Live online tax prep help sign of competitive 2012

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NEW YORK (AP) — The competition for your tax business is heating up.

H&R Block and TurboTax will both offer live online professional help in the coming tax season, aiming to draw customers nervous about making mistakes or missing out on refund money.

The two companies are also offering mobile applications that enable users to file their tax returns using smartphones and tablet computers, and providing reloadable prepaid cards to use to receive refunds.

Younger taxpayers who file simple forms are the most specific target. Both companies hope to establish relationships with these customers that will last as their financial lives get more complex and their tax returns more expensive to prepare.

H&R Block Inc. and Intuit Inc.’s TurboTax handled more than 45 million returns last tax season, a third of all returns filed.