The one-year agreement calls for H&R Block to provide online filing services and the Internet portal to promote the site and supply additional tax-related services, AltaVista said in a statement. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company claims 54 million unique visitors worldwide.
As the April 15 deadline to file income taxes nears, online consumers are showing a growing willingness to file their taxes online. The surge in online filings has tax preparation software makers and Web-based companies rushing to scoop up their business.
The IRS reported last month that 1.2 million taxpayers had filed via the Internet by Feb. 11. That equals half the number filed online all last tax season. Also last month, H&R Block blamed the rising tide of interest in filing online for knocking out its site.
Intuit, the maker of TurboTax software, said as of Feb. 13 some 875,000 tax filers started a federal return using TurboTax. Last year, a total of about 240,000 returns were completed using the application.
HD Vest, which operates 8,500 tax and financial planning affiliates, is offering free online tax preparation and filings.
On AltaVista's Tax Center, customers can receive deduction tips and audit advice for free but will have to pay H&R Block $9.95 to file their returns electronically.