As the 2013 tax season began, tax preparation companies H&R Block and TurboTax take their heated feud over social media. TurboTax, made by Intuit, offers desktop and online software while H&R Block has tax offices in addition to online software programs.
The feud started when TurboTax launched a series of commercials meant to criticize tax return storefront services like those offered by H&R Block. The ads showed customers shocked to find out that their storefront tax preparers were just part-timers and worked as a store attendant and a plumber. The ads implied that it’s possible the person you’ll be dealing with when you use H&R Block’s services is not a real tax expert.
In an effort to stop the ads, H&R Block filed a lawsuit but it was rejected by a federal district court judge.
H&R Block’s CEO said Intuit was demeaning hardworking blue-collar citizens who are holding down different jobs. The company answered back with its own commercials where employees share their extensive experience in finance. They also took the feud to twitter with a social media campaign called #IAMHRBLOCK which featured employees holding up signs to describe other tax-related work they’ve been involved in.
How will this battle turn out for the two rivals? Certainly, there is a lot of business involved. The tax preparation business generated annual revenue of more than $7 billion last year. Inuit with its Turbo Tax software is one of the major competitors in this industry with 50 million users in 2010. Last year, the company earned more than $3 billion and remains a serious competitor to the likes of H&R Block and other professional tax preparers.
On the other hand, despite the availability of sophisticated tax software, the process of filing income tax returns remains complicated. There will always be people who would rather speak face to face with a tax preparer. For those watching the battle closely, the choice between H&R Block and TurboTax is actually an easy one since both systems are great products and easy to use.
Their software products are similar in almost all areas and the pricing is practically the same. While H&R Block have offices where someone can personally help with tax preparation, not everyone needs this. So, it all depends on your personal needs and preferences. Do take the time to make your own personal comparison of all their features so you can choose which one will suit you better.
Lionel Reese is an accountant and blogger who is an expert in tax accounting and insurance fraud.? He regularly contributes to finance and accounting blogs.