The U.S. April 15th tax deadline is fast approaching, and storefront chain H & R Block and software product TurboTax have been trying to outdo each other with free tax preparation offerings to gain marketshare. Right after New Year’s, H&R Block rolled out its two new “Never Settle For Less” television ads. Shot in an up-close and personal documentary style, these spots came in 60 second versions, with extended episodes on both YouTube and www.neversettleforless.com.
The chain followed with a new promotion that turned many heads: free tax preparation for anybody filing a 1040EZ Federal form. Turbo Tax, in turn, unveiled its SnapTax app for iOS and Android that allowed taxpayers to file the 1040EZ form to the IRS from their mobile phones. The app is free but filing cost $14.99.
Despite their efforts, H&R Block had been lagging behind Turbo Tax all winter long on YouGov BrandIndex’s satisfaction score until recently, when it finally hit the gas pedal. The satisfaction score asks respondents: “Are you a satisfied customer?” In the mid-March home stretch to tax return day, H&R Block pulled out of its slightly negative score level and in a period of two weeks, moved to within just a few points of Turbo Tax. Turbo Tax is still leading on Buzz scores, although both brands have lost some steam more recently.