TurboTax Maker Intuit Posts Smaller-than-Expected Loss

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Intuit Inc (INTU) reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss due to a strong demand for its online tax-preparation software, TurboTax, at the start of the U.S. tax-filing season.

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The company's shares rose as much as 6 percent to $96.45 in after-market trading on Thursday.

Intuit also raised the full-year online subscriber growth estimate for its flagship accounting software, QuickBooks.

The company said it now expects QuickBooks online subscribers of 975,000 to 1 million, up from 925,000-950,000 forecast earlier.

Intuit said it would make "significant investments" in the current quarter to beef up online security.

The company had temporarily stopped transmitting state returns earlier this month using its do-it-yourself TurboTax software after noticing attempts to use stolen identity information to file fraudulent returns.

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"We continue to believe these instances of fraud did not result from a security breach of our systems," Chief Executive Officer Brad Smith said in a conference call.

Intuit's net loss widened to $66 million, or 23 cents per share, for the second quarter ended Jan. 31, from $37 million, or 13 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company reported a loss of 6 cents per share, way below the 13 cents analysts had expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total net revenue rose 3.3 percent to $808 million.

Wedbush Securities analyst Gil Luria said Intuit had a "very good start" to the tax season, considering that the company faced issues like fraud and tax code changes brought by the Affordable Care Act.

Total expenses jumped 9.4 percent to $906 million.

Intuit, which competes with shop-front tax preparer H&R Block Inc, also maintained its full-year forecast.

(Reporting by Avik Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)