TurboTax hilariously insists doing your taxes isn't scary

Commentary: Intuit's online tax preparation software brand releases an amusing ad for all those who can't face the annual ritual.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Is this how the thought of doing your taxes makes you feel?

Intuit/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Plenty can fill you with dread. 

Visits to the dentist. Visits with family. Filing your taxes.

In a newly released ad, Intuit's TurboTax businesses insists there's nothing frightening about the last entry on that list. In fact, the online software service reassures you with scare tactics. 

In the opening scene, a terrified woman hides in a closet. She hears a door creak open. A shadow falls on the floor. 

It's a classic horror movie trope. 

Who or what is she hiding from? A menacing monster? A flesh-eating zombie? Jack Nicholson, out of seeming retirement, wielding an ax?

Not quite. Instead, it's a knitted teddy bear. Apparently, they scare the life out of some people. 

I confess to seeing this ad on TV last night and feeling utter contempt for its exploitative quality. 

Until, that is, the bear started to dance. And to squeal.

The shimmying and squeaking went on for so long that I began to snort with laughter. 

I've never used TurboTax or other online tax software, so I can't speak to whether they make filing less frightening. I'm of the pen-and-paper mentality.

Apparently, I'm not alone. Millennials -- the same generation that is so familiar with the digital world -- file by paper at a higher rate than those of greater years. 

A total of 17 percent of taxpayers between the ages of 18 and 34 filed by paper, according to a survey published by NerdWallet in 2016. That was more than double the 8 percent of taxpayers aged 35 and older who filed by paper. 

TurboTax's ad, then, might offer the perfect excuse to get them laughing about their fear of taxes. 

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