Intuit Service Can't Handle The Hordes Of Tax Procrastinators

from the bad-timing dept

Talk about a bad time for your network to fail. Last night, just as millions of Americans were scrambling to get their taxes filed before the deadline, Intuit's online tax filing system buckled under the strain of so much activity. Technically, the system just got really, really slow, but it may result in penalties for people whose filings came in after midnight. For a company that's positioned itself as the leader in electronic filing, this is a pretty bad glitch, and if customers do end up owing penalties, you can be sure that the company's reputation will take a pretty big hit. What's not clear is if Intuit simply misjudged how much volume it would get, and thus failed to plan accordingly, or if there was some other mistake. Of course, the company is in a difficult position because most of the year, this service will get virtually no activity, but then is swamped in a day or two. As Nick Carr is fond of pointing out, incidents such as this one (or the annual tradition of online retailers failing around Christmas) point to the growing need for readily available on-demand computing power, such as that which Amazon is trying to sell. Then again, Amazon suffered an outage of its own last year during a spike in business, so it's not clear that its infrastructure is fully reliable either.

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  • identicon
    Kilroy, 18 Apr 2007 @ 1:54pm

    Turbo Tax

    From Turbo Tax's website:

    "We have worked with the IRS this morning to ensure that returns will be considered as timely filed. Intuit customers using TurboTax software to electronically file their U.S. federal income taxes won't be penalized so long as they file their returns by midnight, April 19th."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bill, 18 Apr 2007 @ 2:27pm

    This begs the question of why we still have to go through tax prep firms instead of dealing directly with the IRS (online). It seems that things would be a whole lot quicker, simpler and cost less.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr. Yellow, 18 Apr 2007 @ 2:34pm

    Do it right.

    They have this kind of traffic once a year, and why aren't they ready for it? I'm hoping this is not because of any availability issue and it purely about capacity, because that would be very lame. If this is about capacity, then this clearly shows that their capacity planning/ Q.O.S needs work, and I hope they have the right people to get it right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tracey, 18 Apr 2007 @ 2:47pm

    Lacking basic forms

    Well, part of the problem may have been that the software available for purchase required the downloading of "updates" from their site - all I needed was a simple 1040A form, and the software WAS NOT SHIPPED WITH A VALID 1040A FORM!!!! If I had to make a completely unnecessary e-trip to their web site at the last minute, so did A LOT of other people. So maybe they should actually make the CD-ROM product better to decrease traffic on their site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2007 @ 5:21pm

      Re: Lacking basic forms

      Well basically when they finalize their software for release around late november, early december a lot of times the irs has not completed or finalized the 1040 tax forms.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CoJeff, 18 Apr 2007 @ 3:11pm

    HAHA

    I stopped using anything to deal with Intuit back when they had installation codes that had to be called in to Customer Service to complete the installation during business hours. Intuit has no idea what their doing and this doesn't surprise me in the least. I use H&R Blocks software and filed my taxes in February. Why do people wait so long when its so easy to punch in the numbers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kyles Mom, 18 Apr 2007 @ 3:39pm

    I used Turbo Tax. I did it over a month ago. I am not lazy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TheDock22, 18 Apr 2007 @ 3:59pm

    Re: HAHA

    Same here, I filed my taxes as soon as I got my W-2. I don't feel sorry for the procrastinators.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Apr 2007 @ 4:26pm

    Re: AC8

    Wow... are you from Intuit tech support? That's exactly the same answer I got from them one time when I called.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan, 19 Apr 2007 @ 5:38am

    i did taxes with turbo tax online on saturday (and monday cause i fucked up a bit) and everything went better than i thought it would. they have a pretty sweet ajaxy online app for doing it all. A+++++++ WOULD RECOMMEND AGAIN

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    _Jon, 19 Apr 2007 @ 6:19am

    Spreading it out

    In Michigan, all vehicle registrations used to expire on the same day of the year, causing huge lines at the Secretary of State. We switched to a system where the plate renewal is due on the birthday of the vehicle owner.

    I think the IRS should switch to a similar schedule.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bradley, 19 Apr 2007 @ 10:50pm

    Lack of Sales

    I work at a Wal-mart in the electronics section, and for some reason this year there was virtually no tax software sales. We were supposed to have a big fixture of it in our main aisle, and it got taken down. We even had an H&R Block booth set up, and they actually took the book down around the beginning of March because the reps sat there for about a week with something like 6-7 customers to show for it.

    And i've worked at this store for six years now, this is the first year tax software has basically sat there unused. Not sure if this is any kind of pattern though, so take it for what it's worth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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