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Procrastinators Hustle to Tax Sites

  |  April 12, 2002   |  Comments

The imminent U.S. filing deadline pushes traffic to filing and info sites.

Not surprisingly, Internet users rushed to tax preparation Web sites as the April 15 U.S. tax deadline approached, as research from comScore Networks indicated. But American taxpayers aren't the only ones visiting the sites – non-U.S. users also seem to participate in the last-minute rush to file, with Taxact.com consistently drawing the most non-U.S. based users.

Additional trends in traffic to tax-related sites, as revealed by comScore:

  • The first rush to tax sites occurred the week ending February 10, 2002 following the widespread receipt of W-2s, 1099s, etc. This was actually the highest peak to these sites during the tax season with some sites such as quicken.com and irs.gov drawing more than 1/2 million visitors during the average day during the week.

  • During the tax season, site activity is found to be the strongest during the work-week as opposed to Saturday and Sunday and tends to peak Monday to Wednesday each week.

  • Both quicken.com and irs.gov continue to pull strong traffic at about 300k-400k visitors per day in the latest week, the week ending April 7, 2002.

  • Online sales of TurboTax began to pick up as early as September of last year, as promotions for the 2002 edition caught people's attention. Online sales of TurboTax also peaked earlier on, with monthly sales hitting $11-12 million in both January and February. January sales levels were comparable to last year's sales, though February was more than 35 percent higher.

Nielsen//NetRatings also measured significant growth at tax-related sites as the deadline loomed:

Traffic to Various Tax Sites
Site Unique Audience
Week Ending 3/30
Unique Audience
Week Ending 4/7
Percent Growth
HRBlock.com 224,000 338,000 51%
TurboTax.com 365,000 534,000 46%
ShopIntuit.com 144,000 194,000 35%
IRS.gov 967,000 1,235,000 28%
Quicken.com 1,391,000 1,737,000 25%
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, April 2002

"Each year, an increasing number of surfers chose to prepare and file their income taxes online, pointing to the fact that transactions such as online tax preparation are becoming more widely accepted by the general public," said Patrick Thomas, senior Internet analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. "With just a few days to go before the tax deadline, the Web expedites the filing process and makes tax preparation less burdensome, giving surfers added incentive to e-file."

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