TurboTax Survives Twitter Panic
The 2013 tax season was fraught with unprecedented problems caused by government budget fights and IRS delays in updating forms. In addition, some major tax preparation firms, most notably H&R Block, caused problems for taxpayers claiming education credits by not properly updating their own software, delaying some clients’ returns by weeks. TurboTax managed to escape most of the tax season controversy until the evening before the filing deadline. On that night, they had their own crisis which was exacerbated by Twitter.
TurboTax admits that on Sunday, April 14th, some of their online users were not able to access their accounts, causing a panic among those who had waited until the last possible moments to file. The outage was caused by a glitch in the company’s software and the extremely high volume on the web site. According to TurboTax officials, the site was never entirely down, though the outraged tweets on Twitter painted a different picture.
Although the problem only lasted about one hour, from 6:40 pm until 7:50 pm PT, last minute filers panicked and tweeted frantic questions and complaints to TurboTax’s Twitter account. TurboTax was aware of the problem before the tweets hit, but users had their doubts, and so kept reminding the tax company of the problem. All was quickly fixed; however, leading many to blame procrastinators instead of the company for the problem.
Twitter users may not have passed on any useful information this time, but the pressure they exerted probably didn’t hurt anything. In the future, TurboTax will surely be more prepared for traffic surges on their site.