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Discussion:Best Tax Program

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> Best Tax Program


Margoth (talk|edits) said:

29 April 2006
Which tax program is better...Drake or ProSeries?

Deback (talk|edits) said:

30 April 2006
ProSeries Professional by far.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

30 April 2006
A drake is a duck after all...hehehe

Martineo (talk|edits) said:

30 April 2006
And which one is compatible with Quick Books???, Pro series?

Deback (talk|edits) said:

30 April 2006
Yes, since Intuit created Quickbooks, it is compatible with ProSeries. However, I've never used Quickbooks (well, I used it once and hated it), so I don't know how compatible it really is with ProSeries.

Jake (talk|edits) said:

1 May 2006
Got a letter from ProSeries saying that the 2006 1040 program along with all States package will be offered in a May for $999. Payment not until Dec. 2006. I presume this is for a single user. Rebnew by June 30th and you will receive unlimyed 1040 individual and sdatte e-file. I had considerered switching but at that price will stay with Proseries.

Inagpurwala (talk|edits) said:

1 May 2006
Jake: I think this price ($999) is for 1040 ONLY. This package does not let you do S corp, C corp and other Business related returns. If I am wrong - please forgive me, since I have not received the letter yet. Only saw the ad.Inagpurwala 23:47, 30 April 2006 (CDT)

Margoth (talk|edits) said:

1 May 2006
The special that Drake is offering $995 I think includes more than just 1040. I used Proseries this past year and the Document Management System which I liked very much. Since I am not familiar with the Drake Software, I was wondering how the programs compare. The $995 price seems inticing, but would Drake be capable of importing Proseries clients? Also, the Document Management System would be another investment.

Taxworld2 (talk|edits) said:

1 May 2006
How does ProSeries compare to Pro Systemsfx?

Warren (talk|edits) said:

1 May 2006
How different are ProSeries & Lacerte? I have used Lacerte for 19 years and I hate to think of changing. But unlimited 1040 package with states and unlimited e-file for $999 is cheap compared to Lacerte. I think that unlimited federal & calif with unlimited e-file for 1040 package only is over $2,750 with Lacerte.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

1 May 2006
Why not go with PPR with Lacerte if you like it? I as well like Lacerte very much but was unaware this last year that they offered the PPR. I used Proseries and like it as well so I think for ease I will stay with Proseries this year. Lacerte is a great program especially if you know what you are doing :)

Warren (talk|edits) said:

2 May 2006
I assume by PPR you mean ProSeries Professional. It looks like ProSeries Professional all modules with e-file and all states is $3,999. I use Lacerte with unlimited 1040, 1040 efile, 1041, 1065 and pay per return for 1120, 1120S, 990, 5500, 706, 709. I'm spending more than double the ProSeries Professional price. They are both produced by Intuit. Is Lacerte that much better?

Taxref (talk|edits) said:

2 May 2006
PPR = pay per return. Once you figure out how to use Lacerte (there are some tricks to it)its far better than anything.

Warren (talk|edits) said:

2 May 2006
Thanks Taxref. Lacerte is a great program. They had a few more technical glitches this year than they have had previously which didn't sit too well with me and paying $8,000 to $9,000 per year when others are paying less than $4,000 is something to investigate. I suppose I'll look at the ProSeries demo and see what I think.

Margoth (talk|edits) said:

2 May 2006
I see nobody has said anything about Drake. It must be a no-go. I have been satisfied with ProSeries. I know Lacerte must the top of the line for the price, but I really can't see paying that kind of price as a small business owner. What advantages does Lacerte have over ProSeries?

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

2 May 2006
I think the top of the line in my opinion is Ultratax...very pricey indeed. But they have an excellent write up program, depreciation solution program, etc. I used it in several CPA firms I worked at, but no way can I afford it.

I think Lacerte is easier to navigate through if you are familiar with taxes and where they belong on the schedules. ProSeries is more inclined I think to be a step up from Turbotax in that it is very user friendly.

I happen to like both programs and won't go back to Lacerte unless Proseries doesn't offer the Pay Per Return this next year.

Jake (talk|edits) said:

3 May 2006
Inagpuwala; The Proseries I have used for years lets you do about anything on a pay per return basis. Have been paying about $1,350 plus shipping for unlimited federal and Ohio. Used pay per return for a few "other state" returns, 1041's, 706's, 709's. I am sure the C-Corp, S-Corp is also there on a pay per return basis. From their letter I assume that it will be the same program for $999 plus shipping and no extra charge for other states. Still will be able to do 1041's, 706's, 709's on a pay per return basis. If all that is tru I will save about $450 on 2006 software cost.

Warren (talk|edits) said:

3 May 2006
I have a CPA that rents from me that uses Ultratax on a pay per return basis. We were comparing prices for unlimited filing Ultratax vs Lacerte last year and Lacerte was the more expensive of the two. I don't remember by how much, but I know that Lacerte was higher. I've used Lacerte for a long time but have been price shopping a little the last couple of years and I've never seen a tax prep software that costs more than Lacerte. Saving the money is tempting but I have never done a tax prep software conversion and I doubt that I would like any software as much as Lacerte so I suppose I'll just stay.

Jake (talk|edits) said:

3 May 2006
Warren - if you are old like me the learning curve is just too damn steep. And it is the after tax cost difference you should focus on. $1,000 is not $1,000 out of pocket - probably no more than $550 out of pocket.

Acctax (talk|edits) said:

3 May 2006
Started using ProSeries after my former software co.(Best Programs) was bought out by Intuit back in the early 90s. Totally love ProSeries. Called ProSeries and they have indeed dropped their prices. ProSeries Prof. is $999 including all 50 states and PPR is available as well as other bundles. They also have ProSeries Basic which is $250 per bundle(bundle includes 50 Fed/States) which is ideal for someone that has has a very small tax prep. practice. Also the data transfer capability from QB to tax program is great and saves a lot of time.

I love this forum. Found out about it yesterday.

Dar

Andean (talk|edits) said:

3 May 2006
What about ATX?? any comments?

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

3 May 2006
Wouldn't use it if you paid me to....just mho

Fedandstate (talk|edits) said:

21 August 2006
Had to switch to ATX for business returns because Proseries refuses to offer all state business tax modules. ATX program seems OK, I used the form program for years and had no problem with it. My friend switched to Tax Wise for same reason -- he claims it works great. If ATX does not work for me this season I will try Tax Wise next year.

Taxguy1024 (talk|edits) said:

21 August 2006
OK....I'll put my two cents worth in here. I used Drake for a couple of filing seasons. The $999 price includes 1040, 1065 and 1120...personally, I thought it was a pretty good deal for the price. I've also used ProSeries and Ultra Tax (as well as several others)......good products, but significantly more expensive.

PDXTaxman (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
I can't resist: having spent so much time the last couple of years investigating these competing programs, I too have to toss in my thoughts here. I see that the conversation was "over" in August, 2006, but perhaps others are still visiting this thread and so this will help someone in the future. (1) TurboTax by Intuit (and Taxcut by H&R Block) are strictly home-user programs. I myself can't even use TurboTax, it's just too slow and frustrating. It simply is not for professionals at all.

(2) I played with a trial version of Proseries (also by Intuit) and was quickly annoyed out of my brain by it. I have a background in direct mail and list management, and am acutely sensitive to poorly-designed software interfaces (software "ergonomics" if you will). ProSeries just sucked! Drop-down menus everywhere, for example. Of course, once you get used to it, perhaps it's fine. But be particularly careful if you're one of these CPAs who hands over everything to an assistant for key-entry; just because you personally aren't messing with it doesn't mean poor ergonomics doesn't cost you money. (3) ProSeries is Intuit's entry-level professional program, and competes on cost directly with ATX/Kleinrock. ProSeries is probably a bit more money, as is Drake ... typically in the $900 to $1,100 range. ATX runs $500 to $1,100 depending on what you order with it.

(4) ATX's 1040 program has wonderful ergonomics. Unfortunately, it is not entirely reliable. An EA we occasionally work with uses it, and it can fail to kick up required forms, or even occasionally fill them out incorrectly. Moreover, the company's tech support has not been very good in our experience. A couple of seasons ago, the entire program failed for a week or two -- BIG problems for folks. (5) Having said all of that, ATX was recently acquired by CCH of the Netherlands (publishers of the Master Tax Guide). They are HUGE, and known for superb products, so a year from now ATX might really improve, assuming CCH puts some resources into it; (6) I know very little about Drake (or Wisetax, either) and so can't comment; (6) UltraTax and Intuit's Lacerte are direct competitors at the higher end, along with Wisetax (which may no longer be in operation; I haven't heard anything from them for awhile). Both Lacerte and UltraTax run in the $2,000 to $2,500 range for small multi-user offices. We are using a 4-user networked Lacerte system this season, but thinking strongly about changing next year, primarily due to some persistent technical problems, and also because UltraTax and others just seem to be more ergonomic in some key areas like Depreciation.

GoSystems, mentioned above, is -- insofar as I know -- far, FAR more expensive than Lacerte or UltraTax. It is designed primarily for VERY large CPA firms, doing corporate tax returns for Fortune 1000 companies, where it may be necessary to have 2 to 200 accountants working simultaneously on the same return.

As for all the others: some of the confusion people seem to have may relate to the fact that for both UltraTax and Lacerte (and maybe some of the others as well), sales are done by commissioned salesmen who are just as inclined to negotiation as any car salesman. Some of the prices are etched in steel, however. We are mightily annoyed that neither UltraTax nor Lacerte include all states with the federal -- they have to be bought separately, INDIVIDUALLY (not even as bundles of 10 or 20), at hefty prices. We are also annoyed by the nickle-and-diming of fees for electronic filing, which again is freely included with ATX and some other packages.

Still, all in all, if doing it over, we'd probably not go with the cheaper programs due to various problems with them. We WOULD probably go with UltraTax over Lacerte (we have experience with both), because it's just more ergonomic and also seems to be having fewer technical glitches. One big advantage for us, however, was that Lacerte gave us 7 years of programs in the one price, and gave them to us in June but only charged our credit card in December. UltraTax wanted extra for the back-year programs -- which we've most certainly needed -- and they wanted most of their money up-front, in June or July, months before the software could realistically begin paying for itself.

We're very interested in hearing about your experiences, since we'll be revisiting these issues after tax season. Email me directly at rkeeling@claritytax.net, if you wish to chat about it.

PDXTaxman (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
Oops -- as long as my posting immediately above is, I still managed to forget a couple of important things.

This season (and contrary to what some others have said), Lacerte's technical support has been extremely responsive and generous, and they deserves kudos for that. No program is a bargain, nor even worth having, if you can't get the help you need when you need it, and Lacerte HAS provided that. That will certainly weigh on our minds when we consider whether to renew or switch after April.

Second, while Lacerte's ergonomics has not been all I'd like -- that includes a mediocre interface with Republic Bank's bank products software (and NO interface to any other banks, so we had no choice but use Republic) -- the program has a very short learning curve, and ultimately is pretty easy to use. And, of course, it's a very robust program. Didn't want to leave an impression that there weren't any saving graces to it.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

February 22, 2007
Which ProSeries version did you use? There are three versions that I know of - Basic, Express, and Professional.

PDXTaxman (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
We tested out Professional. To be fair, that was four or so years ago now -- they may have substantially altered the program since then, and we will probably try it out again after the season just as a matter of due diligence.

Ex-IRS (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
I first prepare tax returns by hand, and then input on IntelliTax for Windows by Orrtax. This allows me to cross-check my work and let's me print out a more professional looking tax return.

There is a learning curve and not all that intuitive to use. Also, after installing the first software update to the network host computer, my client computer was no longer able to access the host computer. I called tech support and they couldn't get it to work either. Their excuse was that it was a networking issue and they did not offer tech support for that and they weren't trained to handle networking issues. I wasn't happy about that after paying about $600 for the program.

I'm now running scans on the host to see what virus, spyware, etc is on there. So far some minor tracking software that appears would not have caused the networking issue.

Doris Hathaway (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
I really don't like DRAKE, but I still use it. I have been for several years now. I deal mostly with clients that have residential rentals, the only issue Drake makes depreciation a pain in the neck. You have to manually enter a lot of figures. It's still pretty simple to use and jump around, especially when clients work out their own depreciation deductions. I tell all my clients to do their asset separation with online software, because the website prints out a 4562 and a depreciation report. It makes my job a lot easier, and it certainly improves my experience with Drake software.

Doris

PDXTaxman (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
Ex-IRS, thanks for the input about Orrtax's software. I did look at that program some four years ago, and for reasons I can no longer recall ruled it out.

Like most preparers in Oregon -- where we have pretty tough licensing requirements -- I was initally trained in classes where you prepared every form by hand. Very helpful! But I would HATE doing that now. I don't know how I could keep up, and ours is just a brand new office. In a couple of seasons, when we're booking anywhere from 4 to 20 clients a day, I know I could not afford the time to complete every return by hand first. If it works for you, by all means carry on. But you might want to consider the value of productivity gains from relying more heavily on your software (and going for a more robust program, even ATX or Drake, or certainly ProSeries, Lacerte or UltraTax).

Will (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
I used Drake to show work and print forms when I was going to school. When I started out on my own I went with Lacerte and couldn't believe the difference! This week I did an 1120-S with 12 shareholders and four separate ownership changes during the tax year effecting all owners. Entering the shareholders and the weighted avg calculations took less than an hour. It's like a wood-chipper I tell you, and I haven't found a big enough tax-log to jam it. :)

I will admit that the depreciation screen takes a lot of mouse, but is UltraTax really that much better at it? If so, how?


William Price, EA | Portland, OR - Talk to me

P.S. - 1377(a)(2) election?? Click a button, type a sentence. I don't know, maybe I just don't have enough experience but there seems like I am missing nothing with Lacerte.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
One point: you have the ability in Proseries Pro to turn off the drop down menus and it is quite simple to do in the initial setup.

Ex-IRS (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
PDXTaxman, you are welcome.

Bottom line is I'm old school! However, he main reason I do it by hand (yes, tedious and time-consuming) is that it is much easier for me to catch any mistakes as I know exactly what I am doing as I prepare the forms. It also makes it easier for me to explain the finished return to the client.

When I just use the software, it is very easy to get lost in the process and not know what I am doing.

I do use the software to prepare the final return and so far, the only mistakes it has caught have been transposition errors on my hand-prepared forms.

This is only my second year, so the client load is small enough that I can still do it by hand. It also gives me a marketing edge against most competitors down here that use only the software (as most of them are only doing pretty simple returns). I've had some clients that switched to me after watching their return being prepared as they sat in from of the "preparer" (though "data transcriber" would be more accurate) and seeing how quickly it was done for the high price they paid. Others have switched to me because the workers at the competitors couldn't answer basic questions, or can't provide any help (because they don't know how) if there is a problem after the return is filed.

As I get used to the software and as my client base grows, I will probably use it more at the onset to save time.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

February 22, 2007
Ex-IRS - The time you are wasting to prepare returns manually could be used to do something else. If you prepared just one return using the computer, you should see how much quicker and easier it is. I can't imagine doing them manually first.

Eademott@adelphia.net (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
thank you to all who partipated... Today's tax programs are getting out of hand as far a price....when you are very small company. It is a bitch when you depended on one company for many years.... and without warning let's you down.....

Lmcdon9822 (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2007
I am a small startup tax practice and I can't afford pricey professional tax programs. I do use ProSeries for one of my outsourcing clients. Its ok, but one year the system shutdown and tech support was not good. After paying a pretty penny for the network version and then find out the OS your using is not supported is not good in the middle of tax season.

For several years, I am using TaxAct Professional version. Its great for the non-network, small tax business. For $152, you get unlimited federal and ALL states, multiple e-file options and ok tech support. This year I am going to purchase the 1120 federal and state bundle.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

February 23, 2007
Eademott - I used to pay almost $3,000 for ProSeries Pro, with unlimited efiling and PPR for a few other states, corps, and partnerships. In the last few years, the price has come down, efiling is now included, and beginning for 2006, all states are included. I paid $1,270 for the current year software, which includes the Practice Manager, sales tax, and shipping, but not the PPR fees for the few corps and ptrs I'll have. I figure I'm paying 1/2 of what I was a couple of years ago. I don't have the network version, and I've had no problems this year at all, except for the delays in efiling a few forms.

CTurner555 (talk|edits) said:

24 February 2007
I've been using ProSeries since around 1985; or the first year they came out...remember the old DOS operating system. Would love your opinion. My husband and I work out of our home, we have a network system, every year have asked before we renewed our ProSeries Prof. whether my firm could be added to his subscription. Until this year, the answer was yes. At renewal time in June of 06 we were told the same. BUT this year, after the fact we were told no; I would have to pay the same $3,000...and yea Deback your $1270 price set this rant off for me... we have one network system, operate our of our home, and pay the network license fee. My husband and I spent most of a day arguing on the principal of a promise made. Well, we have ProSeries Professional this year, but next year we are told that we must pay for two complete sets of the software because we are two different businesses...who cares that we have one network. Deback paid $1270, we paid over $3,000, and are being told that we have to pay double next year. We are very interested in hearing the pros and cons of other software, $6,000 for ProSeries Professional. Any thoughts?

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

24 February 2007
I believe I was told no in an analagous situation in 2000 or so, when my employee who had her own small practice wanted to install it on a non-networked computer in my basement. So she tried ATX and hated it, then began using Tax Act I believe.

Frankly, after seeing the sweeteners offered former ATX users this year to get them to sign up, I am rethinking my commitment to spending the money on their 'power library.' I do many states, but with PPR could probably cut my bill significantly.

Birdman (talk|edits) said:

24 February 2007
Drake is cheap. it does a great job on individuals and federal corps. I have some problems with california corp returns, but I live with it. In the past I've wanted to change to another software, but now I'm satisfied given the low price of $1,000 for everything. I'll renew again.

Pgsinclair (talk|edits) said:

24 February 2007
I have been using Lacerte for about 16 years. I have compared it to several other programs but because I have quite a few oil and gas clients (working interest and royalty interest), I have never found any that can compare to Lacerte's oil and gas package. I have not tried to compare ProSeries oil and gas package. I realize that both are by Intuit. Can anyone shed any light on how ProSeries handles its oil and gas schedules?

Lizzit (talk|edits) said:

25 February 2007
2 cents:

1) I miss Pencil Pushers! Boy, was that an easy programme to use. 2) Of the cheaper products, I like Lacert best for professional work, and TurboTax as a product to recommend to do-it-yourselfers. 3) I use CCH ProSystemFX. That has loads of bells and whistles most people shouldn't need, but some of my returns take up a ream of paper, so I'm going for it. I like it way better than GoTax, and it has a better pricing structure for a sole proprietor. It costs about 1/3rd of GoTax, last time I did a price comparison (4 years ago).

Wkstaxprep (talk|edits) said:

26 February 2007
i'm surprised no one mentioned cch prosystems fx.

Wkstaxprep (talk|edits) said:

26 February 2007
i should have said very few mentioned cch profx, i see that Lizzit is using it.

I absolutely love cch prosystems !

Will

Arman barsamian (talk|edits) said:

8 April 2007
UltraTax pay per return is very nicely priced for someone building a client base. I feel it is the fastest way to process a tax return when compared with ProSeries, Lacerte, ATX, or TaxWise. Not sure how it compares in speed and ease with ProSystems fx. Does anyone have any newer price comparison? http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/oct2004/zaro_ex6.htm

QC1006 (talk|edits) said:

12 January 2008
I moved over to UltraTax from ProSeries. Yes - it costs more but the integration with Write-Up, File Cabinet, Fixed Asset Manager cannot be beat. Their customer service is by far better then Pro Series and they recently added a true Practice Management module. I am not affiliated in any way with Ultrax and it took me a long time to bite the bullet on the additional costs. So far I am extremely pleased. I'll report back after this tax season with a follow-up to see how year 1 has progressed.

HAPPY TAX (talk|edits) said:

12 January 2008
This recent thread might help:

http://www.taxalmanac.org/index.php/Discussion:Tax_Software:_what_did_YOU_pay%3F

Lacpa (talk|edits) said:

26 November 2008
I used both Ultratax and Proseries, the difference is night and day, Ultratax is so inferior, not user's friendly, you can not jump fr one window to another window unlike Proseries. I am more efficient and faster in processing tax with Proseries. I've been using Proseries for 5 years and happy with it.

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