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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> 2006 Tax Software?


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Gldaniel (talk|edits) said:

1 January 2006
Hi. I'm brand new to this discussion area and have a very general question. Which tax software is the best for new companies that have only 5 to 10 clients? The previous accounting firm I was with used Lacerte, which was great but too expensive for a new firm starting with so few clients. Any suggestions?

Dyeomans (talk|edits) said:

1 January 2006
Has anyone had experiance with TAXWISE?

Lacerte my be your best bet, Learning curve, pay per retrun in available with no money down.

Bean (talk|edits) said:

1 January 2006
I would suggest using Proseries for Professionals on pay-per-return basis. The cost is very reasonalble - about $100 for the software, and from $15-25 for each return prepared. Worked for me when I first started my business.

Dyeomans (talk|edits) said:

1 January 2006
That is a good suggest. I have been useing Lacerte for 20 something years but have friends that have success with Proseries Pro.

Dee Shout (talk|edits) said:

2 January 2006
I would also recommend Pro-Series. I started my own business in 2003 and have used Pro-Series every year. It's a great program!

Herbach (talk|edits) said:

2 January 2006
I have a SMALL tax practice. I have been practicing on a part time basis for over 25 years. I have beenusing ProSeries for a couple of years. I have been disappointed with it last year. I purchased the subscription littler did I know that the pdf files where not avaiable. couldnt use credit cards and although I paid for 2 states, it wanted payment for state forms each time. I went back to the full version in the middle of the season on a pay per use basis.

I changed to Lacerte this year and seem to be satisfied based on samples they gave me anc converted by preious years files to this year.

I hope this will be a better season without the problems

GET (talk|edits) said:

3 January 2006
I've been using the Pro Series pay-per return, but a friend of my switch to Drake software and the pay-per-return is only $10.00 per return. Have any else used this software and like it?

Gentaxed (talk|edits) said:

3 January 2006
We use both Drake and Pro Series in this office. I personally prefer Drake. Drake Customer service is without a doubt the best I have ever seen. They usually answer calls within seconds. They have a large staff for customer service, and during tax season they put their entire staff on customer service calls. For me, the software is very user friendly and "goof proof."

Jmagnuson (talk|edits) said:

4 January 2006
I have used several different tax software including CCH, and proseries. I also looked at the software from ATX but am unsure about that software. I currently use Pro Series pay per return, which costs 15.00 per return for federal then you pay for the states, plus credit card fees for each return. The only thing I am disappointed with is you can not network the pay-per-return version of pro series. I like pro-series except for the depreciation schedules.

Webbtax (talk|edits) said:

4 January 2006
I use Drake also it's a great software and easy to use. The online filing feature is great for extra income.

DaveB (talk|edits) said:

January 5, 2006
I'm glad to see many ProSeries users. We have been customers for more than 10 years now. While there have been samll bumps here & there, overall the program, Efiling and support is good. As Quickbooks providers, we do like the import function from Qbks to Proseries. This has been somewhat hit and miss over the last few years. I also agree that depreciation could be improved as well as their delivery of the State programs.

Gerry (talk|edits) said:

7 January 2006
I have used many programs ove the past 20 years. I am currently using Lacerte. Its okay but quite expensive. I am thinking of trying Tax simple.....Has anyone had experience with that program ??

Thanks, Gerry

Bogie (talk|edits) said:

9 January 2006
Ok folks, I have it covered. I use ProSeries Professional (on a pay per return basis), ProSeries Basic and TaxAct. I am going crazy deciding which to use and when. all use efile which is great. TaxAct is very inexpensive and quite good and easy to use. ProSeries basic is for the small tax practice ( a small fee covers 50 1040s). Intuit introduced ProSeries Basic in 2004 and it has some limitations. I came from Tax and Accounting Software years back and it was the best. Intuit bought them out and I ended up with ProSeries. I have grown to like ProSeries but it has taken some time to do so.the

DZCPA (talk|edits) said:

9 January 2006
Don't waste your time learning a new program. 5 to 10 returns! So what if it costs a few more buck$?

MIKEG-EA (talk|edits) said:

19 January 2006
Hi Everyone,

My name is Mike, I just passed the EA exam, and this is my first year as a tax preparer (full time). I bought proseries basic for $250, (50 fed/state returns), then another $65 to get the unlimited version , plus I pay $5.00 for the Fed/State e-file each time. The Rep at Intuit sent me a copy of the Pro version, and I pay per return if I do any 1120's, etc. (which I won't be doing anyway; I'm too green). So far, I like Basic, but I have nothing else as a reference. Please let me know if there is another affordable software package out there that works well....Thanks..Mike

Lalamay99 (talk|edits) said:

20 January 2006
Has anyone tried ATX? It seems to be reasonably priced.

Diego (talk|edits) said:

28 January 2006
ATX, the old saying you get what you pay for is so very true with ATX. I started with Pro Fx, switched to ATX (very sorry) and am now using Lacerte where I think I will stay.

Babeigyrl (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2006
Proseries basic pay-per return is what I started with and it is excellent and at a reasonable price.

Babeigyrl (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2006
When I worked for someone else they used Drake and I am firm believer you get what you pay for. Drake did not do any final reviews and didn't catch alot of simple errors we make. Proseries is more user friendly and it does all the thinking for you. It also give you pointers throughout the time you are preparing the return as of other deductions you can consider for your client.

Habari (talk|edits) said:

30 January 2006
I agree with Babeigyrl. I've experience with both Drake & Proseries. Drake is much cheaper than Proseries. Plus, with Drake, you get much more than Proseries & that too at a cheaper price. However, Drake has a MS-DOS look & feel to it. May be, that's why it is cheaper than Proseries. So, if someone is 'old school' & has not migrated to windows GUI functionality, then it may be appropriate for them. Proseries is much more advanced in the GUI technology and the diagnostic tools are helpful.

Spooner (talk|edits) said:

30 January 2006
This is my first time on this site, but the comments about Drake prompted me to sign up so I could comment. I tried Drake about three years ago. It was horrible! It is not much more than a glorified typewriter. It couldn't even handle rounding K-1 amounts. By that I mean if you had two shareholders and an odd amount to be allocated, it wouldn't plug one amount so that the two K-1 amounts would equal Sch K. Support's only suggestion was to manually adjust. What a crap answer! How hard could it be to program simple rounding? I can't believe people brag about Drake. What are they coming from, pencil and paper?

For the record, I've been a practicing CPA for 28 years, almost entirely tax practice. Been using Lacerte since 1994.

Inagpurwala (talk|edits) said:

30 January 2006
I used Lacerte last year and swithched to ProSeries Express in February. I did not get good tech support. I wan not able to find and tech support did not help me either, where to go to input Sch D information for ESPP/Stock Option trade. I have few clients who have ESPP/Stockoption trades every year.

This year Intuit is charging $2000 non-refundable to use Proseries Express, which is absurd. Hence I swtiched to Basic. It does not have many functionality of Express, but I think it will work. ATX and Drek (demo verson)input screens I did not like.

Ibcountn (talk|edits) said:

30 January 2006
Like Gldaniel, the accounting firm that I worked for used Lacerte and I loved it. So, when I left (and took my clients with me), I used Lacerte on a pay-per-return basis. This year it is particularly cost effective since there was only a $95 REP renewal fee as opposed to the $495 you had to pay in prior years ($400 deposit). For a small user like me, I've been getting the best of both worlds: a program that is intuitive and that I'm familiar with, a program that is far superior to Pro-Series (I've used it at another CPA firm and know intimately it's limitations), and that is affordable (I can pass on the costs to the clients without hesitation and still make a good profit), the support is good (I'm not going to say excellent since I've only found one company that has excellent support: HCCS out of Texas which produces heavy construction bidding and field management software...compared to everyone else they are the gold standard...24 hours unlimited, no time limit per call like Timberline Software does (45 minutes)), and they get the software out on time (including the state). This year, for 1040 and 1 state return, the cost per return, including e-file, would be about $39 per return for 10 clients. That's a minimal amount compared to what some CPA firms charge for the "Lacerte software charge" ($125 or more).

I will say that it realy depends on the type of clients you are working with. If ATX will work for you (it's a tempting buy) and I know a good, respected CPA friend that's going to use it this year (he's one of the few CPA's that I know that can recite the IRC word for word, and that is admitted to practice before the US Tax Court).

Sorry if I over-shared, everyone. Just my 2 bits worth.

Gldaniel, best of success with you're maiden year.

Jlmagana (talk|edits) said:

31 January 2006
Lacerte is a very good program and it is not very expensive if you get it on the pay-per-return basis. I paid 98.71 for the software. It costs 25.00 to file a Fed and 1 state return. $2.00 to e-file fed and $2.00 to e-file state. Pretty reasonable for someone with a small amount of clients.

Inagpurwala (talk|edits) said:

2 February 2006
To Lacerte experts: Which Screen # (worksheet) to go to input information related to ESPP/Stok Option trade (grant date/market price at grant date/profit is included on W2 box1/etc). Last year tech support at Lacerte were not able to guide me in right direction!

Answer is greatly appreciated.

Warren (talk|edits) said:

2 February 2006
I've used Lacerte for 20 years and I think it is a great software. During 20 years, I've had to call tech support only 3 or 4 times and they have always picked up immediately and the first person I talk to has been very knowledgeable and always solved the problem.

Pay per return is reasonable. Unlimited is more costly than most other tax software but if you do a lot of returns it isn't much more per return. I pay for unlimited for individuals, partnerships and trusts. I do about 400 individuals so the additional cost per return isn't worth learning a new software. I use pay-per-return for Corp , S Corp, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Benefit Plans, Tax Exempt Orgs and the cost is very reasonable.

Jake (talk|edits) said:

31 March 2006
Can someone explain to me what the difference is between Proseries Professional (what I have been using for years) and Proseries Basic.

My gross is about $9,000 and I am paying $1,500 of that for software. Proseries would cost me as much on a per return basis. Intuit is my junior partner! In my almost 20 years I went from using TurboTax back when no one cared if you used it professionally, to a equally cheap prof program [name I can't remember] to TaxByte for about $500, then to Proseries. Will Proseries basic pick up all the carryover from Proseries Prof files incl. capital loss, passive loss carryovers etc.?

Nola999 (talk|edits) said:

31 March 2006
Lacerte and Proseries are now both owned by Intuit. I assume they will be merged eventually.

Dclearyea (talk|edits) said:

31 March 2006
Hi Proseries users! I've been using Proseries for the past 10 years and find it very adequate for my practice (250+ clients). Also, it has the flexibility of pay-per-return for the smaller practices as well. I would recommend it.

Tess (talk|edits) said:

18 April 2006
I also use proseries and like it very much. I can use the pay per return and download any of the states other than the one I reside in. And since I don't do alot of corps and partnerships I use the pay per return for that also. This year the efiling was free so that was nice. I do 230 or so returns.

Jrg (talk|edits) said:

18 April 2006
Even though this thread began over 3 months ago, I can't help but throw my hat in the ring. When I started out on my own, about 17 years ago, I had been with a firm that used Lacerte and it was the most logical choice for me. As DZCPA stated, why go through the learning curve of new software if you don't have to. Don't sweat the money; continue with what you know. (paraphrasing)

Gldaniel, what did you go with?

Onilah (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I need some suggestions. Last summer, I purchased an E-services account for preparers from a Maryland based company called Taxsoftware.com, where you prepare clients' returns online through their servers. A number of states (eg NY, my home state) are in testing mode, so I would have to separately file the federal and do the state efile in the future. The help desk at Taxsoftware.com (you have to email for help issues, there is no phone number) informed me that NY forms will not be available for a few weeks. What am I supposed to tell my customers who are bringing their W-2s now? Should I look into getting TaxAct for preparers for $100 right now, although I already paid $200 to Taxsoftware.com to cover 2000 returns (I am a one woman operation with about thirty customers).I was looking at fileyourtaxes.com, but it would be too expensive to purchase a set of returns for $12-$13 per return. Any advice would be appreciated.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I rarely do any personal returns before Feb 1. Couple of reasons - 1)Too busy doing W-2's & 1099's, 2) Clients swear they have all their paperwork so you file; then they bring in another form and don't want to pay for an amended return. This year you have a handy excuse for not filing before Feb 2 - Congress! The late "add-back" of Sales tax, tuition, and teachers deductions means that you can't e-file returns with these before Feb 2. I explained to a client that wants to file early (child in college needs financial aid) that Congress had caused problems for the IRS and the tax software vendors and that many returns could not be e-filed before Feb 2. I also said that I wasn't going to do any e-files on Feb 2. I suspect that their system will crash on Feb 2 because of heavy volume. Client now wants to wait until around Feb 5 to e-file!

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
FYI, it's Feb 3rd, not the 2nd, for the extenders (and Form 5695).

Roxnpa1040 (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Hey all! I use ATX and like it alot. I've tried the old copies of Drake & ProSeries but didn't get very comfortable with either one. I like the idea of NOT having to pay to efile or for states (up to 3) as I only work in PA. There are some glitches but I can go in & unlock the form, fix it & go on with my life. I don't like the idea of having to pass on filing costs to my clients. For business returns, I get 10 up front then can add on as needed which I have yet to do. I can even do 1099-MISC's and not have to buy any forms or just use the ones compliments of the IRS. I guess it depends on what you're organization is, etc. They have a great community and now that it's owned by Thomson, it's even better.

Sw (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
I tried ATX one year. It the only software I ever sent back. You always had to double check that everything carried to the correct form. It was worst than doing it with pencil and paper. It wasn't bad on the Federal but at the time Kentucky had lots of problems. If you called they always seem to do an update and correct them but I stayed on hold a lot. They may be better now.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
I use ATX for my W2/1099 software only, and couldn't be happier. Customer service is the best out there in our world. They even have a path to export W2/1099 info out of QB into ATX so that you can print the Uni-forms...Way cool. I would not use it for actual tax prep, tho'...it's far more cumbersome than ProSeries, which is expected on something built out of Excel, but it's a lot less money, too.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
But this is not solving Onilah's problem since she only considers spending an extra $100 after putting out $200. My processor/office manager when I was in NYS used TaxAct after sending back ATX. If I recall, you'd best check their efiling fees; seems to me she wanted to use my ERO status in 2003 to efile them via Proseries after doing them in TaxAct because their fees were expensive to her.

Sw (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
I have looked at TaxAct it seem reasonable for the program. I think e-file is $5.00 for a Fed and State, it gets expensive if you file very many returns.

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
It doesn't get expensive if you charge your client an additional $20 for an efile.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
I efile all returns and haven't had to pay any extra efile fees using ProSeries Pro for the last two years (or has it been three years?). I also haven't charged extra for efiling since Michigan required tax preparers who prepare over 200 returns to efile all returns four years ago. And, beginning this year, I can download any state program and print other states for free. I could never switch to another software after using ProSeries Pro since 1994.

CScpa (talk|edits) said:

28 January 2007
I use CS UltraTax and thought I was getting a good deal by paying a $150 license fee and the PRP. Now I think I'm getting hosed. I'm paying $17.85 for each 1040 federal return and $3.00 to e-file both federal and state returns. It made more since this year to buy the unlimited state software. Anyway, how does this compare with other quality softwares? Thanks for the info.

CScpa (talk|edits) said:

28 January 2007
Also, corporations and partnerships are $27.30 for fed and $14.70 for state and $5 additional for e-file. Thanks again!

XZiler8r (talk|edits) said:

20 February 2007
Where I work, we USED to use Orrtax Classic (DOS) version since 1999. This year I convinced my sister to switch to ProSeries Express Edition. It comes with Unlimited federal, all 50 states, all business returns including all the state ones, for like $1300. We file approximately 2200 returns last year, and we're VERY satisfied with ProSeries compared to Orrtax! It's awesome.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

February 21, 2007
I've never heard of Orrtax Classic and have never used ProSeries Express, but ProSeries Pro is now only $999 plus shipping of $75, if you order the online downloading version. I also bought the Practice Manager for $99, which I use to print worksheets and labels. The total price was about $1,244, including the tax. Unlimited Federal and State efiling, all states, all business returns with pay per return ($25 Federal, $12 Business State, and $3 to efile business returns), and probably contains more forms than ProSeries Express does (but I'm not sure about that).

XZiler8r (talk|edits) said:

21 February 2007
We have the Express Premium version. Whats the main diff. between the express & the PRO edition? Here's what express comes with:

ProSeries Express - Premium Bundle

$1,395*

   * Unlimited 1040 Federal Software
   * All Individual States
   * Unlimited 1120, 1120S, 1065, 1041 and 990 Business Federal Products
   * All Business States
   * Unlimited Federal 1040 E-File
   * Unlimited E-File for All Individual States
   * Unlimited Business Federal and State E-File
   * Includes Network Capabilities
   * ProSeries Express Edition Refund Infoline
   * Client in-office Questionnaire, in English and Spanish
   * Shipping and Handling

Deback (talk|edits) said:

February 21, 2007
I would guess that Express contains less forms than the Professional Version. The order from simplest to best is: Basic, Express, Professional, and Lacerte (as far as I know).

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

21 February 2007
I used Pro for a few years then switched to Basic. At first I hated it. But as that season wore on I got used it. I only do about 185 returns a year so it serves its purpose. I still use Pro on a pay per basis for S Corps and Partnerships.

Hadlin (talk|edits) said:

21 February 2007
i use atx. I am very happy with it. Support is terrific. but propably still to expensive for 10 clients. I would do pay per file somewhere for that few clients.

Mauimark (talk|edits) said:

April 9, 2007
I've been using Lacerte for 20 years. Those were the days, about the same time I got my first laser printer. I switched to Lacerte when the 1986 tax act came along.

Man, when I re-read that I sound old!

I've always been a big Lacerte fan - still am. I'm pretty picky about lots of software but I think that Lacerte is a pleasure to use.

Laticiaw (talk|edits) said:

9 April 2007
Use ATX, ProSeries, and LaCerte -- depending on the needs of the clients...can get REALLY frustrating trying to figure out which client is on what software...but that's the way the ball bounces sometimes.

Jhsclss (talk|edits) said:

6 May 2009
I have been doing taxes for 7 years and am taking my 2nd part of the EA exam shortly. I started out with Tax Act and was very happy with but have outgrown. Considering Drake but not if they don't have a final analysis of your return to find any simple errors you may have forgotten. Taxact has an Alert program that warns you before you e-file if you have something wrong or forgotten something. Tax is $99 for 1040 and addititional $13.50 for all states. Clincher is the fee for e-file - about $13 total for one fed and state return but $500 for unlimited filing which was what I did this year.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

6 May 2009
not sure what you mean, Jhsclss. Drake gives me a diagnostic page to indicate possible errors with many returns...things like age 65 but no SS, etc. Also gives you side by side analysis with prior year numbers, which should help you see many errors. No software will find all errors, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, otherwise the consumer wouldn't need you).

Lmcdon9822 (talk|edits) said:

7 May 2009
Anyone used 1040Works or TaxWorks? I use TaxAct Preparer's version for 5 years now. I am starting to prepare corporate taxes but I notice that TaxAct does not have many available state programs. I am looking for another solution. I am a small firm and do not want to spend much.

Kokomo (talk|edits) said:

7 May 2009
I use Lacerte and like their customer support. It's not perfect -- I would like to have more navigational features and also a help system that is navigational with zoom in/zoom out features in help... I don't know if anyone has that. Since Lacerte is fairly popular amongst the tax professionals, I like to use it because it's easier to train/find employees etc. I don't want to learn new software unless there is a significant advantage.

I know a local CPA who raves about CCH's Prosystems Fx which costs a lot more ($10-$15K) but has "more horse power" according to him.

Funacct11 (talk|edits) said:

28 September 2012
duplicate post removed - reposted by Funacct here: Discussion:Distribution in Drake.

Dusty2004 (talk|edits) said:

28 September 2012
I tried Drake and stayed with Pro Series. I feel it has more functionality the Drake.

Dusty

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

28 September 2012
Here are a few of the current Drake discussions:

Funacct: not sure if your particular issue is covered there, but take a look, as it might be.

Funacct11 (talk|edits) said:

1 October 2012
Thanks Trillium! It helps a bit still doesn't solve my problem. I am going to post in the tax section.
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