online surveys where we will ask you for contact information, such as your e-mail address and demographic information. This information is used to verify your identity, determine your eligibility for special programs or services that we may offer and complete our transactions with you.
How We May Disclose Your Information
We may disclose your information as described below:
- Affiliates. As permitted by law, we may provide information we collect to our affiliates. Our affiliates may use this information to assist us in providing you with the products or services you have requested, or to provide or market additional products and services to you.
- Business Partners. We work closely with a variety of business partners. We may offer products jointly with our business partners. You will be able to recognize when a business partner is associated with your transaction when its logo appears or is shown with our logo. We may share information that is related to such transactions with that business partner (unless you have asked us not to in writing).
- Service Providers. Where permitted by applicable law, we may disclose your personal information to service providers who perform business functions on our behalf, services such as data processing and analysis, contest supervision, direct mail or email production, technical support, data storage, courier services, and debt collection. We may also share your personal information, and a record of any transactions you conduct on our websites or offline with us with a third-party advertising partner and its service providers in order to deliver you advertising tailored to your interests when you visit certain other websites. Data shared in this way is made pseudonymous. We require all service providers to have written contracts with us that specify appropriate use of your personal information, require them to safeguard your personal information, and prohibit them from making unauthorized or unlawful use of your personal information.
- Joint Marketing Arrangements. Where permitted by law, we may provide information we collect to joint marketers with whom we have a marketing arrangement. We require all joint marketers to have written contracts with us that specify appropriate use of your personal information, require them to safeguard your personal information, and prohibit them from making unauthorized or unlawful use of your personal information. If a federal or state law requires us to give you the right to opt-out prior to any disclosure of your personal information for joint marketing, we will not disclose your personal information for such purposes without providing such opt-out or obtaining your consent to such disclosure.
- Franchisees. Certain H&R Block products and services are provided via a system of retail offices operated directly by independently owned, third-party franchisees. In order to serve you, and only where permitted by law, we may share your information with these franchisees.
- Communications with the ATO and State Taxing Authorities. The ATO and state taxing authorities may require or request we disclose certain personal and system information in order to process or electronically file your tax return. This information may include, but is not limited to, your name, tax file number, IP addresses, unique device identifiers, bank account numbers, and tax return preparation user activity metrics (e.g., time to complete the tax return).
- As Required or Permitted by Law. We may disclose your information to affiliated or non-affiliated third-parties when we have a good faith belief that such disclosure is required or permitted by law. This may occur in connection with a court order, legal process, or other judicial, administrative or investigative proceeding that produces a request for information from us. We may disclose your information to proper federal, state, or local officials in order, and to the extent necessary, to inform the official of activities that may constitute, or may have constituted, a violation of any criminal law or to assist the official in investigating or prosecuting a violation of criminal law. As permitted by law, we may disclose your information to the ATO for the prevention of refund fraud and potential cyber security threats.
- Aggregate Data. We may disclose aggregate information compiled using information that does not identify you individually or personally. This may include, for example, the total number of visitors from a particular state or the average user age.
We may also disclose your personal information to our parent company (H&R Block Group, Inc.) or affiliated H&R Block companies in the United States, Canada and India, as well as other service providers in the United States.
We will not use or disclose your personal information for any purpose other than as set out in this policy or otherwise notified to you at the time of collection.
If you do not want us to use your personal information for marketing purposes as set out above, please let us know either when we collect your personal information or by contacting us to opt out of marketing activities (see Opting-Out section).
What Types of Web and Wireless Technologies (including Cookies) We Use
- Cookies. We utilize a software technology called "cookies." Cookies allow us to customize our websites for you by placing small files on your computer or mobile device as you visit various components of our websites.
Cookies are small alphanumeric identifiers that a web server transfers to your computer via your Internet browser. When your Internet browser visits a web page, a cookie is set with a unique number. This number is recorded in a small text file that is transmitted to your computer and stored in the cookie directory of your hard drive. Then, when you visit each webpage on which the cookie technology is enabled, the website can recognize your browser as a unique user.
You may also adjust your browser settings to accept or deny all cookies, or to request your permission each time a site attempts to set a cookie. Although cookies are not required for some parts of our services, our services may not work properly if you disable cookies entirely.
- Local Storage Objects (LSOs) and HTML5. We provide certain features on our site or display advertising based upon your web browsing activity using LSOs (such as HTML5) to store content, information, and preferences. Your browser may offer LSO management tools.
- Clear GIFs or Web Beacons. We employ a software technology called clear gifs (also known as pixel tags or web beacons), that help us better manage content on our websites by allowing us to understand usage patterns, fix issues, and improve the products and services offered to you on our websites. We may use clear gifs in our emails to let us know which emails have been opened by recipients. This allows us to gauge the effectiveness of certain communications and the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns. These activities may be performed by us or a service provider acting on our behalf.
- Log Files. Like most websites, H&R Block uses log files. Information collected in log files may include Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, unique device IDs, browser type, Internet Service Provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, platform type, date/time stamp, and number of clicks. We utilize this information to diagnose problems, analyze trends, administer the site or mobile application, track user's movement in the aggregate, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. When you use certain online tax services, IP addresses and unique device IDs may be tied to personally identifiable information to enable users to file or transmit tax returns to the ATO.
- Online Behavioral Advertising. We allow third-party companies to serve ads and collect certain pseudonymous information when you visit our websites. These companies may use this information (e.g., click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to our websites and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you. These companies typically use a cookie or third-party web beacon to collect this information. We may engage different providers to provide similar services from time to time. You may opt-out of certain advertisements by clicking on the advertisement itself or through https://support.google.com/ads/answer/2662922?hl=en. You may also opt out through the Digital Advertising Alliance Consumer Choice page: http://www.aboutads.info/choices/. Please note, even after opting out of personalized advertisements, you will continue to receive generic advertisements.
- Mobile Device Information. We may record data from your mobile device such as Apple IDFA, general characteristics of your device and other device IDs.
Web Browser “Do Not Track” Signals
How We Secure Your Information
If we share your information with our service providers, we require all service providers to have written contracts that specify appropriate use of your personal information, require them to safeguard your personal information, and prohibit them from making unauthorized or unlawful use of your personal information.
For Online DIY Tax clients logging on to https://onlinetax.hrblock.com.au/online-tax-return/, your account information is password-protected so that you, and only you, will have access to this information. You may update your account information by entering your user name and password to gain access to your account. We strongly recommend that you do not share your user name and password with anyone. H&R Block will never ask you for your user name or password via unsolicited phone call or e-mail. Don't forget to sign out of your account and close your browser window when you have completed your work. This is to prevent others from accessing your account if you share a computer with someone else or are using a computer in a public place. Security is of utmost importance to us and we use the latest S.S.L. technology to protect your confidential information. Nevertheless, no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage, is 100% secure. Therefore, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.
How Long Do We Keep Your Information
We keep your information for as long as needed or as required by law.
We retain your information for as long as your account is active or as needed to provide you services. We may retain or use your information as necessary to comply with our policies, legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.
It is our policy that if you start, but do not complete, a tax return in our online tax programs, we will generally keep the tax return information you provide until the end of the third tax season following the date you start the tax return, after which it will be deleted from our system.
Third-Party Products and Services, Including Social Media Features
For instance, your use of social media features may use scripting or may require us to share your IP address and which page you are visiting to enable the feature to function properly. Social media features and widgets are either hosted by a third-party or hosted directly on our site, and your interactions with these features are governed by the privacy notice of the company providing it. Examples of these features are the Facebook "Like" button, the "Share This" button, and interactive mini-programs that run on our services.
You may choose to limit our use or our ability to share your information in certain circumstances. Our ability to offer you certain products and services and your experience may be affected by your choice. To opt out of electronic or any other communications, please provide written notice to your local office, by using the contact information set forth in the “Contact Us” section below, or by clicking here. You may, however, continue to receive e-mail communications related directly to the services and products you purchase, such as payment receipts and e-file status notifications.
Where permitted by law, we may use your information (subject to your consent, where required) to communicate with you about products and services available through H&R Block or third-parties. If at any time you wish to limit your receipt of such communications, you may provide written notice by using the contact information set forth in the “Contact Us” section below, or by clicking here. At your request and subject to the limitations below, we will make reasonable efforts to limit all such marketing communications to you. You may also be able to unsubscribe from certain marketing communications by following the unsubscribe instructions included in the marketing communication. We will respond to requests within a reasonable timeframe.
You may not opt-out of the sharing of information that does not identify you personally.
Please see "What Types of Web and Wireless Technologies (including Cookies) We Use" for information on how to opt-out of various web and wireless technologies.
Accessing Our Services from Outside Australia
Our services are hosted on servers located in Australia. We also use service providers located in the Australia and the United States to bring you our services. If you access our services from outside Australia, you consent to the transfer of your information, including your personal information, to Australia, a jurisdiction that may not provide the same level of protection to your personal information as your home country.
We may disclose your personal information to third parties (including our affiliates) located in the United States and in India.
Quality of Personal Information
If you believe that the information we have about you is not accurate, complete or up-to-date, please contact us using the contact information set forth in the “Contact Us” section below and we will take reasonable steps to correct the information.
The Privacy Officer
PO Box 147
THORNLEIGH NSW 2120
Phone: 02 9479 6300
For any concerns regarding compliance, we will respond to you within a reasonable time, typically one week. If you are dissatisfied with our response, you may contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
This Privacy Notice is effective July 15, 2016.