What’s the best professional tax software for you? It’s a simple question, and it’s not at all easy to answer. Every tax preparer has a different standard for what is best for their business. Some tax pros are looking for a simple, basic tool to get the job done. Others want something with a lot of bells and whistles.
UltimateTax’s team has been doing a comparative study on professional tax software for three years in a row. You will not find a more comprehensive breakdown of the features of the top software options on the market!
UltimateTax is a company that values customer satisfaction above all else. A company that’s motivated not just about making sales, but making its subscribers happy.
That’s why the team puts in the hard work on the software comparison guide—for the sake of helping customers like YOU make the best decision. And that helps ensure you will truly be a satisfied customer if you choose to go with UltimateTax professional tax software.
Whether you are a new tax preparer or an established one, the tax software guide will save you precious research time. It provides a quick comparison chart of pricing and product features. This is followed by discrete reviews of each software, detailing what they have to offer.
Our in-house team feels confident that the guide achieves a fair and measured comparison of tax preparation business software. If you feel that any information needs updating or correcting, click here to leave your comment. Your feedback as a preparer is welcome.
|Software||Price||Data Entry Style|
Form | Interview
|All States Included|
*No up charge
|All Federal Tax Form Included||Unlimited 1040 E-file||Corporate Returns|
|requires a long call with a salesman|
|requires a long call with a salesman|
Tax Software Product Evaluation: A Checklist
Our in-house team has done extensive research and hands-on testing on the tax software programs listed here. The team’s collective insights have contributed to this comparison guide. In performing their analyses, the team members relied on a shared set of criteria for evaluating tax professional software, presented as follows:
- Most Essential Features: No program made it on the list if it lacked most of the features seen as crucial to professional tax preparation software. The team was instructed to check if the software provided tax return e-filing, all vital forms and schedules, all state modules, status reports and multi-user access.
- Platform Availability: Is the professional tax preparation software available on a desktop setup, a web-based platform—or both? With many businesses going virtual over the past year, this is a major consideration among today’s tax professionals.
- Ease of Use: This is one of the key elements that separates one tax prep tool from another. How easy is it to install the tax software and start using it? Can it be mastered fairly quickly? Are the program settings and functions clear and accessible?
- User Experience: How satisfactory is the experience of using the software, as a whole? Does it make electronic tax preparation a lot faster and simpler? Does it assist you in determining the correct tax forms and how to do them correctly?
- Time Saving & Cost Saving: Does the professional tax software contribute to a more efficient workflow? Are you able to complete tax returns faster without sacrificing accuracy? Can you file multiple returns or access various tax forms without paying additional fees?
- Return Validation: Can running this professional tax software help you mitigate errors? Does it offer diagnostic tools which can tell you if your filled-out form is correct and complete?
- Customer Support: Does the software provider offer tax pro advice and user assistance to their customers? How can they access these support services? Can customers look up specific issues on an online support database or forum?
- Info Security: Tax preparation involves the processing of sensitive customer information. Can the software handle secure data transmission? Does it provide safe and secure file storage? Does it support cyber security features like two-factor authentication?
- Add-on Services: Can you use the software to collect IRS refunds via bank products to earn additional revenue? What bank products are supported? What other services are supported?
A Word About Price Comparison
The key measures of tax software comparison revolve around usage and functionality. But there is one more point of comparison to discuss: Affordability.
Let’s face it, price matters to any company that cares about the bottom line. And while quality shouldn’t take a backseat to cost savings, a purchaser should take a closer look at the difference in quality between products. What if the difference is not that great?
Tax preparation is an established process that doesn’t change that much from year to year. Electronic tax preparation tools don’t display a great deal of variation from each other, either. They all accomplish the same functions, more or less. The differences lie more in ease of use, user experience design, gated features, and customer support. And pricing. The price differences between various software products can be significant.
What is behind these differences in pricing? Much of the time, pricing variations indicate the company’s sales strategy. That means offering similar products that are targeted to separate categories of users.
Low-priced tax software options are aimed at new tax preparers, boutique agencies and cost-conscious purchasers. Mid-priced software products are pitched to mid-sized offices. Premium and enterprise editions cater to high-volume tax preparation businesses that serve corporate clientele.
The high-end offerings may pack in features not offered by the lower priced software products. Such premium features might not be necessary for small-and-medium tax preparation businesses.
Price also reflects the market advantage of having an established brand. A well-known name like Intuit can leverage its top-tier branding to demand higher subscription rates compared to the competition.
For the savvy purchaser, the key factor is not price alone, but value for price. You’re looking to get the best value tax software available—one that will satisfy your precise needs at a price point you can be happy about.
One more thing to keep in mind: it can be a good idea to purchase your software months before the start of the tax season. Many products are available at a discounted rate if bought several months before the tax season. The prices on this comparison chart are based on the MSRP of the products. You may be able to find them at a lower price point.
Professional Tax Software Reviews
Price Range: $288 – $888 / $588 (online)
Summary: UltimateTax offers affordable, simple, and accurate tax preparation software for tax pros who specialize in e-filing 1040s. It also has an advanced package that supports corporate returns—the most affordable corporate returns solution on the market.
UltimateTax is one of the smaller players in the tax prep software market. But its product is tried and tested to be as capable as any other on the market. And its user base is steadily growing—UltimateTax Desktop alone is now used by over 50,000 tax preparers annually.
If you think about it, there’s one great advantage of using a less than mega-popular product. And that’s the more personalized brand of service that customers can receive! UltimateTax serves thousands of customers rather than hundreds of thousands, so the company can devote more time and resources to each individual subscriber. Their support team isn’t gonna get stretched thin!
No surprise, great customer service is one of the big selling points of UltimateTax! That’s according to trusted user reviews on Google and TrustPilot.com. “Customer service is excellent and they care, they don’t brush you off,” notes one review. “These guys [are] always ready to help with any issues that can come up during the season and beyond,” says another. And so it goes. Review after review singles out UltimateTax’s top-notch customer support.
Easy-to-Use Tax Software
But what about the product itself? UltimateTax gets good reviews on that, too. The company makes easy-to-use, feature-rich tax preparation software for both desktop and online platforms. UltimateTax gives tax preparers two modes for processing tax forms. One is data form entry mode, which simply presents a tax form to be filled out with information. The other is interview mode, which guides you through the process of completing a tax form with prompts and indicators.
Smart diagnostics can review processed returns and warn you if there are errors. Don’t experience the hassle of submitting a return only to have it get rejected! Ensure 100% accuracy in your tax form e-filings!
You can enjoy paperless filing (if you have an EFIN), real-time progress reports on e-filings, regular automatic back-ups to ensure that your data is protected, e-signature support, check printing, reports, and context-sensitive help built into the software.
Four different UltimateTax packages are made available to meet the needs of several different types of users, from new tax preparers to industry veterans.
UltimateTax Pay-Per-Return offers great value to the new tax preparer dipping their toes in the business. Priced at the super affordable rate of $288s, UltimateTax PPR is perfect for anyone who wants to quickly get a mini tax office up and running, with support for 1040 tax forms, including Federal and all States. The cost for e-filing is only $15 per return.
While it’s well-suited for use by an individual tax preparer, UltimateTax PPR allows for quick expansion in case you need it! The software supports up to 10 users out of the box! No need to send a request to customer support, no need to pay extra for additional accounts! Add up to 10 user accounts as you like—hassle-free!
UltimateTax 1040 Online
UltimateTax 1040 Online is a step up from the PPR package. This one works well for the small tax office catering to several hundred clients. The package comprises free unlimited e-filing, 1040 tax form support, all States included, and bank product rebates.
UltimateTax Online 1040 is perfect for the on-the-go professional. You don’t need to install anything. Access the online tax software from anywhere, file unlimited 1040 returns electronically, view real-time progress reports, and grant account access to as many as 10 users at once.
UltimateTax Desktop Products
UltimateTax Desktop is very similar to 1040 Online. The key difference is that it needs to be installed on your office computers. UltimateTax Desktop lacks some of the mobility features of 1040 Online—such as accessibility on different types of devices, including a Macbook, Windows PC, or Chromebook. It does have the distinct advantage of supporting unlimited user accounts.
UltimateTax 1040 + Corporate is a more advanced desktop solution. This package will serve many CPAs and EAs very well. UltimateTax 1040 + Corporate supports 1040 and corporate returns, all States included, W-2/1099 forms, and prior year tax returns. Unlimited user accounts are provided.
With an MSRP of $888, UltimateTax Desktop 1040+ Corporate is the most affordable corporate returns package on the market. It is certainly the lowest priced option that allows for unlimited corporate e-filing.
Customer Support and Bank Products
UltimateTax places a strong emphasis on customer support, offered through its 365 Service. An in-house team provides year-round technical assistance at no additional cost to UltimateTax subscribers. You can contact a help agent via phone, email or live chat. All customer support agents are based in the USA.
You can get bank product options that let your firm process IRS refunds faster for clients and earn additional revenue through rebates. UltimateTax has partnered with EPS Financial and the Santa Barbara Tax Products Group (TPG) to offer you this service. (For customers in the states of Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland and New York that prohibit standard bank products, UltimateTax offers a FeeCollect option.)
For your information, UltimateTax works in partnership with TaxWise for tax calculations and e-filing functions. The UltimateTax software adds several proprietary features, including 365 Service and the easy-to-use Launchpad workflow optimizer.
Drake Tax Software
Price Range: $330 – $1,695 (desktop) / $99 per mo. + software license (online)
UltimateDR price: $999-$1,099
Summary: Drake offers packages that bundle together tax preparation software, office management tools, and (optionally) Drake accounting software. Note that in addition to each package, a subscriber still needs to purchase a Drake Tax 2020 software license to be able to e-file 2020 tax returns.
Focuses on speedy tax preparation via automatic form filling and offers multiple tax-year analysis. Plays well with Drake Accounting software.
This year, Drake Tax offers several software packages that include Drake Tax 2012-2019, Drake Tax Planner, Drake Documents, Drake Scheduler, a collection of various tax forms, all State returns, and Drake Accounting Pro 2022 (Power Bundle only).
When you purchase one of these packages, you have the option to add Drake Tax 2020 for an additional software license payment of $300 ($330 for the Pay-Per-Return version). Drake Tax 2020 adds the functionality to e-file and print 2020 tax returns.
Drake Tax Packages
In total, there are four Drake Tax software packages. Three packages offer versions of Drake on the Desktop, which has to be installed on your computer. One package is available for Drake in the Cloud, which is an online application.
Here’s a breakdown of the Drake Tax price/package options:
|Drake on the Desktop + Drake Accounting Pro 2022||$2,045||-||-||-|
|Drake on the Desktop||-||$1,925||$675 ($23 per return)||-|
|Drake in the Cloud||-||-||-||$99/month per use (plus $300 for software license)|
To simplify the price breakdown, the cost of the Drake Tax 2020 software license is included in the price shown for each package. The price breakdown shown on the Drake Software website looks different because the Drake Tax 2020 license fee is listed separately there.
Drake Accounting Add-On Option
Drake Accounting Pro 2022 can be purchased as an add-on for Drake on the Desktop Unlimited or Drake on the Desktop Pay-Per-Return (PPR). The cost of the add-on is $395 for Unlimited and $495 for the PPR version.
Drake in the Cloud supports hosting for the Drake Accounting application. But take note that Drake Accounting Pro is not included in this particular package. It will need to be purchased separately at the full price of $795.
Clearly, the Power Bundle is the best-value Drake Tax package—assuming that the subscriber wants to get both Drake Tax and Drake Accounting Pro. If you only want to purchase the tax preparation software, then the other packages may appear more attractive.
Drake on the Desktop
Whatever package you choose, Drake on the Desktop will equip you with a set of various software tools. These include a digital filing cabinet for documents, a tax planner app, and a scheduler. Basically, the package includes a few office management software applications.
Drake on the Desktop also provides e-filing functionality. The software supports the following tax forms and schedules: 1040, 1040 NR, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 1120H, 706, 709, 990, 1041. All standard State returns are included as well.
Drake Tax also offers 12 tax forms in the Spanish language. The supported tax forms in Spanish include W-4, W-7, 2350, and 13844.
Tax Prep Features and Tools
Drake Tax is your basic tax preparation software. It is designed to make the process of completing a return more efficient and streamlined. The software can automatically calculate a return as you fill out the data fields. You can set up shortcut keys and macros to speed up tax return data entry tasks.
One Drake Tax feature, Look Back, lets you view the prior year’s tax return data. You can easily compare it with the current year’s return. With a keyboard shortcut, you can toggle between Look Back and the current view.
DoubleCheck is the name of Drake Tax’s diagnostic tool. It can track any changes that affect verified data entry items. If DoubleCheck detects such changes, it will automatically flag the entry for review.
You can further speed up tax preparation using optional hardware add-ons. These include an e-signature pad and a 2D barcode scanner. The signature pad can simplify electronic tax filing by letting clients digitally sign returns. The barcode scanner enables importing data from W-2s or K-1s with 2D barcodes.
Drake in the Cloud
The online software package includes cloud-based hosting on the Right Networks accounting platform. Every user account receives 40 GB of cloud storage.
Using Right Networks, Drake in the Cloud can be accessed on any computer with a broadband Internet connection (1.5Mbps speed or better). Drake promises 99.95% availability of their cloud-based tax prep solution.
Drake in the Cloud supports Microsoft 365, but you must provide your own Microsoft 365 license. For an additional fee (unstated), you can add the Foxit PhantomPDF application. It is used to edit PDF files. You can also purchase and add applications that are compatible with the Right Networks accounting platform.
Customer Support and UltimateDR
If a subscriber has issues using the tax preparation software, they can get support via phone or email. The Drake web site also hosts a knowledge base of troubleshooting information.
Bank product integration does not appear to be a feature of Drake Tax at this time.
Drake Tax Software is purchasable through the official Drake Tax site. You can also purchase Drake through UltimateTax for a much lower price.
Drake is offered under the UltimateDR package at $999. This package supports unlimited e-filing of individual income tax returns. For an additional $100, you can add support for corporate returns and other features to help your tax preparation business serve corporate clients.
Summary: TaxWise still provides distinct desktop and software based packages, with the online application specialized in the processing of individual 1040 returns. Add-ons like a mobile app are available at an extra cost.
TaxWise software provides basic tax preparation tools that can be supplemented by add-on features such as a mobile app and a refund estimator.
Comparing TaxWise with UltimateTax shows that the tax software programs offer similar features: on-premise and online application options, form-entry and interview modes, interface customization, diagnostics, online tax preparation and bank product integration.
Price Breakdown for TaxWise
With the two products sharing many similarities, customers are left to look at how their prices compare. TaxWise has fairly competitive market pricing, but it remains significantly more expensive than its UltimateTax counterpart across several categories of price and package.
Here is a quick look at the TaxWise price/package options:
|Unlimited||400 Package||100 Package||Pay-Per-Return|
|TaxWise Desktop||$3,058||$2,799||$1,358||$648-948 ($20 per 1040)|
|TaxWise Online||$2,809||$2,559||$1,358||$338 ($20 per 1040)|
You might notice that the prices above are not the same as the prices listed on the Wolters Kluwer site. That’s because they have been adjusted to include the processing fees listed in the fine details of the product descriptions.
Also note that the pay-per-return package for the desktop includes an additional non-refundable $300 deposit. This gets allocated to paying fees for e-filing individual income tax forms.
TaxWise Desktop Pay-Per-Return
TaxWise Desktop’s Pay-Per-Return package supports individual Federal returns and one State return. You can purchase additional State return support. The rate is $12 per State. As for business returns, this package supports Federal and one State, with the cost for additional ones at $18 per state. Business e-filing costs $35 per return.
TaxWise Desktop supports the preparation and filing of the following tax forms: 1040, 1120, 1120S, 1065, 1041, 706, 709, 990, 5500. TaxWise Online supports 1040 filing.
Purchasing Add-On Features
Software users can shell out a little more to activate additional features. The TaxWise Mobile add-on costs an extra $399 to give you access to a mobile app which integrates with the online software. (As of this review, TaxWise Mobile does not work with the desktop software. You may check with your Wolters Kluwer sales rep to find out if this has changed.)
Adding $99 will net you a Refund Estimator. This sets up a customizable website that works like a very basic client portal. Tax preparers can direct clients to check out the website to get a quick estimate of their federal refund.
Adding $155 will activate Return Retrieval, a file backup system. The feature description on the Wolters Kluwer site is somewhat vague, but promises that tax returns of the current year and two prior years can be restored from backup via Return Retrieval. If having this safeguard matters to you, be sure to have a chat with your Wolters Kluwer sales agent to learn more about how it works.
A Strategic Approach
It’s a little funny that a tax software product so simple and straightforward should offer all these complicated pricing, packaging and add-on options. TaxWise feels like it is stretching itself a bit far to accommodate many types of tax preparation businesses. Back in 2020, TaxWise offered only three desktop packages: TaxWise Pay-Per-Return, TaxWise ProFiling and TaxWise Power (the premium package). Now, there are four.
Then again, software companies need to react to changes in technology, consumer preferences, and market realities. With 2020 having been a pivotal year in many respects, Wolter Kluwers must certainly be banking on this new approach to prove a strategically sound response.
TaxWise Software Functions
Getting back to the tax software itself, TaxWise indeed has a simple and straightforward look and feel. Maybe not exactly a “jump into it” ease of use, but you get a relatively short learning curve to deal with. Main functions are navigated via the dashboard, from which you can get to the tax returns, the e-filing area, text and email messaging, and the digital reports.
TaxWise offers both standard tax form entry and interview mode. The interview mode provides guide questions for a new user or new tax preparer working to complete a tax form. It assists one in filling out the tax information correctly without skipping anything of importance. The diagnostics tool adds an extra layer of accuracy checking to prevent errors that may result in rejected e-filings.
Help and Support
A number of help and support options are packaged into your TaxWise subscription. The CCH® AnswerConnect Mini Package provides reference materials. It lets users access the U.S. Master Tax Guide and primary sources. TaxWise subscribers can also browse the TaxWise Online Education Video Library. All kinds of tutorial and training videos can be explored to expand users’ understanding of the software and the tax preparation process.
Customer support is available via a Solution Center on the Wolters Kluwer web site. The center hosts a troubleshooting knowledge base and “ask the community” section. You can also chat with a virtual representative or call the customer support desk.
Bank Products and Language Support
TaxWise offers bank product integration with the following partners: Santa Barbara Tax Products Group (TPG), 3Fund, Republic Bank, Refund Advantage and EPS.
As for Spanish language support: TaxWise provides over 60 forms and schedules in Spanish. Bilingual customer support is available.
Price Range: Not available. Requires long phone call with sales representative.
Summary: CrossLink software is pitched at high-volume retail tax preparation businesses. Its flagship product is CrossLink 1040 Desktop. An online software version is available, but its web documentation is limited—you will need to try the demo to learn its features.
CrossLink markets itself as a professional software solution for high-volume tax return preparation. It is available on desktop and online platforms. The flagship desktop version, CrossLink 1040, is designed for processing individual income tax returns.
If you want to prepare business returns, you have several options. You can purchase CrossLink 1040 Pay-Per-Return (PPR) and add on CrossLink Business Pay-Per-Return. Alternatively, you can purchase CrossLink 1040 Desktop and CrossLink Business as a joint package.
As of this review, a joint package featuring CrossLink 1040 Online and CrossLink Business appears to be unavailable. You can try contacting CrossLink directly to see if there has been any update.
Price Breakdown for CrossLink
The following chart will help you understand the various CrossLink price/package options.
|Unlimited||Pay-Per-Return||PPR + Business Pay-Per-Return||Standard|
|CrossLink 1040 Desktop||$1,495||$349 (includes first 5 returns, $40 per Federal individual return, $35 per State individual return)||$898 ($65 per Federal business return, $60 per State business return)||-|
|CrossLink 1040 Desktop + CrossLink Business||$2,494||-||-||$2,095 ($35 per Federal business return, $0 per State business return)|
|CrossLink 1040 Online||$1,495||$349 (includes first 5 returns, $40 per Federal individual return, $35 per State individual return)||-||-|
The chart includes price adjustments made to reflect the true costs of each package. The prices shown on the CrossLink web site will differ because the various costs are listed separately.
For example, the price of CrossLink 1040 PPR + Business PPR on the vendor’s site shows the price of the Business PPR add-on. But the actual price includes the price of CrossLink 1040 PPR as well as the add-on.
The CrossLink Business packages require you to pre-purchase CrossLink 1040 Desktop. So the price on the chart above reflects the price of the 1040 desktop software in addition to the business tax software.
CrossLink 1040 Desktop
CrossLink 1040 features an attractive interface that should appeal to the tech inclined. The desktop program needs to be installed on a computer with a Windows 8 or Windows 10 operating system.
It provides the usual set of digital tools for tax preparation. The software aims to increase the efficiency of tax return processing while maintaining a high degree of accuracy. The CrossLink diagnostics tool is called Point-and-Shoot Error Correction™. It conveniently leads you straight to data entry errors to ensure you won’t end up with an unacceptable return.
If you have an EFIN, you can use the program for e-filing. CrossLink provides a Work-In-Progress Screen that allows instant status checks on e-filed returns. You will be able to view IRS acknowledgements and rejections soon after they take place.
CrossLink 1040 supports automatic tax calculators that can handle all states, all city tax returns and home-based business filing for Schedules A, C, E, F, and K-1, plus Forms 2106 and 4835.
CrossLink Business is available in a joint package with the 1040 desktop software. This professional tax solution works to streamline the process of calculating tax forms for your corporate clients. It is meant to be used by tax offices that handle high volumes of returns.
One nifty feature is the project management dashboard for accessing multi-office tax preparation tasks. You can set up sub-sites that can all be supervised from a single location. You can view all returns processed to help your tax preparation business maintain quality assurance.
The software supports data entry via electronic signature pads and handheld scanners. You can scan tax documents and associate them with a specific client’s tax return. This can make it easier for you to run a paper-light or paperless office.
CrossLink Business also features QuickBooks and Xero integration.
CrossLink 1040 Online
The online version of Crosslink 1040 is described as both “simple” and “powerful”—it is marketed to both new tax preparers and established tax offices. CrossLink emphasizes the scalability of its online software. It promises to support a tax business as it grows from a single office to a multi-office company.
CrossLink 1040 Online can be used on various devices that have broadband Internet access. You can use the software on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.
The CrossLink web site does not provide too many details about the online software’s features. You should check out the CrossLink 1040 Online demo to learn more about what the product can do. The demo is available on the product page on the vendor’s site.
Mobile Apps, Bank Products and Tech Support
If you subscribe to a CrossLink package, you get free access to a couple of mobile apps for iPhones or Android phones. One is a Taxpayer mobile app that is meant to be used by your clients. One is an ERO app that you can use for tax office management.
CrossLink supports the Santa Barbara TPG family of bank products.
The company provides technical support through phone, fax and email. The official website provides various product and training videos (these are hosted on YouTube).
Price Range: $539 – $2,602 (desktop) / pay-per-return (online)
Summary: ProSeries Basic is restricted to 1040s only, which feels too limiting given the product’s price point. ProSeries Professional supports individual and business returns. Cloud hosting is available as an add-on to ProSeries Professional for an additional fee.
Intuit is a well-known company in the accounting world. It is best known for its QuickBooks software, a widely-used application among accounting offices. Intuit ProSeries includes a data transfer feature for QuickBooks offices. The question remains: does this feature set ProSeries apart from other professional tax software options?
Simply put, a tax pro will be able to transfer data directly from the QuickBooks desktop program to the ProSeries desktop version. Someone using QB Online will be able to transfer data to the ProSeries online version. In both cases, a data verification process remains necessary—and that verification process can take a fair amount of time. By itself, the data transfer feature is not enough to place ProSeries ahead of other tax software options.
ProSeries Basic vs ProSeries Professional
Intuit ProSeries comes in two desktop-only versions, ProSeries Basic and ProSeries Professional. A cloud hosting service is available to ProSeries Professional subscribers for an additional fee. The service is not offered to ProSeries Basic users.
ProSeries Basic is quite limited (as detailed below). Tax preparers will get more out of ProSeries Professional, which offers QuickBooks data transfers, support for multi-user access and a Schedule K-1 import feature. Both ProSeries versions support tax return e-filing if you have a registered EFIN.
ProSeries Basic only provides Form 1040 filing. Most tax preparers will find this inadequate for servicing the needs of a diverse clientele. Indeed, almost one-third of ProSeries Basic customers (29%) singled out its lack of forms as a serious inconvenience, according to a 2017 CPA Journal survey. As many as 207 survey respondents said that they switched from ProSeries to a different taxes software for professional purposes—with the majority going to UltraTax or Drake.
One key deciding factor for any purchaser is value for price. With an MSRP of $865, ProSeries Basic offers less compared to many tax preparation solutions at a similar (or lower) price point. For example, UltimateTax 1040 + Corporate supports 1040s and corporate forms at the price of $888.
Price Breakdown for Intuit ProSeries
The following price/package chart shows the flagship ProSeries offerings (a couple of specialized offerings are omitted, as their prices are not given).
|Basic 20||Basic 50||Basic Unlimited||Pay-Per-Return||1040 Complete|
|ProSeries Professional||-||-||-||$566 ($49 per 1040, $46 per State return)||$2,732 ($49 per 1040, $46 per State return)|
|ProConnect Tax Online||-||-||-||$23.98-$47.48 per 1040, $29.98-$58.98 per business return (variable pricing based on volume)|
ProSeries Basic 20 lets you file up to 20 returns (1040 only). Basic 50 lets you file up to 50. If you go over these limits, you will pay $49 per Form 1040 filed. In addition, the fine print says this: “A one-time annual pay-per-return license fee of $566 is applied if no unlimited bundles or modules are licensed in conjunction with a pay-per-return order.”
ProConnect Tax Online is a cloud-based tax preparation platform. Users pay per e-filed return, with the price varying depending on the volume of returns. If you plan to e-file over 300 forms in a single tax year, you may be eligible for special pricing—call Intuit customer service to discuss it.
ProSeries Professional at a Glance
ProSeries Professional is a tax preparation solution that includes support for 3,500 tax forms and schedules. It is available in four software packages, including Pay-Per-Return (which charges $49 per 1040/1040 NR filing and $46 per state return) and 1040 Complete (allowing unlimited 1040 returns but charging $49 per 1040 NR return and $46 per state return).
Two of the ProSeries Professional packages, Choice 200 and Power Tax Library, are not priced on the Intuit web site. You have to call an 844 number and speak with a sales representative about the pricing of these options. For your information, ProSeries Choice 200 is offered only to new customers.
Add-Ons for ProSeries Professional
ProSeries Network Sharing is available as an add-on to ProSeries Professional (but not Basic). Getting it will update your ProSeries subscription to the network version. This will enable file sharing and synchronization for all users of your ProSeries subscription. Essentially, the Network Sharing feature enables multi-user access to your ProSeries application.
As previously noted, a cloud hosting service can be added to your ProSeries Professional account. If you get this add-on, you will have to pay a monthly subscription to use it. Once you purchase it, you will automatically be charged the subscription fee every month unless you call customer service to cancel it.
The actual subscription price of the cloud service is not stated on the Intuit website. You need to call Intuit customer service or request an online consultation to initiate a discussion on the subscription pricing.
ProConnect Tax Online
Intuit provides a cloud-based professional tax preparer software option. ProConnect Tax Online is accessible via any standard web browser. According to customer reviews on TrustRadius, ProConnect demonstrates accuracy and ease of use, but the software has a clunky interface and it is not a good fit for processing a high volume of returns.
ProConnect lets you use the software and pay per return e-filed. You have a choice of several pay-per-return packages, which charge variably depending on volume of returns. ProConnect offers packages for individual returns and for business returns.
Tech Support and Bank Products
ProSeries subscribers enjoy access to Intuit’s reliable help and support resources. The official Intuit website hosts a Customer Help Center. You can check it out to find useful information about ProSeries. It provides FAQs, knowledge articles and ProSeries tutorial videos. You can also request help from a live community of ProSeries users.
Telephone, email and chat support options are also available, with customer support costs bundled into the ProSeries software pricing.
Intuit ProSeries supports bank products from the following partners: Santa Barbara Tax Products Group and Refund Advantage!
Price Range: $1,195 – $1,495 (desktop) / $1,395 (online)
Summary: TaxSlayer Pro Classic and Web software would be best suited for Form 1040 filing. For a more comprehensive corporate tax solution, you want to get TaxSlayer Pro Premium for desktop or the Corporate add-on for Web.
TaxSlayer Pro hasn’t seen many changes since last year. The packages and prices are still the same. The professional tax software is available in three versions: Classic, Premium and Web. All three versions include free unlimited 1040 e-filing for tax preparers with an EFIN.
Here are the TaxSlayer Pro packages and prices in a simple chart:
|TaxSlayer Pro Classic||TaxSlayer Pro Premium||TaxSlayer Pro Web|
TaxSlayer also offers the Pro Web + Corporate package. TaxSlayer Pro Web alone works better for individual tax return filing. Getting the Corporate add-on will provide you with corporate tax return preparation software. Pricing is not stated. You need to call a sales rep to discuss your Pro Web + Corporate package and how it will be priced.
TaxSlayer Pro on the Desktop
TaxSlayer Pro Classic is software for the tax preparer who files a lot of individual tax forms. It includes support for unlimited Form 1040 processing and free unlimited e-filing. All State returns are included. Classic also supports the following forms: 706, 709, 990, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120-S, 5500
Other features of TaxSlayer Pro Classic include online bank integration, cloud-based reporting, multiple user access, a client retention database and an IRS refund estimation tool.
TaxSlayer Pro Premium offers the same features as Classic, and also includes corporate tax software. Basically, this package is for the tax preparer who needs more advanced software tools that can help you deal with the special needs of corporate tax returns.
Premium adds paperless office solutions. You can scan and save documents as digital files. You can export and save tax returns in the PDF file format. Other features include TaxesToGo® mobile app support, digital signature support, tax return status checking and a client portal app. Clients can use the mobile app or the client portal to securely send electronic documents to your tax practice.
Premium also provides an adpack with printable media you can brand with your company name—promotional handouts, direct mail templates and promotional e-mail templates.
TaxSlayer Pro on the Cloud
TaxSlayer Pro Web is a cloud-based application that has the same features as Premium, except it does not include corporate tax software. It supports e-filing, web bank integration, cloud-based reporting, multiple user access, refund estimation, paperless office solutions, TaxesToGo® Mobile App support, digital signature support, tax return status checking and a client portal app.
This version is ideal for tax pros who work remotely, or who require more mobility. TaxSlayer Pro Web works in your browser. You can access it anywhere as long as you have a broadband internet connection.
Tech Support and Bank Products
The TaxSlayer Pro website hosts a searchable information base with solutions to problems related to their desktop and cloud-based software. Customers can also check out instructional videos and help articles, or access complimentary email and live phone support.
TaxSlayer Pro supports several bank products, including Republic Bank, EPS Tax, Refund Advantage, Santa Barbara TPG and Refundo.
TaxAct Professional Edition
Price Range: $140 – $1,600 (desktop)
Summary: TaxAct Professional Edition provides desktop solutions that include a 1040 Bundle for filing individual federal returns. To file business returns, you can purchase the Complete Bundle. It does not offer an online software version.
TaxAct used to emphasize its scalable pricing coupled with its low-cost Pay-Per-Return version of its Professional Edition. The current TaxAct website has no mention of the Pay-Per-Return e-filing option. It appears to highlight its TaxAct Professional bundles.
It looks like TaxAct is adjusting its product offerings, or at least making changes to its marketing strategy. Either way, it is a little unclear whether the prior year’s Pay-Per-Return version is still an available option. Under that Pay Per Return option, users paid $15 for every e-filed federal return and $35 per state.
If you want to go with the PPR version, you will have to call a TaxAct sales agent to find out what they can offer.
Price Breakdown of the TaxAct Professional Edition Bundles
There are four TaxAct Professional Edition packages available:
|Complete Edition (1040, 1041, Business & 990)||$1,415||$1,795|
You can also purchase Professional Federal Editions. This will add support for an unlimited number of 2021 Federal tax forms. Each Federal return must be purchased separately at $150 per Federal Edition. Available forms include 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S and 990.
State returns are not included with the Professional Federal Editions and must be purchased separately. Available 2021 State Editions include 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120 and 1120S. The price of each State Edition is $35.
Features of TaxAct Professional Edition
If you have used TaxAct Professional Edition before, the current iteration will be very familiar. It offers the usual e-filing, tax planning tools, professional report tools and a client manager.
Software Assistants make it easy to figure out what to do. The Assistants guide the user through the tax return data entry process. You can get help from a topics assistant and a stock assistant. An import wizard provides a tool to quickly transfer data from a different software application.
1040 Bundle vs Complete Bundle
The TaxAct 1040 Bundle gives you unlimited 1040 Federal return e-filing. The bundle also includes all State 1040s. The base 1040 Bundle limits you to a single user license, but you can purchase a 1040 Enterprise Bundle that adds multi-user networking, online data backup and an optional cloud storage service for your files.
Both 1040 Bundles are geared toward tax pros who file a high volume of 1040 returns. The tax preparer who needs to file other types of tax returns will have two options. One option is to purchase Professional Federal Editions as they are needed. Purchasing a Federal Edition adds support to your choice of the following forms: 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 990
Another option is to purchase the Complete Bundle. It supports unlimited e-filing of 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120S, 1120 and 990 Federal returns along with all State returns. Again, the base bundle limits you to a single user license.
The Complete Enterprise Bundle will give you multi-user networking, online data backup and an optional cloud storage solution.
Tech Support and Bank Products
Technical support is available through phone and email. Customers can also consult a tax pro knowledge base hosted on the TaxAct website.
TaxAct Professional features bank product integration with the Republic Bank refund transfer program.
Price Range: $749 (desktop) / $399-$649 (online)
Summary: Olt Pro started out as a cloud-based tax preparation solution, but now it also offers desktop software. It could stand to be more user-friendly. Not ideal for high volumes of corporate returns.
Olt Pro started out as a web-based tax preparation platform. It has also developed a desktop version with similar capabilities. If you have been using Olt Pro, you will find that it has not changed greatly compared to last year. This goes for both the online and desktop applications.
You can choose between three different Olt Pro plans:
|Olt Pro 25 Return||Olt Pro Web||Olt Pro Desktop|
Olt Pro 25 Return
Olt Pro 25 Return is available as a web application only. This product is best suited for tax preparers who handle a low volume of returns. It will only allow you to register up to 25 e-filings with the IRS.
Olt Pro 25 supports individual 1040, 1040NR, 1120, 1120S, 1065, 1041, 2290, 990, 720 and 8849 filing along with all state tax returns. E-filing is free.
With this plan, you also get free customer support and a multi-user setup. Olt Pro 25 Return certainly has attractive features. But the limit on returns is too restrictive for most tax practices, and makes it difficult to expand your client base. It is up to you to decide whether this undercuts its value for your tax office.
Olt Pro Web
The flagship product appears to be Olt Pro Web. As the name suggests, it is a web-only application. You get the same functionality as Olt Pro 25 Return, with the addition of support for unlimited returns. You also get business and corporate tax forms under this plan.
Olt Pro Web has a fast working interface with a clean, spare UI. While this minimalist interface is quick-loading, it appears to be lacking in guidance features. During the data entry process in form mode, you can be presented with a large number of options. It can be confusing to a new tax preparer. If you are a seasoned tax pro, this might not be an issue.
Overall, this web-based tax preparation software is fast and feature-heavy, but can be confusing and awkward to use. It could stand to be more user-friendly.
Olt Pro Desktop
Olt Pro Desktop is, of course, the desktop version of Olt Pro Web, though it does add several helpful features. These include corporate income tax filing, data backup (to your computer), networking capability and a document manager. It can only be installed on Windows computers.
The desktop software gives users a choice of data entry modes. It offers the usual direct data entry mode. Users can also opt to use Olt Pro Desktop’s interview mode. This mode can assist tax pros with conducting client consultations. It can guide them on getting all the information they need. And afterwards, enter that info into the correct data fields on the client’s tax return.
One question is, why does the web application lack so many of the features that come with the desktop software? It is possible that Olt Pro, which started out as a web-based solution, has a large number of Olt Pro Web users. Perhaps the company needs to make its desktop product comparatively more appealing.
Another question is, why does the data backup feature store the backup in your computer? It would be better to employ a cloud-based backup solution. This seems like an odd choice for a company that began as a web application provider.
Customer service includes toll-free phone support, remote support (online), and email support. Olt Pro also provides access to a web-hosted knowledge base with answers to various tax questions.
Olt Pro’s website shows that all products include support for bank products. But the bank product providers are not specified.
Price Range: $597 – $4,485 (desktop only)
Summary: Tax professionals software that provides a large number of IRS forms and schedules including most business tax forms. It lacks an online application. Best suited for tax pros who require regular access to a wide variety of tax forms.
ATX by Wolters Kluwer is a fairly pricey but feature-loaded professional tax software solution. It is probably best suited to a large tax preparation firm that caters to big corporate clients.
One of its top features is support for a comprehensive tax form library. Subscribers can access around 6,000 tax compliance forms, including most business returns. Along with the tax pro library, ATX provides a couple of research resources for finding information quickly. These include the U.S. Master Tax Guide and the CCH® AnswerConnect service (different services are tied to different packages).
Price Breakdown for ATX Tax Software Packages
Here’s a chart showing the price/package options for ATX professional tax software:
|ATX Pay–Per–Return System||ATX 1040||ATX MAX||ATX Total Tax Office||ATX Advantage|
|$674 ($32 per individual return, $57 per business return)||$839 (with 75 free e-filings, then $5.50 per return)||$1,929 (with 75 free e-filings, then $5.50 per return + pay-per-return for business)||$2,869 (with 75 free e-filings, then $5.50 per return + pay-per-return for business)||$4,699 (with 75 free e-filings, then $5.50 per return + pay-per-return for business)|
The Wolters Kluwer web site does not appear to specify the rates for filing returns under the Pay–Per–Return option. The prices shown in the chart reflect the PPR filing costs from last year.
Also, note that the base price for the ATX Pay–Per–Return System is $629. But subscribers also need to pay a processing fee of $45. That is reflected in the price on the chart.
Optional Add-On Features
The ATX Advantage package is the only one that already includes the following features:
- Advanced Calculations and Compliance ($549 value)
- Enhanced Asset Management ($350 value)
- Concierge Care
- Conversion Services
Subscribers of other packages can purchase either of the first two features as an add-on. As you can see, it costs $549 to add on Advanced Calculations and Compliance and $350 to add on Enhanced Asset Management.
Return Retrieval is another purchasable add-on. This provides a secure backup solution to guard against the loss of client files. Something that every high-volume tax practice really needs to have. Subscribers can get this add-on for the price of $155.
ATX 1040 Overview
ATX 1040 is the most affordable option if the PPR version is no longer available. This package is limited to three States and 75 free e-filings.
The software has a forms-based interface that is easy to use. You also get in-line help options on the tax form entry screen. And ATX provides two alternative ways for filling out the electronic tax form. Users can choose the direct entry method or the interview method, a feature added to the software last year.
ATX 1040 comes with a research tool, CCH® AnswerConnect Primary Sources. Note that it is not as comprehensive as the research tools included in the higher-priced software packages.
Other features include E-Signature support, payroll compliance reporting and the Check Return Track diagnostics tool for returns.
Other ATX Packages
ATX Max is the company’s most popular package. This ATX software version includes all state and federal returns along with unlimited free e-filing. Overall it has the same features you will find in ATX 1040. But for its research tool, ATX Max carries the CCH® AnswerConnect Prime Package.
ATX Total Tax Office offers almost the same bundle of features as ATX Max. The primary difference is the inclusion of the most comprehensive research tool option, the CCH® AnswerConnect Expert Package.
ATX Advantage is the same, but also includes concierge care and conversion services. Enhanced Asset Management and Advanced Calculations and Compliance come with this package—no need to purchase them as add-ons.
You Should Also Know…
ATX customers can call a tech support line or email for help and information. Subscribers are not charged additional fees for customer support.
One thing ATX is lacking is an online or mobile version of their professional tax software. You will be tied to a desktop if you go with ATX.
Price Range: $495 – $1,095 (online)
Summary: Cloud-based system suitable for virtual tax offices. Also handy for in-person consultations with clients. No corresponding desktop application available.
From the start, MyTAXPrepOffice has been pitched at remote teams working together as a virtual office. It offers a cloud-based tax preparation app that runs in your web browser. Users can access their MyTAXPrepOffice account from a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device.
If you’re wondering whether they offer a desktop-based application… well, no. Fortunately, you can set the tax software to offline mode, allowing you to work on a project even when you can’t access an online connection. When you do get a connection, MyTAXPrepOffice will sync with the cloud. This will update your project with the changes you made in offline mode.
Given the shift to virtual office setups driven by the pandemic response, MyTAXPrepOffice is in a good position to answer the needs of today’s remote workers. Though it is not alone in this. UltimateTax, Olt Pro and other applications are also viable options for a virtual tax office.
Price Breakdown for MyTAXPrepOffice
MyTAXPrepOffice only offers three plans:
|Individual Pro||Essential Plan||Unlimited Plan|
Individual Pro gives you a single user account and 5GB of cloud storage. It supports free unlimited e-filing (individual 1040s only), Federal and all States included. Other features include a client portal and a signature app.
The price is attractive, but the plan is fairly limited. If you want to file business returns, you would have to go with the Essential or Unlimited Plan.
Essential Plan vs Unlimited Plan
These two plans are very similar, although one is clearly aimed at small to medium businesses, and the other to a fairly large tax practice.
Essential Plan includes the features of Individual Pro, and adds support for business returns. It can be used to prepare the following tax forms: 1065, 1120, 1120S, 1041, 990, 706 and 709
Note that the Essential Plan is good for only two users and 10GB of storage. You can add extra users at $20 per account, and extra storage for $20 per 5GB.
The Unlimited Plan has the same features, plus it includes unlimited user accounts and unlimited cloud storage. MyTAXPrepOffice touts the Unlimited Plan as a multi-office management solution. It is well suited to a company running multiple teams of remote workers.
Features of MyTAXPrepOffice Web Software
MyTAXPrepOffice uses a dashboard that displays widgets that perform various actions. You can configure the dashboard to display only the widgets you want. Available widgets include Recent Returns, E-File Summary, E-File Status, Rejected Summary, News Summary, Financial Products and Appointment List. You can also customize the dashboard layout and the color settings to match your preferences.
The Instant Form View feature lets you and your client both view the form in real time. The client will be able to see what you see, including data entries on their tax return and other such changes. If you set up a client portal with MyTAXPrepOffice, you can ask your clients to send you documents via the portal. This provides a more secure way of obtaining client files and information.
MyTAXPrepOffice users can fill tax forms using a direct data entry mode. They can also choose to use an interview mode. While you are in the process of preparing a return, you can consult the Guide Me feature. It provides help information that explains specific form requirements in detail.
MyTAXPrepOffice provides technical and training resources on its website. It hosts daily live webinars as well as a library of instructional videos.
Customers can seek assistance in several ways, including phone, email and chat support.
MyTAXPrepOffice supports the following integrated bank products: EPS Navigator, Santa Barbara Tax Products Group (TPG) and Refund Advantage.
Price Range: $2,500 for the Express version, must request a quote for the standard version
Summary: Powerful tax preparation software best used in combination with other CS Professional suite programs. After your initial purchase, expect annual price increases when you renew (at least for the express plan).
UltraTax CS is standalone software, but it also happens to belong to the Thomson Reuters CS Professional family of applications. While it can be used on its own, it provides better value if you are using CS Professional Suite or other Thomson Reuters products.
The tax prep software integrates smoothly with the other applications, which also include Onvio cloud software, Checkpoint tax resources and ONESOURCE corporate tax compliance solutions.
UltraTax CS can be a good option for a tax office that processes a high volume of returns—in the hundreds or higher. Thomson Reuters used to offer the UltraTax CS Express 250 plan for small tax practices that will file 250 or fewer returns. As of this review, it has been replaced by the new UltraTax CS Express 100, which limits users to 100 individual 1040 returns—and which is priced the same ($2,500) as the 250 plan.
Price Breakdown for UltraTax CS
The Thomas Reuters website only shows two options for UltraTax CS plans:
|UltraTax CS Express 100||UltraTax CS Express|
|$2,500||Must request quote|
Important note: The price of $2,500 for UltraTax CS Express 100 is only the initial price for when you first license the software. As Thomas Reuters further specifies, “The initial purchase price will be subject to standard annual price increases upon renewal.”
Furthermore, according to the fine print about the UltraTax CS Express 100 plan: “This offer is available to new tax software customers and for non-current UltraTax CS customers only.”
The Thomas Reuters web site does not give a price for the UltraTax CS Express plan. You need to request a quote by submitting an online form and waiting to hear from a sales agent.
UltraTax CS Express 100
Let’s take a look at what you get with the UltraTax CS Express 100 plan. If you are eligible to get this plan, you can use the software to file up to 100 individual 1040 returns a year. It is also possible to file up to 25 business returns of these types: 990, 1120, 1065, 1041
These are hard limits. According to the Thomas Reuters site, if you want to exceed these limits, you will need to speak to a sales agent to discuss plan upgrade options.
UltraTax CS Express 100 provides support for up to 10 States. It is a single-user plan. It does not work with Virtual Office CS, a Thomson Reuters cloud-based accounting platform.
On your initial purchase you can receive the UltraTax Navigation training course, which is included with the software purchase. The course will be given during your onboarding process.
UltraTax CS Express
The original UltraTax CS professional tax software is the more popular option. It supports unlimited e-filing and unlimited users. According to the Thomas Reuters site, it includes all State returns and all applicable tax forms. What that means is, UltraTax CS supports the following forms: 706, 709, 990, 1040, 1041, 1120, 1120C, 1120S and 5500, plus FinCEN Form 114
The tax preparation software relies on a form-based data entry mode for completing returns. This process is supported by built-in diagnostics. Preparers can also access the Help and How-to Center from any program screen.
There is no set price for UltraTax CS. You need to request a quote via online form submission. The price will vary depending on the number of users and choice of software deployment options. The software can be installed on a workstation, hosted on a cloud via Virtual Office CS or leased as a SaaS solution.
CS Professional Suite
UltraTax CS gains more functionality if it is used with the CS Professional family of products. Previously, Thomas Reuters offered multiple software products that included Accounting CS, Accounting CS Payroll, FileCabinet CS, Fixed Assets CS, NetClient CS, Planner CS, Practice CS and Workpapers CS.
Now they have streamlined it to CS Professional Suite, Onvio cloud software, Checkpoint and ONESOURCE. Virtual Office CS, a cloud-based accounting platform, can be used with UltraTax CS.
Using UltraTax CS with CS Professional Suite can help you achieve a variety of work objectives. For example, better document management and storage. Better paperless office support. Enhanced practice management. This is not really the place to go into the various possibilities. You can read the CS Professional Suite if you are interested in learning more.
UltraTax CS does not have a dedicated mobile app. You can, however, use NetClient CS Mobile to view all client tax returns on your smartphone.
Subscribers can get free telephone support or request information via email or fax.
UltraTax CS does not appear to offer bank product integration.
CCH ProSystem fx Tax
Price Range: Up-market software, must request quote as price varies depending on modules acquired.
Summary: High-end tax pro solution priced at a premium. Delivers greater functionality when integrated with other CCH ProSystem fx Suite applications. Price not stated—you must request a quote, as price varies depending on modules acquired.
Wolters Kluwer offers a whole suite of CCH ProSystem fx software products. This review will focus on CCH ProSystem fx Tax. It is a highly automated tax compliance system combined with an office manager. It aims to maximize speed and efficiency while maintaining general ease of use.
CCH ProSystem fx Tax software professional services run as an on-premise installation. If you prefer to use an online application, you could consider CCH Axcess Tax. While it is technically a separate product, CCH Axcess Tax offers the same functionality, more or less. And it is a cloud-based application available via online access from anywhere.
Pricing and Support
Wolters Kluwer does not give a set price for CCH ProSystem fx Tax or CCH Axcess Tax. It appears that the price can vary depending on the number of users and the specific modules obtained. Subscribers can purchase modules individually or bundled together. Available modules include Individual, Partnership, Corporation, Exempt Organization, Estate and Gift, Fiduciary and Employee Benefit Plan.
CCH ProSystem fx Tax customers who need tax information or technical support can call for assistance or chat with a virtual representative. They can also access an online knowledge base where they can search for help info and look up product release notes.
Overview of the Software
CCH ProSystem fx Tax is certainly a robust software solution. It supports e-filing for thousands of calculating forms and schedules. These include federal, state, city and county returns. Among others, the software supports Forms 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 990, and 5500.
Automatic calculations make return processing fast and efficient. Form eligibility can be checked via diagnostics, which flags any errors and omissions.
The software includes a tool to check the e-file status of a return. It also supports checking the e-file status from a mobile device.
The main interface of CCH ProSystem fx Tax provides quick access to the software tools, including the client list, return list, search box and a handy toolbar. Users can customize the toolbar, adding or removing buttons until they have the configuration they prefer.
CCH ProSystem fx Tax is a good choice for the user who wants to get the other CCH ProSystem fx Suite applications. You can use them together to create various synergies that can enhance your tax office workflow—particularly a digital workflow.
For example, you can use CCH ProSystem fx Scan with CCH ProSystem fx Tax to achieve effective 1040/1041 data import from scanned documents.
Your tax practice can store client information, electronic workpapers and other information using CCH ProSystem fx Document. You can do intensive research via access to the Wolters Kluwer knowledge base using CCH IntelliConnect.
Other suite applications include CCH Axcess Workstream, CCH KnowledgeConnect, CCH ProSystem fx Engagement, CCH ProSystem fx Planning and CCH ProSystem fx Practice Management software.
CCH Axcess Tax
CCH Axcess Tax is natively linked to CCH IntelliConnect. That allows users to easily research a topic without leaving their current tax return project.
According to Wolters Kluwer, CCH Axcess Tax has the capacity to work with many cloud-based third-party applications. You can also add support for related software, including CCH Axcess Document, CCH Axcess Workstream, CCH Axcess Practice and a Client Portal.
Federal Direct Tax
Price Range: $299 – $2,499
Summary: Offers tax business partnership packages that include cloud-based tax software along with various tax office resources. These can help with marketing and research.
Federal Direct Tax sells service packages for running a tax preparation business. Every package will include cloud-hosted software for tax professionals. It will also be bundled with a number of resources: technical support, tax preparer training and IRS registration assistance.
If your main interest is the software… basically, you can expect to get the usual tax preparation toolset. The interface is fairly easy to use, especially in interview mode. This “easy interview module” will guide you in filling the data fields on a tax return. Or you can turn it off and directly enter info on the tax forms.
The software supports tax return e-filing and you can track the e-file status of a return in real time. Users can enjoy unlimited Federal and State filing. The Quick Tax Estimator will speedily calculate a client’s refund estimate.
Price Breakdown for Federal Direct Tax
Federal Direct Tax offers four partnership packages at different price tiers.
|Quick Start Package||Silver Package||Gold Package||Platinum Package|
Each partnership package includes the same professional tax software. The main difference is in the included tax resources and services.
The Quick Start and Silver packages do have limitations. They include all individual forms and schedules, and no more. The Gold package also includes all individual State returns, plus a multi-year filing program (up to 3 prior tax years).
Platinum, the costliest package, comes with all individual and business State returns, as well as individual and corporate returns. It supports Forms 1040, 1065, 1120, 1041, 990, 706 and more. You also get a more expansive multi-year filing program (up to 5 prior tax years)
Included Resources and Services
The key selling point of Federal Direct Tax is the bundling of software with tax office assistance. The company has an in-house team of tax professionals and IRS Enrolled Agents who can provide support for tax research and tax return preparation.
The Quick Start package is quite basic. You’ll get IRS registration assistance, year-round tax support and technical support, a 6-step training course on tax preparation and a one-on-one software orientation. As they go up in price, the packages add a lot more.
Silver also includes tax office marketing resources to help you attract clients.
Gold adds backup and recovery services—something vital to every tax practice. According to Federal Direct Tax, the Gold package is the most popular partnership they sell.
Platinum offers enhanced marketing programs and an immigrant tax filing program (which includes training and support). This is also the only partnership package which includes both desktop and web-based software for tax preparers.
Technical support is available over the phone. This can be coupled with a browser-based HelpDesk app that shares your screen with the support technician.
Bank product integration is not available, but you can make use of rapid tax refund options. You can offer your clients as much as $2,500 as an advance on their IRS refunds.
Professional Tax Software Recommendations at a Glance
On a tight budget?
UltimateTax Pay-Per-Return (PPR) can’t be beat on value for price. It’s highly affordable and user friendly, especially for tax preparers managing a low volume of returns. The software is incredibly easy to use and navigate, making it a good option for those newly entering the tax preparation scene. You can opt for a cheaper option in TaxAct Pay-Per-Return, but it is more limited and does not support corporate returns. Also consider making your purchase several months before the tax season, when discounted rates may be available.
Looking for a mobile tax preparation solution?
Your options include UltimateTax Online 1040, Olt Pro Web, MyTAXPrepOffice Essential and TaxSlayer Pro Web. UltimateTax is the most affordable choice among all these. TaxSlayer is best for tax prep of individual income tax returns. It has only limited support for corporate returns (call them for further details).
Starting to take on corporate clients?
UltimateTax Desktop 1040+ Corporate is definitely the most affordable software designed for corporate tax preparation. It gives you unlimited corporate return e-filing. If for some reason you feel it is not for you, try TaxSlayer Pro Premium or TaxAct Professional Complete.
Starting a new tax preparation business?
Try UltimateTax 1040 Unlimited or Drake Tax Software Unlimited (available via the UltimateDR package at an unbeatable price). They both offer unlimited e-filing and a host of other great features for a competitive price. Another possible option is the ATX 1040 Package, although it is limited to three state returns and 75 free e-filings. That might be enough for a new firm, but it is something worth careful consideration.
Serving a lot of Spanish-speaking clients?
TaxWise features comprehensive Spanish language support, having over 60 forms and schedules available in Spanish. Customers can expect bilingual tech support services. UltimateTax also has Spanish forms available on all product versions. You can apply the user-friendly interview mode in assisting your Spanish-speaking clients to fill data entry fields
Looking for software that integrates into a suite of related products?
The solution you are looking for is either the Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite (which includes UltraTax CS) or the CCH ProSystem fx Suite. These are high-end software solutions and are priced accordingly. One possible third option is Lacerte Tax, not reviewed here. This is an Intuit software product similar to ProSeries. Lacerte Tax has native integration with QuickBooks, SmartVault, Intuit Link and Bloomberg BNA Tax Planner Bridge.