Top Tax Preparation Software for Small Businesses

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Top Tax Preparation Software for Small Businesses

The top tax preparation software for small businesses according to their annual revenue, in descending order, are Intuit TurboTax, H&R Block, Blucora's TaxAct, Liberty Tax, Jackson Hewitt, FreeTaxUSA (Taxhawk, Inc.), Credit Karma, eFile (TaxWork, LLC), Drake Software, and TaxSlayer.

TOP TAX PREPARATION SOFTWARE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES ACCORDING TO ANNUAL REVENUE

1) INTUIT TURBOTAX: $2.52 billion

  • Intuit has three business segments: small business & self-employed, consumer, and strategic partner.
  • Intuit's TurboTax income tax preparation products and services, which belong to its consumer segment, are only offered and sold in the US and Canada.
  • Intuit's consumer segment revenue, which is primarily derived from TurboTax desktop tax return preparation products and services sold in the US and Canada, amounted to $2.52 billion in 2018. Out of this amount, $237 million came from product revenue and $2.28 billion came from service and other revenue.
  • Intuit cited H&R Block as their major competitor in its consumer segment, where TurboTax belongs. Their minor competitors in the US are Blucora's TaxAct and Credit Karma.
  • In 2017, Intuit TurboTax had a market share of 19.8% in the tax preparation industry in the US. The company ranked second to H&R Block, which held a 20.7% market share.

2) H&R Block: $2.45 billion

  • H&R Block operates as a single-segment business; and in the 2018 fiscal year, they generated a total revenue of $3.16 billion.
  • Out of the total revenue generated in 2018, $2.45 billion specifically came from their US tax preparation transactions. The breakdown of the amount is as follows: $1.95 billion from assisted tax preparation fees, $243.16 million from DIY tax preparation fees, and $254.44 million from royalties.
  • During the 2018 fiscal year, 19.97 million tax returns in the US were prepared through and by H&R Block.
  • H&R Block cited Intuit, Inc. as their largest competitor in terms of DIY tax preparation services.
  • In 2017, the tax preparation market was dominated by H&R with a 20.7% market share.

3) BLUCORA'S TaxAct: $187.29 million

4) LIBERTY TAX: $173.99 million

  • Liberty Tax, Inc. has two operating segments: the US and the Canadian operations. However, since the products, services, regulatory environment, types of customers, and processes offered in these two operating segments are identical, they are aggregated into a single reporting segment.
  • For the fiscal year 2018, which ended in April 2018, Tax Liberty earned $173.99 million, $7 million of which was generated by the Canadian operations.
  • Liberty Tax sees Intuit TurboTax, H&R Block, and Blucora's TaxAct as major competitors.

5) JACKSON HEWITT: $50 MILLION

  • Owler estimated Jackson Hewitt's annual revenue at $50 million, and it tags TaxAct, TaxSlayer, Bench, Drake Software, and National Tax Service as its top competitors.
  • Jackson Hewitt was acquired by Corsair Capital on May 31, 2018.
  • The last publicly available annual report filed by Jackson Hewitt to the US Securities Exchange and Commission was in 2010.

6) FREETAXUSA (TAXHAWK, INC.): $24.7 MILLION

  • FreeTaxUSA is one of the three websites owned and operated by TaxHawk Inc. The other two are TaxHawk and Express1040.
  • Owler estimates TaxHawk to have annual revenue of $24.7 million.
  • Taxhawk, Inc. has an A+ rating on Better Business Bureau.
  • TaxHawk was founded by a team of professional software developers and a CPA in 2001.

7) CREDIT KARMA: $20 million

  • In 2017, Credit Karma announced to have generated a total revenue of $500 million the year before; however, Owler and Crunchbase report the company to have estimated annual revenue of $20 million in the present.
  • The company has raised a total of $868 million in seven rounds of funding, with the latest funding, with the latest funding worth $500 million from Silver Lake Partners on March 28, 2018.

8) EFILE: $17.9 MILLION

  • Owler estimated the company to have annual revenue of $17.9 million, generating $314,000 in revenue per employee.

9) DRAKE SOFTWARE: $13.2 MILLION

  • Crunchbase tags TaxAct, H&R Block, and Turbo Tax as Drake Software's major competitors while Owler listed TaxSlayer as Drake Software's top competitor.

10) TAXSLAYER: $5 million

  • TaxSlayer has estimated annual revenue of $5 million.
  • Tax Slayer was founded as a brick-and-mortar tax preparation firm in 1965; and in 1995, began selling their tax proprietary software across the US.
  • TaxSlayer fills approximately 10 million federal and state returns every year.
  • With their tagline "Your Refund is Waiting," TaxSlayer's major selling point is focusing on the tax refund an individual might get from filing proper taxes. In fact, they are pushing to be known as a refund company instead of as a tax-prep service.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

To look for the top tax preparation software for small businesses, we started our search looking for industry reports to see which companies have the biggest market share in the US. However, the closest we got is the tax preparation software developer and services reports, both from IBISWorld. In these two reports, Intuit Inc. and H&R Block Inc. are said to have the biggest market shares in tax preparations software developer industry and tax preparation service industry in the US; however, the specific figures of their market shares are behind a paywall. We looked for third-party articles that could have been written about these tax preparation industry reports to possibly uncover the market share figures, and we found the AdWeek article published in 2017 that cited IBISWorld as its source. According to the article, H&R Block held 20.7% of the tax preparation market, closely followed by Intuit TurboTax at 19.8%. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a more recent version of this article.

Next, we changed our research strategy and looked for lists of top tax preparation software for small businesses by leading publications and other credible third-party sources. We found several, but the software was ranked according to prices, features, user experience, ease-of-use, customer and tax supper, help resources, customer feedback, and BBB ratings. We didn't find any list that uses market share, number of users, number of tax filings per year, revenue, or other comparable quantitative metrics. From here, we collated all 12 lists of the top tax preparation software for small businesses, which can be accessed here, and ranked them according to the number of mentions, and the result is as follows:
  • Intuit TurboTax: 12 mentions
  • H&R Block: 11 mentions
  • Blucora's TaxAct: 11 mentions
  • Liberty Tax or eSmart Tax by Liberty Tax: 6 mentions
  • TaxSlayer: 5 mentions
  • FreeTaxUSA: 3 mentions
The following were only mentioned or recommended once:
  • Credit Karma Tax
  • Jackson Hewitt
  • Halon Tax
  • Drake Software
  • ONESOURCE
  • eFile
We used the collated list as a starting point to look for a quantitative metric we could use to rank them again. We looked for market share, annual revenue, the number of users, and the number of tax filings using their annual report. In the absence of a publicly available annual report or other financial statements, we used Owler, Crunchbase, and DB Hoovers, three leading tools that crowd source competitive insights of startups and privately held companies. Since information on market share, the number of users, and the number of tax filing per year are almost non-existent, we focused on the company's annual revenue for the final ranking.

There are companies that have different market segments. For example, Intuit has three market segments, and TurboTax, which is offered only in the US and Canada, belongs to the consumer segment. In this case, we only considered the total revenue of the said business segment, and not of the whole company.
Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "We operate as a single segment that includes all of our continuing operations, which are designed to enable clients to obtain tax preparation services seamlessly."
  • "For fiscal year 2018 we: served 23.3 million clients worldwide; increased revenue 4 percent to $3.16 billion; delivered earnings per share of $2.98, a $1.02 increase from fiscal year 2017, driven by a lower effective tax rate and improved pretax earnings; and increased our dividend to an annual rate of $1.00, representing a 4 percent increase from fiscal year 2017."
  • "Our DIY tax solutions include various forms of digital electronic assistance, including online and mobile applications and desktop software. Many other companies offer DIY tax preparation services, including Intuit Inc., our largest competitor offering such services."
Quotes
  • "We organize our businesses into three reportable segments: - Small Business & Self-Employed: This segment targets small businesses and the self-employed around the globe, and the accounting professionals who serve and advise them. Our offerings include QuickBooks financial and business management online services and desktop software, payroll solutions, payment processing solutions, and financing for small businesses. - Consumer: This segment targets consumers and includes do-it-yourself and assisted TurboTax income tax preparation products and services sold in the U.S. and Canada. Our Mint and Turbo offerings target consumers and help them understand and improve their financial lives by offering a view of their financial health. - Strategic Partner: This segment targets professional accountants in the U.S. and Canada, who are essential to both small business success and tax preparation and filing. Our professional tax offerings include Lacerte, ProSeries, ProFile, and ProConnect Tax Online. "
  • "Tax Return Preparation Offerings. For the 2017 tax season, we offered a range of software products and services that included TurboTax Basic, for simple returns; TurboTax Deluxe, for taxpayers who itemize deductions; TurboTax Premier, for taxpayers who own investments or rental property; and TurboTax Home and Business and TurboTax Self-Employed, for small business owners."
  • "In the U.S. private sector we face intense competition from H&R Block, which provides tax preparation services in its stores and a competing software offering. We also face competition from several other large tax preparation service providers, from a myriad of small tax preparers, and from numerous online self-preparation offerings, including Blucora’s TaxAct and Credit Karma. Some of these competitors are offering electronic tax preparation and filing services at no cost to individual taxpayers. In Canada, our TurboTax Canada offerings face competition from H&R Block, SimpleTax, StudioTax, and UFile. These competing offerings subject us to significant price pressure in both the U.S. and Canada."
Quotes
  • "We have two reportable segments: the Wealth Management segment, which is comprised of the HD Vest business, and the Tax Preparation segment, which is comprised of the TaxAct business."
  • "TaxAct, a top-three provider of digital tax preparation solutions, based upon the number of e-files made in 2018, has leveraged its strong brand, comprehensive suite of tax preparation solutions, and proven digital lead generation capabilities to enable the filing of more than 65 million federal consumer tax returns in the U.S. and Canada since 2000."
  • "Our TaxAct business operates in a very competitive marketplace. There are many competing software products and digital services. Intuit’s TurboTax, H&R Block's and Credit Karma's DDIY consumer products and services have a significant percentage of the software and digital service market. Our TaxAct business must also compete with alternate methods of tax preparation such as storefront tax preparation services, which includes both local tax preparers and large chains such as H&R Block, Liberty Tax, Jackson Hewitt and Credit Karma, and it may also be subject to new market entrants who may take some of our market share. Finally, our TaxAct business faces the risk that state or federal taxing agencies will offer software or systems to provide direct access for individual filers that will reduce the need for TaxAct’s software and services."
Quotes
  • "And though many Americans may not be familiar with the brand, TaxSlayer has actually been part of that industry since 1965, when it started as a brick-and-mortar tax-prep firm. A foray into computers in the early 1991 saw its proprietary software—TaxSlayer Pro—sold to tax-prep services around the country. With the rise of the web, TaxSlayer went direct-to-consumer."
  • "While TaxSlayer counts itself in the top five of online tax service providers, filing some 10 million state and federal returns a year, tax prep is still a segment populated by some 120,000 players, with more newcomers entering the field all the time."
Quotes
  • "Our online tax business also competes with a number of companies. Intuit, Inc., the maker of Turbo Tax, is the largest supplier of tax preparation software for online tax preparation services. H&R Block and Blucora, Inc., the owner of TaxAct, also have substantial online and software-based products."
  • "The majority of our revenue is earned through our United States operations; however, during our fiscal years 2017, 2016, and 2015, we earned $7.0 million, $7.0 million, and $6.9 million, respectively, from our Canadian operations. Due to the similarity in the nature of products and services, production process, type of customer, distribution methods, future prospects, and regulatory environment, we combine our United States operations and our Canadian operations into one reportable segment."