Intuit's Q2 not so bad, soft outlook for tax season but TurboTax sales rise

Wall Street was expecting a loss of 13 cents per share with $786.63 million in revenue.

Intuit staffers must be working double-time at the moment. Not only is the busiest time of the year for its TurboTax unit ahead of the April 15 deadline, but the popular tax prep software is reeling from a security snafu last week.

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Amid all the hubbub, the Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered business published second quarter results after the bell on Thursday, with TurboTax sales showing strength last quarter.

The personal and SMB finance software maker reported a net loss of $66 million, or 23 cents per share (statement).

On an non-GAAP basis, the loss was just 6 cents per share on top of revenue of $808 million.

Wall Street was expecting a loss of 13 cents per share with $786.63 million in revenue.

Nevertheless, Intuit shares managed to inch upward in after-hours trading.

All the way up to Saturday, February 14, TurboTax Online sales grew 19 percent year-over-year with more than 11.4 million units sold.

TurboTax overall, including the desktop wing, grew 11 percent annually with nearly 15.6 million units sold through last weekend.

With a nod at the ongoing investigations at suspicious state-level tax returns stemming from TurboTax filings, Sasan Goodarzi, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit's consumer tax group, said in prepared remarks, "We've worked through some early challenges, but we are pleased with our progress at this point in the season."

Intuit president and CEO Brad Smith stressed in the Q2 report that "early indicators and unit results show our tax strategy is on track."

"While we faced some initial challenges as a result of a change to our desktop product lineup, we took swift action in response to our customers' feedback," Smith continued. "While doing so, we continue to take proactive measures to navigate a heightened sense of concern about tax fraud in the American tax system."

Elsewhere in the Intuit portfolio, the company added more than 100,000 QuickBooks Online subscribers versus the previous quarter, bringing total paying subscribers worldwide to approximately 841,000.

On the desktop side, revenue declined 10 percent as Intuit continues to focus on online solutions.

Revenue from the total QuickBooks paying customer base grew 20 percent.

For the current quarter, Wall Street is expecting big results during tax season with an earnings target of $2.88 per share and $2.23 billion in revenue.

Intuit followed up with a softer revenue guidance range of $2.075 billion to $2.150 billion, and earnings between $2.70 and $2.75 a pop.

Intuit also promised a final tax season update in April shortly after the close of the tax season.