Nielsen//NetRatings reported that traffic to approximately 29 top tax sites saw a 26% spike during the week ending February 5, 2006, compared to the same period a year ago. 11% of the active Internet users, or 14.1 mln unique users, visited tax sites during the first week in February, indicating that a significant portion of Internet users are getting an early start on the 2006 tax season after W-2's were distributed.
The 14.1 mln audience number exceeded 2004's tax season peak of 12.5 mln users during the final deadline week of April 15, 2005, by 13%. The first week in February also saw significant week-over-week growth, with tax sites collectively growing 25%. HRBlock.com led the fastest growing tax sites with an 84% jump from 1.3 mln to 2.3 mln unique visitors. Taxcut.com followed with an 81% increase from 519,000 to 937,000 unique visitors. Rounding out the top three was IRS.com (not IRS.gov, the United States Internal Revenue Service site), whose 41% growth was spurred by 362,000 unique visitors growing to 512,000.