In a turbulent tax season for the company, Intuit released season-to-date results of a 19 percent growth in sold units of TurboTax Online and a 3 percent increase in total company revenue in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015 ending Jan. 31.
The company reported total second quarter revenue of $808 million, adding more than 100,000 QuickBooks Online subscribers over the previous quarter to a total of 841,000 worldwide. While the TurboTax Online units sold grew over the comparable prior-year period, TurboTax Desktop declined 7 percent and TurboTax Free File Alliance fell 13 percent, bringing the total TurboTax gains to 11 percent.
Intuit’s reported second quarter loss (for a third consecutive quarter) was a GAAP-based 23 cents per share, compared to 13 cents in the second quarter last year, but less than some analyst estimates.
“We’ve worked through some early challenges, but we are pleased with our progress at this point in the season,” stated Sasan Goodarzi, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit’s consumer tax group. “Early indicators prove that our focus on providing innovative products and experiences for hardworking Americans is succeeding, and our customers are sharing their positive experiences with friends and family. This is especially important at a time that matters most for many of our customers, as their tax refund is their largest check of the year.”
Earlier this tax season, Intuit temporarily paused TurboTax e-filing of state returns due to fraudulent activity. This followed the company apologizing and issuing rebates to angered customers who were forced to pay for an upgrade to file schedules C, D, E and F—tax forms that were previously included in TurboTax Deluxe.
“Overall, early indicators and unit results show our tax strategy is on track,” stated Intuit president and CEO Brad Smith. “While we faced some initial challenges as a result of a change to our desktop product lineup, we took swift action in response to our customers’ feedback. While doing so, we continue to take proactive measures to navigate a heightened sense of concern about tax fraud in the American tax system. Beyond these challenges, we are inspired by the opportunities in front of us and we remain deeply committed to accelerating both customer and revenue growth across the company.”
Total paying QuickBooks customers increased 20 percent, taking into account a 10 percent drop in desktop customers and the large growth in online subscribers.
“We delivered a strong quarter, exceeding our company financial targets across the board,” stated Smith. “Our Small Business online ecosystem momentum continues to build, with steady subscriber growth again this quarter. On the heels of this performance, we’ve raised our QuickBooks Online subscriber guidance for this fiscal year.”
The SMB online ecosystem revenue increased 26 percent and total QBO subscribers grew 50 percent, up from 43 percent in the previous quarter, with subscribers outside the U.S. up more than 170 percent.
The ecosystem welcomed Intuit’s recent acquisitions of Acrede and ZeroPaper. Online payments charge volume increased 20 percent, fueled by an increase in charge volume per customer, while online payroll customers grew 23 percent and Demandforce customers grew 18 percent.
The total small business segment revenue declined 1 percent for the second quarter. Consumer tax revenue increased 54 percent, driven by an earlier start to tax season this year. ProTax revenue declined 69 percent.
Intuit expects that $150 million in fiscal year 2015 revenue will shift to 2016 due to changes in current desktop products. The company’s expectations for the third quarter revenue is $2.075 billion to $2.15 billion and for the fourth quarter $720 million to $745 million. In total fiscal year 2015 revenue, Intuit is expecting $4.275 billion to $4.375 billion, a decline of 3 to 5 percent. They also expect QuickBooks online subscribers to reach up to 1 million.
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