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Performance Tracking  > 2013 Tax Websites

Websitepulse 2013 Tax Performance & Uptime Report Summary


The tax season is over and tax payers can finally heave a sigh of relief. Bill Nemeth, an enrolled agent in Atlanta, GA, said this year’s tax season has been “the strangest filing season on record,” according to usatoday.com. The reasons for such occurrence vary, though major factors include technical issues with the tax-return websites as well as sudden fiscal changes or delays causing confusion among tax payers and even tax experts.

This year the tax websites’ uptime and response time were, without a doubt, notably worse than last year’s. Four out of the 12 websites we monitored, scored less than 100% uptime while in 2012 only three were not 100% up and running the whole time.

The lowest uptime we observed during the whole monitoring period was 99.410% (efile.com) due to availability downgrade to 68.1416% on April 12th, compared to last year’s 99.985% (turbotax.com). We performed 113 checks and detected 36 failures on that day to find out that during 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. the website was returning 404 errors from our three monitoring locations – San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL and Washington, DC. In comparison, last year the same website had 100% uptime for the whole monitoring period.

As for the websites’ performance, the highest response time this year reached 24.796 seconds, while last year it was as low as 17.500 seconds.

Considering these technical hiccups during the tax websites’ busiest time of the year, we could only assume what losses these tax-return companies have encountered, and we couldn’t stress more on the importance of websites’ availability and performance.

Here’s the whole picture in numbers:

Average Response times for the whole period
#TargetSan Francisco, CAChicago, ILWashington, DCAvg. resp. time
1etax.com8.3901.7694.6594.939
2hrblock.com5.9722.4526.6955.040
3expresstaxrefund.com9.1541.7015.5975.484
4taxact.com11.3605.7118.2108.427
5olt.com11.6415.7898.4298.620
6taxbrain.com4.28012.06415.84010.728
7taxslayer.com16.2576.62410.44511.109
8completetax.com13.7109.12211.93811.590
9turbotax.com11.04113.35618.78314.393
10efile.com25.10710.7307.91814.585
11fileonline.1040.com25.39913.08512.08516.856
12esmarttax.com34.16420.91219.31224.796

Average Uptime for the whole period
#TargetSan Francisco, CAChicago, ILWashington, DCAvg. uptime
1olt.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
2taxbrain.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
3esmarttax.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
4hrblock.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
5taxslayer.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
6expresstaxrefund.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
7etax.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
8completetax.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
9taxact.com100.000%99.986%100.000%99.995%
10fileonline.1040.com99.961%100.000%100.000%99.987%
11turbotax.com99.622%99.660%99.628%99.636%
12efile.com99.421%99.402%99.406%99.410%

Best regards, and takeITeasy™ with WebSitePulse™

Iavor Marinoff, CEO

Methodology:
The 2013 Tax Reports reflect a complete web transaction, representative for the End Users' interactions with a website. The reporting period covers the dates between April 03 and April 15, 2013. Performance and availability measurements are made for a typical multi-step web transaction at 15 minute monitoring interval, every day between the hours of 6AM and 3AM EST. Between 3AM and 6AM is the time when a scheduled maintenance most likely will be performed by IT staff and that is why we automatically suspend the monitoring process during this time every day. The WebSitePulse application monitoring service is used to collect data and to create the reports.
The steps in each transaction are comparable for all websites, and reflect the real online user and tax e-filer experience. The simultaneous monitoring is performed from 3 US-based locations of the WebSitePulse monitoring network: San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL, and Washington, DC. In case of a detected malfunction or unavailability, the system performs automated error verification from 3 independent resources and only after the above procedure is performed and has returned consistent results, the detected error is confirmed, recorded, and included in the daily performance reports. In these cases, an advanced WebSitePulse exclusive feature comes into play - Forced Monitoring -, which automatically switches to a 3 minute monitoring interval for increased accuracy.

About WebSitePulse:
WebSitePulse is a leading provider of global, independent, and objective availability and performance monitoring of web sites, servers, network components, web applications, e-business- and email round-trip transactions.

Contact:
For more information about this report please contact:
George T., CTO
phone: 1-407-380-1600
email:


Reproduction:
WebSitePulse launched the Performance and Uptime Reports program to keep the general public and the Internet community informed about the performance of spe cific websites and the challenges their webmasters, owners and operators are facing on a daily basis, especially when the web traffic intensifies due to som e special events through the year. Some of the most popular web destinations, related to each particular event, are selected for the purpose of the Reports, and data from their performance measurements is made available on the WebSitePulse public website.

With the intention to broadly disseminate this information for the benefit of the Internet community, we encourage the use of this information without prior approval and under the following Terms and Conditions:
  • WebSitePulse should be referred as the "Source" of the information;
  • WebSitePulse should be acknowledged as the owner of the copyrights of the information in the Reports;
  • The texts of the Reports could be changed or altered to better suit the needs and the style of the publisher without prior notice to WebSitePu lse. However, the integrity and the meaning of the information should be preserved;

The Data from the performance measurements cannot be changed or manipulated and should be used "as is".



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