I asked on the 15th, of February, thanks to a Intuit TurboTax contest at YouTube.
On tax day this week I got the answer: I heard straight from YouTube, and got the message from the IRS.
In February, I chided the Vanilla Ice led, Intuit sponsored make your own "tax rap" video at YouTube contest, noting:
Who is “America’s most trusted” when it comes to the IRS? Vanilla Ice, fool! (as suggested by the advertising agency for Intuit’s TurboTax!)
But not so, big time.
While Intuit was keen on making TurboTax "cool" at YouTube, it was getting itself in hot water with the IRS.
Monday, I heard Suzie Reider, YouTube marketing exec, extol the Intuit campaign at YouTube. She cited (not quite clear) metrics at the Advertising Research Foundation conference in New York City:
Intuit fees to YouTube to run contest: "Only" several hundred thousand dollars,
Intuit fee to YouTuber winner of contest: (only) $25,000,
YouTuber views of Intuit contest videos: Millions,
YouTuber video contest sumbissions: About 350.
Intuit may be "bad" with YouTubers, but it is REALLY, REALLY BAD with the IRS, and the taxpayers relying on Intuit to provide proper submission of their tax returns.
Large numbers of last minute filers this week were unable to properly file with the IRS via the Intuit electronic filing system, due to massive slowdowns.
The Intuit initial "suggestion" to its customers that were subject to possible IRS late fees and/or penalties because they used Intuit's online tax return filing service, via a "spokesperson":
Don't wait until the last minute is the moral of the story.
Not quite. Intuit CEO Steve Bennett later:
We deeply regret the frustration and anxiety this caused our customers. This is not the experience customers have come to expect from Intuit. It's not acceptable to us, and we will do right by our customers who were impacted by this delay.
Intuit worked closely with the Internal Revenue Service and appreciates that it has agreed to allow taxpayers who were affected by the delay to file their returns until midnight on Thursday, April 19.
Contrary to popular immediate perception, the snafu was not due to poor capacity planning on the part of Intuit, according to the company:
Intuit has found that, while the Lacerte, ProSeries and TurboTax products worked well and the capacity was in place to meet demand, an intermittent database problem in the company's e-filing system caused a serious and painful delay for customers on Tuesday afternoon and evening.
It is unfortunate that we experienced this database issue during one of our busiest times. I'm pleased with the way our team and the IRS responded in the moment for customers. We took steps to address the problem right away, the e-filing system is running properly now, and we'll continue to take the necessary steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Real moral of the story? IT really does matter, a good IT execution that is.
Another Moral: Should Google really buy Intuit?