Intuit Wants To Personalize Taxes

Recognizing that all taxpayers are not the same, Intuit announced Tuesday it would roll out three specialized editions of TurboTax for the 2003 tax season.

TurboTax Deluxe Investor, TurboTax Deluxe Retirement Planning and TurboTax en Espanol are slated for rollout in December. The three new editions are part of Intuit’s “Right for Me” strategy, which will focus on better serving taxpayers individual needs through new products and better services.

“This allows the customer to choose something more in line with their situation,” said Intuit spokesman Scott Gulbransen. “People don’t want a one-size-fits all solution. Increasingly, we’re finding customers want products that speak to them.”

In the case of TurboTax en Espanol, it will speak to them, in Spanish. The investor-focused and retirement-planning editions build on the tools provided customers in TurboTax Deluxe. The tools in both products will be available in TurboTax Premium, Intuit’s top-of-the-line tax-preparation software.

Additionally, Intuit said all TurboTax editions would include a feature that would use previous years’ returns to customize the tax preparation process. As an example, Gulbransen said a customer who did not claim any farm income in previous years would not be asked the question again for 2003.

San Diego-based Intuit also plans to expand its affiliate program, which includes banks, as well as TurboTax’s availability in non-traditional outlets, such as Safeway supermarkets.

With TurboTax, Intuit is the clear leader in the tax-preparation software field. Last year, the company sold 5.2 million units of the software, making it the No.1 tax-preparation software. Intuit estimates that up to 20 million people use the software, which allows household members to share it.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), 40.2 million individual tax returns were filed electronically in 2001, compared to 89.2 million paper returns. By 2008, however, the IRS projects nearly half of all individual returns will be filed electronically.

Intuit showed its confidence by reiterating its financial guidance for 2003, predicting fiscal year 2003 revenue growth of 25 to 33 percent and pro forma operating profit growth of 42 to 50 percent.

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