Large scale tax preparation has always been competitive but the landscape is changing somewhat as the IRS is pushing everything in an online direction. Classic tax preparation and filing services like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt have their own online services and even their own tax preparation software.
It is now valid to compare Intuit’s popular TurboTax with these other services as customers are increasingly internet and PC savvy. While the mainstay tax preparers differentiate themselves with physical offices and real people offering real advice, the online part of the market continues to grow.
The IRS for its part didn’t mail out any tax forms this year, and instead required the millions of tax payers to either file online or make special requests for paper forms. For the majority of tax payers who do not itemize and generally have uncomplicated tax situations, filing online at the IRS website should be quite easy. It is the tax payers who have multiple income streams and want to apply for a variety of deductions who may need to seek face-to-face help or find a program that can guide them through the details of their tax filing.
So far in the battle between the big players if it is measured by this year’s stock performance, Intuit is in first place with a 60% increase in share price on the year. H&R Block has recorded a loss of 13% and the runner up Jackson Hewitt has lost a whopping 52%.