Tax Day (of Reckoning) is Increasingly Mobile

It’s that time of year. April 18. No, not Pet Owners Independence Day. It’s Tax Day, otherwise known as the deadline to file for individuals to file their taxes in the U.S.

People are increasingly doing filing their own taxes, up 3.8 percent from last year, and that means they are turning to more web and app-based platforms. In the case of Intuit’s TurboTax, it touts the ability to start and submit your tax return either the web, app or using a combination.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service website saw 327 million visits in the first three months of this year that’s down 14.8% from 384.2 million visits during the same period last year, according to SimilarWeb data. Mobile accounted for 65% of traffic, up from 51% over the same period last year.

Just like shopping online, consumers expect to be able to file their taxes on the go and as fast as possible. After all, the average American got $3,120 back from Uncle Sam in 2015.

The IRS and have seen huge year-over-year growth in mobile traffic. For Turbotax, that’s meant a near doubling of traffic from mobile devices:

mobile increase

Desktop traffic has fallen from last year with mobile and app usage likely canabalizing the desktop visits. Traffic is expected to rise again next week, helping create a boost for April before tapering off again.


U.S. Android App Average Usage Time

All apps aren’t created equal. While the official IRS app is very popular it’s not used in the same way as TurboTax Tax Return App. This shows that users may just check the status of their tax refund rather than completing their entire tax return on the app. In fact, the IRS encourages taxpayers to download their app to check the status of their refunds:


Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 7.12.07 PM


mobile app time


Current Share of Android Apps Installed in U.S.

Over March 2016, the tax app with the highest rate of US installs was TurboTax Tax Return App, one of several apps offered by TurboTax. In second place, IRS2Go was installed on 1.09% of all US Android devices and was actually the number 2 hottest app in February 2016. In March, however, the IRS app has been trending downwards, as many users have already completed their taxes and uninstall the app completely. According to our recent Uninstalls Report, users typically uninstall apps after only 3-7 days,  and it seems the IRS app has only a slightly longer average lifespan.

tax apps traffic share by country

Traffic to the IRS website typically peaks in late-January or early February and it’s not just Americans who visit the IRS website. Over the last 4 weeks, 95% in droves, it’s also people who need to file taxes overseas, lead by Canada, India and the U.K. Over 150 other countries make up the remaining traffic to the website as Americans living all over the world try to make sure they file on time.

About the Author -

Ehren is a digital insights and content manager at SimilarWeb. He comes from the world of energy and technology journalism.

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