TurboTax users can click on a button with the software and set up one-way video conferences with a tax professional on-demand or set up an appointment. Intuit was expecting to hire the same number of professionals this year.
Executives said they misjudged the demand for Live last year, introducing it for the second part of the 2018 season, thinking it would appeal primarily to those with more complex returns. Instead, they found demand from customers with simpler returns. The product did drive revenue at the higher-end of the TurboTax market.
Greg Johnson, the EVP who leads the consumer tax business, described Live as “an entirely new way of doing taxes—Online Assisted Tax Prep. With TurboTax Live.”
However, it is Johnson who has discussed in detail how the program operated last year, at the Citi 2018 Global Technology Conference and Intuit’s own Investor Day, both in September. His Investor’s Day description of last year’s program was “What we launched was not very good and by the second peak [of tax season], it was appreciably better.”
Professional participants were expected to interface with the program via the Intuit Pro Portal, which was described in an October interview with Stacie Herring, VP of consumer services experience, as replacing a hodgepodge of systems used last season to communicate with consumer with questions
The program introduced this week was also expected to be more tailored for different categories of consumers, instead of operating as a one-size-fits-all program. Pros were to be able to use a web-based onboarding center and a standardized package of materials.