The online tax services sector continues to expand its reach. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service led the group, attracting 10.1 million unique visitors from home and work, a 25 percent increase year-to-year. TurboTax garnered the second largest unique audience with 6.8 million visitors, representing a 20 percent increase in traffic from the same period in 2002. HRBlock.com drew close to three million surfers. TaxAct.com, offering a lower priced alternative to the big named services, posted more than two million unique visitors. Rounding out the top five was H&R Block's wholly owned online alternative TaxCut.com, with 1.7 million unique visitors.
"In comparison to the overall finance, insurance and investment category, the online tax services segment continues to post above average unique audience growth," said Patrick Thomas, senior Internet analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. "Much of the growth is being generated by taxpayers without extensive online tenure who are turning to the Web for the first time to file their taxes," added Thomas. "This suggests a market opportunity for financial companies with minimal tax services offerings to convert these online tax-filers into consumers of other online financial products and services."
Top Online Tax Services, Ranked by Unique Audience February 2003 (U.S., Home and Work)
|Category||Unique Audience (000) Feb-02||Unique Audience (000) Feb-03||% Growth|
|Online Tax Services Sector||19,449||22,324||15%|
|U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS.gov)||8,090||10,104||25%|
Composition Percent Breakdown for Top Online Tax Services, February 2003 (U.S., Home and Work)
|$ 0 - 24,999||6.53%||5.65%||7.28%||3.06%||8.17%|
|$ 25,000 - 49,999||31.04||26.15||36.55||29.73||36.67|
|$ 50,000 - 74,999||29.64||32.34||31.18||32.00||29.44|
|$ 75,000 - 99,999||16.67||16.99||15.85||15.32||17.62|
|$ 100,000 - 149,999||10.36||13.61||7.45||13.28||5.75|
"Computer based software and Internet tax preparation services have changed the way Americans prepare their taxes," said Thomas. "It's become an easy and affordable option for many surfers within the middle income brackets who most often put a premium on ease of completion and know the Internet can also help them get their refund quickly."