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Performance Tracking  > 2018 Tax Websites

Websitepulse 2018 Tax Performance & Uptime Report Summary


2018 tax season didn’t go as smoothly as expected. IRS payment site crashed hours before Tax Day filing deadline. The IRS "Direct Pay" page, where filers can wire money from a bank account to pay their tax bill was unavailable from 4 p.m. until 5:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 17 2018 — Tax Day. That is why IRS gave taxpayers one more day to file their tax returns — until midnight on April 18. It was a necessary deadline extension because the IRS was expected to receive 17 million tax returns during that week, along with 14 million extension requests.

The 2018 Tax season is over now and we have finished monitoring 12 of the most popular tax e-filing websites for our 2018 Tax Season Report. For the purpose of this Performance Report, WebSitePulse as usual measured not only the performance of the website home pages, but also measured a complete web transaction representative for the end users’ interactions with a website.

The report measures Uptime and Response Time as the most important metrics for the availability and the reliability of any web-based operation, critical for the end users’ overall online experience. Measurements of the multi-step online transactions are made every 15 minutes, simultaneously from 3 different monitoring locations: Washington DC (US East Coast), San Francisco, CA (US West Coast) and Chicago, IL (US Central).

The overall performance of most the monitored tax websites demonstrated their preparedness to meet the challenges of the expected heavier web traffic during the whole 2018 tax season. We have found out the daily average response time from all monitored websites was 13.039 sec. The daily average responses by locations are as follow:
  • Washington DC (US East Coast) – 9.314 sec
  • San Francisco, CA (US West Coast) – 20.020 sec
  • Chicago, IL (US Central) – 10.646 sec
This year the speed leader among the monitoring websites was fileonline.1040.com with an average response time of 2.397 seconds, followed by etax.com (3.139 sec) and expresstaxrefund.com (3.759 sec). Far away at the bottom of the table for a second year in a row was olt.com with 36.707 seconds average response time which surely frustrated many of their users.

Comparing to the last year’s performance, the 3 leaders reduced their response time by average of 2.41 seconds while the slowest site this year performed on average 6 seconds slower than in 2017 tax season.

The daily average uptime for the entire group of 12 websites for 2018 tax season was 98.732%. The daily average uptime by locations are as follow:
  • Washington DC (US East Coast) – 99.656%
  • San Francisco, CA (US West Coast) – 96.790%
  • Chicago, IL (US Central) – 99.749%
We have two winners with 100% average uptime for this year’s tax season and they are hrblock.com and freetaxusa.com, followed by the speed leader fileonline.1040.com (99.995%) and etax.com (99.838%). At the bottom of the availability chart stands taxact.com with 95.680% which leaves them with much room for improvements. Average Response times for the whole period
#TargetSan Francisco, CAChicago, ILWashington, DCAvg. resp. time
1fileonline.1040.com3.7612.1111.3192.397
2etax.com4.1052.8002.5133.139
3expresstaxrefund.com4.8493.4732.9553.759
4freetaxusa.com3.1013.6497.5224.758
5taxact.com11.6093.4251.8535.629
6taxslayer.com13.9724.3583.1417.157
7libertytax.com26.45810.2877.37714.708
8turbotax.com29.60310.3775.04315.008
9hrblock.com16.15914.45615.71415.443
10esmarttax.com32.59011.3146.14516.683
11efile.com52.04928.53022.93834.506
12olt.com41.98332.89235.24636.707

Average Uptime for the whole period
#TargetSan Francisco, CAChicago, ILWashington, DCAvg. uptime
1hrblock.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
2freetaxusa.com100.000%100.000%100.000%100.000%
3fileonline.1040.com100.000%100.000%99.986%99.995%
4etax.com99.514%100.000%100.000%99.838%
5expresstaxrefund.com98.662%100.000%100.000%99.554%
6turbotax.com97.109%100.000%100.000%99.036%
7taxslayer.com96.632%99.897%99.864%98.798%
8esmarttax.com97.250%99.499%99.505%98.751%
9olt.com97.286%99.313%98.494%98.364%
10libertytax.com94.685%99.025%99.332%97.681%
11efile.com91.926%99.614%99.689%97.076%
12taxact.com88.417%99.624%98.999%95.680%

Best regards, and takeITeasy™ with WebSitePulse™

Iavor Marinoff, CEO

Methodology:
The 2018 Tax Reports reflect a complete web transaction, representative for the End Users' interactions with a website. The reporting period covers the dates between April 04 and April 18, 2018. 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".