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Tax season fuels Intuit profit

The financial software and services company reports significant profit growth for its third quarter, buoyed by seasonally strong sales of tax-related products.

Financial software and services company Intuit reported significant profit growth for its third quarter, buoyed by seasonally strong sales of tax-related products.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company reported net income of $144.5 million, or 67 cents a share, for the quarter ended April 30, compared with a loss of $14.3 million, or 7 cents a share, during the same period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was $545.2 million, up from $425.2 million a year ago.

Excluding one-time charges, earnings totaled $233.6 million, or 75 cents a share. On that basis, analysts polled by First Call expected the company to report earnings of 72 cents a share.

Besides citing a typical seasonal leap in sales of its TurboTax products, Inuit credited the results to efforts to promote QuickBooks accounting products for small businesses.

"Once again, Intuit continued to execute on our strategy to penetrate under-served markets," CEO Steve Bennett said in a statement.

The company reported that it sold 5.5 million copies of boxed TurboTax products, a 5 percent increase from a year ago. It also said that it had 2.2 million users of its TurboTax online services, an 85 percent increase.

In a conference call with financial analysts after the earnings announcement, Bennett said the small-business push includes selective acquisitions. Intuit last week announced plans to buy payroll services company CBS Employer Services and American FundWare, a small software company specializing in accounting applications for nonprofits.

Bennett said to expect further acquisitions that target specific segments of the small-business market.

"We're not going to buy fixer-uppers," he said. "We're going to buy companies that are really ready to lead in their markets."