Author: Stephanie Heracleous, Research & Insights Assistant, RAB
The pandemic has thrown a wrench in the tax filing process the last couple of years as new incentives, deductions and tax credits have emerged. As we settle into the first few months of 2022, tax season is in full swing. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued more than $4MM in tax returns so far this year. Consumers are looking to online businesses and professionals for assistance in filing to make sure their taxes are prepared correctly.
According to a 2021 National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, 44% of consumers planned on filing their taxes in February, 34% in March and 22% in April. Over the years, consumers have shifted to filing their taxes online because of the ease. NRF also found that 73% of consumers plan to file their taxes online.
It’s no surprise that folks lean towards convenience in their daily lives. Therefore, some consumers continue shifting toward e-filing and are skipping brick-and-mortar establishments. There is an appeal to e-filing for consumers, as they can track and get regular updates on their tax returns. A survey from the IRS found the top reasons people e-file. One of the reasons is that it’s the fastest way to get a refund – 21 days on average. There’s also a level of security and convenience, consumers can get fast acknowledgement, it’s often free and there are several options for making payments.
With accessibility in mind and understanding how consumers are shopping and using tax services today, businesses can accommodate these individuals’ wants and needs by offering self-filing options as well as having professionals who offer services online to meet consumers where they are. Radio is a great way to target tax consumers, as the medium reaches 87% of adults that have used any online tax preparation service in the last 12 months, based on MRI-Simmons data.
Sometimes tax returns do not fit into a one-size-fits-all approach and can become complex when dealing with deductions, tax breaks, etc. Hiring an in-person professional to do the work for you is another option and can eliminate errors that may trigger audits or missed money. Based on MRI-Simmons data, radio also reaches 86% of adults who have used an on-site tax preparation service.
According to the IRS, as of February 11, there have been about 25.6MM e-file tax returns. Tax professionals have submitted 9.6MM, while 16MM have been submitted by individuals who have self-prepared. This is key for advertisers who are looking to target consumers who value doing their taxes on their own. This also gives advertisers a chance to craft messages around their business offering professional services online, with or without a fee to encourage the independence that consumers seek.
It’s up to consumers to gather all their tax documents from 2021 and pick a service or professional that best suits their needs and financial situation. Some value convenience while others seek on-site services to make sure they don’t skip a beat. Last year, 88% of those who listened to the radio filed their taxes before the IRS deadline, per MRI-Simmons data. The deadline to file is on April 18 this year. There is still time to communicate with these consumers. Using radio’s incredible reach can be beneficial in swaying folks on where and how they should file their taxes this year.