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H&R Block’s New ‘Direct Import’ Feature is Another Swipe at Tax-Prep Rival TurboTax

Competition between the two software makers has intensified in the lead-up to the 2024 tax season, which started on Jan. 29.

TurboTax and H&R Block tax preparation software on display. (Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

By Sam Becker, Fast Company (TNS)

The slap fight between big tax-prep software makers H&R Block and TurboTax continues.

H&R Block has announced a new “Direct Import” feature, which is designed to make it easy for taxpayers to switch their tax-preparation campaign from TurboTax to H&R Block’s DIY service. 

An H&R Block release shared with Fast Company says, “Direct Import pulls in an individual’s prior year tax return data from TurboTax directly into H&R Block DIY online products. A tax filer simply inputs the phone number associated with their TurboTax account to make the switch. H&R Block’s innovative integration then leverages authenticated data retrieval to import up to 150 data fields, saving tax filers significant time and effort.”

In effect, Direct Import appears to simply make it easier to transition between the two tax-prep platforms, which are two of the most popular platforms in the United States.

“We hear from consumers that switching is daunting because it is too difficult to move their data,” said Heather Watts, SVP of consumer tax products at H&R Block, in comments included in the release. “The perception is that switching is too hard even when they know there are better options.”

Direct Import is the latest in a series of salvos launched back and forth between H&R Block and TurboTax’s parent company, Intuit. Notably, Intuit recently sued H&R Block for allegedly trying to “tarnish” TurboTax’s reputation with what it described as “false and misleading marketing.”

But that’s not the only recent drama to unfold in the typically dull tax-prep space: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled earlier this month that TurboTax can no longer advertise that its software is “free” to use, which Intuit has already appealed. And both H&R Block and Intuit have punched back at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over a recently launched pilot program called Direct File, which allows some taxpayers to file their taxes for free.

All of this is happening just as tax season begins in earnest. Monday was the first day that the IRS started accepting returns for the 2023 tax year.


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