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Tax software sales climbing

Sales of tax preparation software are up significantly this year, as new tax laws prompt more Americans to seek electronic help.

Sales of tax preparation software are up significantly this year, according to a report released Monday by researcher NPDTechworld.

Retail sales of tax programs totaled 6 million units through February, according to NPD, compared with 5.5 million during the same period a year ago. Revenue was up 23 percent to $181 million, from $146 million last year.

Sales of tax software and online services have climbed steadily over the past few years, and analysts and industry watchers expected above-average growth this year, as new tax laws prompted more Americans to seek electronic help. A recent survey, however, indicated use of online tax services has remained fairly flat from last year.

Intuit remains the market leader, according to NPD, with the regular and deluxe versions of the company's TurboTax program accounting for 69 percent of tax software sales by unit and 78 percent of revenue. Intuit lost a little ground from last year. That represents a slight improvement for competitor H&R Block, whose Tax Cut programs accounted for the remaining 31 percent of unit sales and 22 percent of revenue, up from 20 percent of market revenue a year ago.