Intuit sees decline in TurboTax filings early in tax season

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Intuit reported a decline Thursday in the number of returns filed with TurboTax in the early part of tax season, in another possible sign of problems stemming from the new tax law.

As of Feb. 8, the total amount of DIY category e-files received by the Internal Revenue Service was down 3.2 percent. On a comparable basis, TurboTax e-files declined 3.5 percent.

Broader IRS data through Feb. 8 indicated total e-filed returns down 7.1 percent and assisted e-files declined 12.5 percent year-over-year, according to Intuit. The Mountain View, California-based software developer pointed to the new tax legislation and the extended partial government closure having an impact on consumer behavior, leading to a slower-forming season.

Many early tax season filers have complained about lower tax refunds and unexpectedly large tax bills in the wake of the extensive changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but Intuit said it is trying to give its customers the biggest possible refunds.

“We are pleased with the season so far,” said Greg Johnson, executive vice president and general manager of Intuit’s TurboTax business, in a statement. “Within DIY, we've invested in delivering the best experience for our customers, while transforming the assisted tax category with TurboTax Live. Through the end of the season we’ll remain laser focused, and look forward to helping our customers get their maximum refund.”

Through Feb. 16, sales of TurboTax units were flat versus the comparable prior-year period.

Intuit also reported Thursday on its second-quarter earnings. The company said its total revenue for the quarter grew 12 percent to $1.5 billion. QuickBooks Online subscribers grew 38 percent, ending the quarter with close to 3.9 million subscribers, while QuickBooks Online, Self-Employed, subscribers grew to around 845,000, up from approximately 489,000 a year ago.

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