Death and taxes may be the only inevitabilities in life, but taxes come once a year. Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) may have delivered a perfectly good fiscal second-quarter report yesterday evening, but investors weren't willing to cut any breaks after the company gave a lackluster outlook for the upcoming third quarter (ends April 30), just after the ominous "tax d-day."

Excluding one-time items, Intuit reported second-quarter revenues up 14% at $636.3 million. Earnings came in at $155.7 million, or $0.77 per share, as compared to $128.8 million, or $0.61 per share, in the same quarter last year.

Given the usual conventional wisdom about companies like Intuit and archrival H&R Block (NYSE:HRB), while April may be the cruelest month for some of us, it should be the coolest one for them. However, Intuit said it sees third-quarter earnings coming in at $1.12 to $1.16 per share, with revenues in the $685 million to $725 million range. That's compared to the old expectation for earnings of $1.23 per share, with revenues of $737 million.

While Intuit's QuickBooks sales rose 8%, they disappointed expectations. According to the company's conference call (transcript courtesy of CCBN StreetEvents), fewer upgrades in this year's upgrade cycle caused the shortfall.

Intuit's TurboTax still proved itself a strong contender, as the company said revenues associated with the product were up 36% in the second quarter. However, competition in the area has been steep, with both Intuit and H&R Block launching ad campaigns recently to try to lure prospective customers.

Anyone wondering about any adverse impacts of the IRS's e-efforts -- discussed recently here at the Fool -- might note that both Intuit and H&R Block offer services through the IRS site. People who qualify (making less than $30,000 per year) can use the service for free. Seeing how most people who make that amount have better things to spend money on than tax software, that's less of a threat than a good marketing move for better times.

In recent trading, Intuit shares were down about 6% as investors made their displeasure known. It's hardly surprising. Most people who invest in tax preparation companies are used to a nice pop once April's come and gone -- Intuit shareholders aren't getting that this year.

Taxes? Huh? Yeah, it's time to think about 'em again. Get an early start this year and chat with other Fools on the Tax Strategies discussion board.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.