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When you e-file your federal taxes with TurboTax's PC software, do the tax forms go through Intuit's servers, or are they submitted directly to the IRS somehow?

i.e. do Intuit servers ever see a copy of your filing, or no?

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    You should clarify that you are probably talking about PC client software, as opposed to the web app, since clearly the web app is all being processed on their servers. Related, important question is: what is Intuit allowed to do with your personal and financial information if you use their software / service? – pseudon Apr 3 '18 at 13:09
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Yes, they keep a copy of your entire tax return.

Their software license (license.rtf) says this:

Electronic Filing Services. If you choose to file your return electronically, your tax return will be forwarded to Intuit's Electronic Filing Center, where Intuit will transmit it to the applicable federal and/or state taxing authority. Additionally, Intuit will store your protected tax return in accordance with federal and/or state laws.

Intuit has multiple tax related products developed by different departments (originally different companies that Intuit acquired over the years) which all use services provided by another separate department which handles all communications with IRS MeF servers aka e-filing.

So when customer support representative for the desktop TurboTax product tells you that they don't keep customers data - they do not blatantly lie. They just speak about their own product division and not the whole company.

To reiterate, the answer to

do Intuit servers ever see a copy of your filing?

is absolutely! No desktop version of any Intuit software has the capability to e-file directly to IRS servers. All clients data is being sent to Intuit servers for processing and submitting to IRS.

  • So what conclusion do I draw from "they don't blatantly lie"? Does anyone at Intuit (or really, anyone besides the IRS) get my personal info? – user541686 Apr 24 '18 at 22:03
  • Sure they do. I do not know about their security policies - as in how many people have actual access to your data exactly. But that number is more than 0. – Alex P. Apr 24 '18 at 22:07
  • Yeah the exact number is a bit irrelevant, but do you know what personal info that includes? Name is one thing, SSN is something else, and there's a lot in between (and beyond). Also would be nice to cite a source or something? If it's not something that's deducible from obvious information. – user541686 Apr 24 '18 at 22:21
  • They keep the complete returns - everything. They also sell at least some metadata to advertisers. But that's a new normal in this day and age. – Alex P. Apr 24 '18 at 22:27
  • How do you know? Or if it's an educated guess, what's it based on? I have one person here claiming they don't keep anything (except names etc.) and one person saying they keep everything so I need some way to figure out who's closer to the truth... – user541686 Apr 24 '18 at 22:31
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If you are using the Turbotax website to do your taxes, Intuit has (and keeps) full records of everything. It allows you to view previous years' data in full, download previous tax returns, etc.

If you are using Turbotax software installed on your computer, it is most likely that the answer to this question on Turbotax's website (Is efile from TurboTax CD safe?) is correct. It states the following:

The only records we would have is your e-filing record consisting of your final figure(s) (refund or balance due) as well as how you intend to receive your refund.

This correlates with the information that Turbotax can alert you when your efile'd return is accepted, even when using the desktop software, and the claim from Turbotax that they cannot pull up tax returns created using the software (I want to change my return from e-file to mailing, but can't retrieve the file from my computer(Mac). What can I do?)

(The previous answer to this question claimed no data was stored at all based on this answer from Turbotax's website (If using Turbotax (CD),and I efile a fed/state return,is my info sent directly to the federal/state's servers or does it go through or get saved to a Turbotax server?), but given that Turbotax alerts you on an accepted efile that is obviously untrue.)

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    +1 Thanks, but now I guess the follow-up question here is how on Earth do they email you to let you know your federal return has been accepted afterward if they really have "no record of your data entry nor access to your tax return"? (Yup I'm referring to the PC software.) – user541686 Apr 3 '18 at 18:39
  • First answer was almost assuredly wrong. Edited. – Magua Apr 5 '18 at 19:23
  • "The only records we would have is your e-filing record consisting of your final figure(s) (refund or balance due) as well as how you intend to receive your refund." Thanks, but that's still nonsense since they (a) send an email (so they at least have your email there too) and (b) they include your name in the email (so they have your name stored too). Not to mention that I'm also confused what "how you intend to receive your refund" means–does that mean they store your bank account number too? – user541686 Apr 5 '18 at 20:24
  • I'm going to imagine that name / email are kept as part of the "e-filing record". Since the IRS contacts them in the case of an efile error and not you (this being the up to 48 hours before your return is accepted), that would be an obvious requirement. I imagine, but have no proof, that bank account information would not be stored there -- the IRS already has it (a requirement for their Where's My Refund? tool). But that's only supposition, not evidence. – Magua Apr 5 '18 at 20:55
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    If you are very worried about this, you could simply print our your return (on a non-connected PC, if you're very worried) and mail it. That would guarantee that Intuit would have no record of you at all. – Magua Apr 5 '18 at 20:57

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