* Sales rise 15 pct
* TurboxTax growth weaker-than-expected - analyst
* Shares fall 3 percent (Adds executive comments)
By Liana B. Baker
NEW YORK, May 19 The revenue for Intuit Inc's (INTU.O) most profitable product, TurboTax, rose less than some analysts were expecting, sending the software maker's shares down more than 3 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday.
Intuit, which sells tax preparation and accounting software said its profit from TurboTax grew only 13 percent this year, less than some Wall Street forecasts.
"There was a slight disappointment here with their consumer tax business," Luria said, adding he expected TurboTax revenue growth of at least 15 percent.
Chief Financial Officer Neil Williams said investors might have set a high bar for growth in Intuit's tax business.
"Any pessimism or disappointment would be from someone who may have expected for us to significantly exceed our guidance range for the year," he said in an interview.
Intuit generates most of its profit in its fiscal second and third quarters, when more people buy do-it-yourself tax preparation software in the run-up to the tax season.
The company estimated revenue of between $567 million and $587 million in the fourth quarter, in line with analysts' average forecast, and a net loss of 2 cents per share to income of 2 cents per share. Analysts on average are expecting a loss of 1 cent per share.
Revenue from Intuit's small business group increased 13 percent. This division, which helps companies process credit-card transactions, manage employee payrolls and build websites, has become a $1.5 billion-a-year operation. It is now larger by revenue than the company's consumer tax division.
Intuit's net income rose to $688 million, or $2.20 per share, from $576 million, or $1.89 per share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, Intuit earned $2.33 per share, which surpassed the consensus estimate of $2.27.
Intuit's sales rose 15 percent to $1.84 billion in the quarter from $1.6 billion a year earlier. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.82 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Intuit's shares closed 3 percent higher at $55.90 before the earnings report. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker; editing by Gary Hill, Richard Chang and Andre Grenon)