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Brad Smith, IntuitThere are two different views of the impact on the Affordable Care Act on tax return filing. Intuit CEO Brad Smith thinks it is a "non-event", his words when the company reported its earnings for its January quarter. But two rivals, tax chain H&R Block and Liberty Tax  believe that the ACA may be partly behind the delay in filings this year and that the impact will be revealed deeper into the tax season.

"We don't see any impact of ACA on any customer's decision whether it be which way they choose to file their taxes or when they file their taxes," Smith said during his company's recent earnings webcast. He also said that when Massachusetts introduced its healthcare system under then-Gov. Mitt Romney, there was no impact.

Smith also believes ACA has not played any role in the fact that tax return filings this year are behind the 2015 levels, when most observers had expected an overall rise this year.

On the other hand, Bill Cob, CEO of H&R Block, said during his company's earnings webcast that, "The ACA continues to influence consumer tax fling behavior." 

He said the impact was felt last year and it will be felt even more this year. "More people will have to reconcile insurance subsidies through their tax returns," he said. Cobb believes it is likely that those taxpayers are probably waiting to file.

John Hewitt, CEO of JLiberty Tax, expounded a similar view during his company's earnings webcast. He noted Liberty estimates that two million to three million returns that would have already been filed in the normal seasonality of a tax season have been pushed to later.

"We continue to believe the Affordable care act will drive people to paid preparers," he said. Hewitt said many employer-provided health insurance forms needed by taxpayers may not be sent until late this month.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Friday, 11 March 2016
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