Data Divers Profile Taxpayer Filing Styles

Understanding retail, software & online tax service users.

By CPA Trendlines

With options like retail walk-in tax prep, software services, or online filing, how do taxpayers decide? The data scientists at the consumer research agency dove into the data to uncover the factors that may make someone more (+%) or less (- %) likely to utilize one of three common filing methods.

Notably, they ignored most professional tax practitioners and focused instead on the "retail" market.

But the glimpses are nonetheless interesting and may be instructive. For example, Minneapolis taxpayers choose to do their taxes online about 36% more than the average American. In Detroit, they're more likely to be retail "walk-ins."

Percentages assigned against an audience characteristic or interest indicate how much more (or less) likely that characteristic is to appear within a tax filer audience segment (i.e., retail, software or online filer), as compared to all tax filers, based on their behavior during the 2018 filing period. Audience characteristics rely on data segments provided by Experian and Acxiom, which were then matched to consumer interests derived from Exponential’s proprietary network.


Key data points include:
  • Age
    • Retail Walk-In: Aged 65+ +27.6%; Aged 21-29 +3.7%
    • Software: Aged 50-64 +59.5%; Aged 65+ +55.9%
    • Online: Aged 21-24 +82.4%; Aged 25-29 +24% Boomers -31.3%
  • Occupation
    • Retail Walk-In: Truck drivers +65.7%; Executives -43.6%
    • Software: Teachers +43.1%; Non-profit employees +30.8%; Small business owners -14.1%
    • Online: Real estate investors +30.8%

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