How Intuit is making us see taxes differently

February 6, 2014

In just about the last year, I got married. I inherited two great children. I sold my studio apartment in favor of a more family-suited two-bedroom apartment. I donated bags and bags of clothing to declutter before we moved – and a couch too. I taught an online marketing course in addition to my full-time job. I bought 35 Christmas gifts and donated 10 of them to a family I’ve never met. That in a nutshell, is the story of my year.

It’s also what I love about the new Intuit TurboTax campaign running this tax season, which reframes the idea of doing our taxes in a completely new and refreshing way. In essence, Intuit is rebranding taxes.

Let’s face it; none of us looks forward to doing our tax returns. Sorting through receipts, analyzing W-2 forms and 1099s, trying to remember what you donated to whom and what other taxable events you might be forgetting about. Either you put everything into an old shoebox and take it to your accountant or you sit in front of a computer trying to figure it all out on your own. And that’s before you determine that you owe $2,000 more to the federal government. If April 15 disappeared from the calendar, I think few of us would miss it.

And therein lies the genius of the new Intuit campaign where each ad ends with the tagline, “It’s amazing what you’re capable of.” If you haven’t seen the ads, take a look.

The tenor of all ads in the campaign reinforces the simplicity (and almost pleasure) of doing your taxes with slice of life images and messages we can all relate to. There is an aura of nostalgia and joy. The underlying message asserts that if you can answer a few basic questions, “Did you get married?” “Did you buy a new home?” “Did you have a baby?” you can do your taxes.

In effect, Intuit positions your tax return as the story of your year – a look through a photo album in place of a read through IRS tax guidelines or a journal in place of a spreadsheet. It’s simple, it’s straightforward, and we are each capable of it.

I believe Intuit has succeeded in changing the way we think about taxes. I still don’t want to send my $2,000 check to the government, but I believe that I –who has never done my own taxes – easily could with TurboTax.

What do you think – are taxes forever going to be your nemesis or do you buy into Intuit’s new way of thinking?

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