When April 15 arrives, consumers breathe a sigh of relief knowing their taxes are filed and done for the year, and tax preparation brands can begin thinking about next year’s advertising strategies. Gaining an understanding of how consumers feel about filing their taxes, the tools they use and the defining behaviors of their tax preparation process, offers leverage to tax preparation advertisers getting a jump on their marketing campaign strategies for 2023.
The DMS Tax Preparation Survey asked 250 Americans a series of questions to better understand how consumers approach filing taxes. The results offer clues for tax preparation advertisers who want to reach consumers with relevant messaging, when and where they are shopping.
Tax Filers Feel Ambivalent About Tax Prep Season
Tax Prep Advertisers Should Respond By Marketing Reliable, Turnkey Tax Prep Solutions.
It’s no surprise that consumers don’t “love” tax time. In fact, 30% of those surveyed hate it. However, when asked “how do you feel about tax time,” nearly 58% of all respondents said they feel somewhere in between love and hate, most likely because, as the saying goes, taxes are one of two certainties in life. So better get on with it. This neutral group of tax prep consumers is one that can be marketed to with smart, turnkey, reliable tax-filing solutions that promise to make the process of filing taxes accurate, but not onerous.
Not All Tax Filers Feel The Same About Tax Time
Tax Prep Advertisers Should Use Segmentation To Personalize Messaging.
Although we all file taxes, and most of us accept that it’s inevitable, we don’t all go about the tax prep process in the same way. Generational and gender differences commonly impact how we file taxes. So don’t treat all tax filers the same in your marketing efforts. At a minimum, segment by generation, gender and income demographics.
Younger Consumers Are More Comfortable Filing Taxes Online And Favor Accuracy, But Prepare Their Taxes Later Than Other Consumer Audiences.
Of survey respondents ages 18-34:
- 60% file their taxes themselves, online.
- 76% said accuracy was most important to them when preparing taxes.
- 35% file their taxes in April.
- 60% go online when they need help with their taxes.
Younger people are likely more comfortable with digital tax filing solutions because they don’t have complicated financial profiles that can make filing taxes stressful. Plus, they are digital natives, more at ease using digital services and turning to online help when they need it during tax season. Additionally, they often have fewer deductions, and therefore favor accuracy over an expectation of a major refund. Lastly, probably because their tax filing is not complex, this younger consumer group was also the most likely to file later.
When targeting younger tax filers, tax prep advertisers should prioritize messaging about simple, easy-to-complete, online solutions that offer immediate results. Making sure to continue campaigns targeting this audience later in the tax season will also help capture the attention of the stragglers more common in this age group.
Middle-Aged Consumers Sometimes File Online, Value A Refund And Typically File In A Timely Fashion.
Of survey respondents ages 35-54:
- 36% file their taxes online.
- 35% say getting the most back is “most important” when filing taxes.
- 27% file their taxes in February.
Respondents ages 35-54 chose “getting the most money back” more than younger and older audiences. This age group has the most “refund-friendly” tax profile, with deductions like mortgages and children under 17, which often comes with an expectation of a refund.
Tax prep advertisers should target the middle-aged audience with ads and promotions that focus on refund-friendly tax preparation solutions. Digital tax prep solutions are increasingly popular with this age group and should be a factor in messaging from tax preparation companies that offer online filing options.
Baby Boomers Aren’t Filing Online As Much As Younger Generations. They Favor Accuracy And Turn To CPAs For Advice.
Of survey respondents ages 55-65+:
- 48% use a CPA or tax specialist to prepare their tax returns.
- 62% said accuracy was most important to them when preparing taxes.
- 56% file their taxes in February or March.
Older people, likely to be less familiar with online filing solutions and potentially less trusting that they’ll find every deduction with an out-of-the-box tax prep solution, are more inclined to use a tax specialist or CPA than file digitally. Baby Boomers also value accuracy and typically file early in the tax season.
For advertisers trying to reach this group, building trust should be an important part of messaging, including assurances that tax experts, like CPAs, are available to help and that complex financial portfolios are a part of their digital tax filing capabilities.
Women Want A Refund; Men Want Affordable Filing Solutions.
- 32% of women vs. 23% of men said getting the most money back was important.
- 19% of men vs. 14% of women want inexpensive tax preparation.
- 36% of men vs. 26% of women choose their tax preparation method in January.
- 34% of women vs. 19% of men file their taxes in February. The majority of women (56%) file taxes in March and April, which is inline with the majority of those surveyed overall.
Although women valued accuracy – nearly 68% of those surveyed said so – they also cited maximizing their refunds as a top priority. However, based on survey results, men are more likely to respond to tax season promotions that promise inexpensive preparation and filing.
Men and women were typically in agreement when it came to tax preparation and their preferred preparation methods. However, men tend to decide how they will file taxes earlier than women (often in January) and get a jump on filing that same month, while women spread their filing across February, March and April. It’s never too early in tax season for tax preparation advertisers to start targeting these early decision makers and filers with deals and messaging that explains their products and services.
Early And Often Should Be The Strategy For Tax Preparation Marketers Trying To Reach Consumers In The Consideration And Decision Phase
Across age groups, January was the time most people decided, or likely began considering, what method of filing they planned to use for their taxes. That means tax prep advertisers need to be building awareness before the calendar flips to 2023, with customer acquisition campaigns launching live right after the new year.
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