An analytics report compiled by Google indicates that topics such as healthcare and the devastating earthquake in Haiti dominated tax-related searches in 2010.
“In general, tax season search trends look pretty similar each year, but if we dive deeper, there are lots of mini-trends to explore, often triggered by unforeseen and/or unique world events. For example, we saw a flurry of search interest following the passage of the healthcare reform bill in March,” explained Jon Kaplan, Google’s director of Financial Services.
“The sharp increase in searches for terms like [taxes healthcare] and [healthcare tax increase] likely reflected curiosity about the implications of the new law on tax filings.
“We saw a similar trend following the tragic earthquake in Haiti. The outpouring of support for victims in Haiti generated increased interest in the details of charitable donations as they related to taxes; searches queries like [haiti donation tax] were noticeably high in January.”
Kaplan also noted that “implications” of heightened unemployment levels were also “top of mind” in 2010, with a noticeable “interest” in the effects of joblessness and tax filing.
“Queries like [unemployed taxes] and [unemployment tax refund] were noticeably elevated compared to 2009 search volume, in particular around the season’s first spike,” added Kaplan.