Tax websites withstand record number of e-filings

Taxpayers set a new record this year, submitting more electronic tax returns than ever before. More than 101 million people e-filed their returns for the 2011 tax season, up nearly 9 percent over last year. The 100 million threshold was breached over the weekend as last-minute filers hurried to submit their returns before the April 18 deadline.

Luckily for procrastinators, the websites of the top online tax software providers performed flawlessly on Monday, ensuring they could meet the midnight deadline.

Beginning on March 7 and ending last night at 11:59 p.m. EST, we tracked the response times and availability of 11 online tax software providers and e-filing websites. The results were impressive. On Tax Day, all of the sites monitored delivered 100 percent availability.

It was the quintessential end to a great month. Over the course of the past five weeks, the average availability across all sites monitored was 99.75 percent. The top performers in this category were:

  1. eTax.com, with 99.99 percent availability. We recorded only one error in more than 10,000 attempts!
  2. ExpressTaxRefund.com came in second place with 99.98 percent availability.
  3. OnePriceTaxes.com grabbed the bronze with 99.97 percent availability.

Not only were these sites available, but they delivered great performance -- better performance than last year. The average response time across all the sites was 2.89 seconds, and three sites even averaged sub-second average response times over the five week period.

  1. OnlineTaxes.com was the front runner with a blazing 0.66 second response time.
  2. ExpressTaxRefund.com was right on its heels, missing the #1 spot by one one-hundredth of a second. Its average response time was a speedy 0.67 seconds.
  3. eTax.com came in third, responding in 0.95 seconds.

Let's face it, the process of filing taxes can be stressful for many people. These websites understand that and took measures to make sure users had a reliable and fast website experience. Taxpayers won't be able to use "technical difficulties" as an excuse this year!


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