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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Intuit Inc (NASDAQ:INTU), maker of TurboTax tax preparation software, posted a quarterly loss and lowered its full-year outlook, saying its customers were facing a challenging economic environment.

The company cut its fiscal 2009 forecasts for sales of QuickBooks accounting software and for revenue from payroll and bill payment processing services, as its small business customers get squeezed by the deepening recession.

For the fiscal second quarter, which ends on Jan. 31, Intuit forecast earnings per share, excluding some tax items, of 40 cents to 42 cents, below Wall Street expectations of 46 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

It forecast revenue in the second quarter to rise 3 to 5 percent to $860 million to $880 million.

The Mountain View, California-based company normally reports losses in its fiscal first and fourth quarters because they do not fall in the tax season, when consumers would buy Intuit’s tax preparation software.

Profits in the second and third quarters usually more than compensate for that loss.

"It’s clear our customers are facing a challenging economic environment," said Intuit CEO Brad Smith in a statement.

Intuit cut its full-year revenue forecast to a range of $3.26 billion to $3.38 billion, or growth of 6 to 10 percent, from its previous estimate of growth of 9 to 12 percent. The new forecast was in line with the average Wall Street estimate of $3.33 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company posted a fiscal first-quarter net loss of $52.1 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with a loss of $20.8 million, or 6 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, Intuit’s net loss was 9 cents a share, better than the loss of 12 cents forecast by analysts, according to Reuters Estimates.

First-quarter revenue rose 8 percent to $481 million, slightly less than the average analysts’ forecast of $483.23 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Shares of Intuit were unchanged in after-hours trading, compared to their close of $20.55 on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Jennifer Martinez; Editing by Gary Hill)

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