Intuit’s TurboTax is hiring more than 1,000 certified public accountants and enrolled agents to assist struggling tax filers on demand. The new service costs $150 per tax filing and allows customers to schedule a call with an accountant on standby, sparing themselves a trip to a storefront tax preparer. Ideally, this tax expert would be available within 15 minutes depending on demand. Customers may also be prompted to schedule calls hours later or the next day.
Once connected with an expert, a little video window will appear on the screen. Customers will be able to see their tax advisor, but the tax advisor will not be able to see customers. Tax advisors will also be able to share the screen of the clients they’re attending. Intuit says its CPAs and EAs will only be able to access browser tabs logged into TurboTax; other browser tabs will be blacked out. “Doing video chat at this scale and with this simplicity took us time to figure out,” says Dan Werkinoff, executive VP of Intuit’s Tax Group.
TurboTax is just the latest company to get in on the gig economy. Though accountants on the TurboTax platform will work flexibly, they are W-2 hourly employees at Intuit and will be offered health benefits and access to a 401(k) plan—making Intuit’s offering an outlier among gig platforms. Intuit declined to say how much its accountants earn.
“It’s a little late for something like this to happen at this point,” acknowledges Werkinoff, adding: “It’s 2017.”
This story has been updated with additional context from Intuit.RR