What kind of results are software vendors getting on the number of returns filed so far this tax season? Right now the answer is mixed with CCH reporting an uptick and the number of returns filed and TaxWorks and Drake Software showing returns lagging behind expectations. It's not clear what the reasons are with the possibility the limited available of refund loans is having some impact on the lower end of the market with the extender provisions, including the fact the Internal Revenue Service won't start accepting returns with Schedule A attached until next week.

CCH said its transmittal of returns is up by 25 percent over last season.  These numbers reflect the ProSystem operations only and do not reflect filings by the company's Small Firm Services, which markets TaxWise and ATX, which have a heavy dependence on the RAL business. A Small Firms Services spokesperson, Marie Jung, said her group's efiling rate is also down and speculated on the impact of the major storms over much of the country.

Intuit declined to comment, citing the quiet period preceding its release of quarterly results on February 17.  A spokesman for TaxWorks said its results are also down. However, the company attributed that to filers waiting on the Internal Revenue Service to start processing returns with Schedule A attached. Jung said that SFS also believes that Schedule A has been a factor.

Scott Fleszar, VP of strategic marketing for Thomson Reuters, said Schedule A was a major issue.

"We're seeing that early tax return filing volume is down marginally as compared to last year," he said. "But we attribute that almost entirely to the IRS delay in accepting returns with forms affected by the extender provisions, including Schedule A. We expect the floodgates to open on Monday when the IRS begins accepting these returns."


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
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