Turbo Tax 2011 Return

February 15, 2012 by staff 

Turbo Tax 2011 Return, Louis Alleva is a soldier in Intuit Inc.’s campaign to persuade Americans to ditch their tax preparers and use its software to file their returns.

The 51-year-old accountant works from the office on the all-weather front porch of his suburban New York home, where last month he was staring at three computer screens as he helped Intuit’s tax professionals provide free advice to do-it-yourself filers. The company, whose TurboTax product is the most widely used digital and online tax-preparation program, sees the service as a way to grab customers from H&R Block Inc. and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., whose storefront locations cater to low-to-middle income taxpayers.

More than 60 percent of the 112 million individuals who submitted their returns electronically in 2011 used a tax professional, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Intuit is offering live help this year — and advertising heavily to promote it — to lure such customers to TurboTax, which generally is less expensive than paying a tax preparer, said Dan Maurer, senior vice president of the consumer group for the Mountain View, California-based firm.

“We see the potential for as many as another 40 million customers who could be using TurboTax,” Maurer said. “That’s an enormous opportunity.”

The number is based on estimates of taxpayers currently going to a tax store who may consider using TurboTax if they knew they could speak to an adviser, Maurer said. About 24 million people use TurboTax software online or through mobile devices, he said.

Shopping Around

The software generally costs at least $19.99, depending on the complexity of the return, according to Ashley Kirkendall, an Intuit spokeswoman. H&R Block, the biggest U.S. tax preparer, usually charges at least $99 for in-store tax preparation, said Robert Turtledove, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Kansas City, Missouri-based firm. Both companies also are offering a free service for taxpayers with the simplest returns, such as those filing a form 1040EZ.

Consumers may have a difficult time figuring out how much tax preparation will cost and shopping around ahead of time, said Jean Ann Fox, director of financial services for the Consumer Federation of America in Washington. “Generally tax preparers charge by the form so often you don’t know how much it may cost,” she said.

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