Free Trial: TheSiteFactory.com

TaxActPro/TaxSlayerPro

Software. Marketing. Training. Running your business.
#1
Posts:
7
Joined:
28-Apr-2021 12:10pm
Location:
CT
Does anyone have any experience with either TaxAct Pro or Taxslayer Pro software? Made the big mistake of switching to MyTaxPrepOffice last year and now find myself needing to make another change. Can't justify the expense of the premium pro packages and really wanted a web based solution for both personal and business, but doesn't look like that's possible. Need a package that is accurate and reliable, especially with state returns. I'm a one man shop so not having to recheck every single line of a completed return would be a welcome change! Thanks for any insight!

Jim Stavris
 

#2
sjrcpa  
Posts:
3607
Joined:
23-Apr-2014 5:27pm
Location:
Maryland
Have you looked at Intuit ProConnect Tax Online?
It is based on Lacerte but costs less. Also has less bells and whistles.
I have no experience with it. Just thought it could be a web based option for you.
 

#3
Posts:
7
Joined:
28-Apr-2021 12:10pm
Location:
CT
srjcpa:

Thanks for the comment. I have taken a quick look at the intuit products but they seemed to be cost prohibitive to me. I'll take a closer look at ProConnect. Thanks again!
 

#4
Posts:
2147
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 11:24am
Location:
North Carolina
I used Proconnect for a few years. It's good but it gets cost-prohibitive if you have a full-time practice. It's several years since I used it but I found the screens to be a bit busy. Despite the busy screens, there was a lot of drilling down.

I have just switched from TaxAct. It is good for the relatively simple returns. Really good, in fact. Depreciation is, in my view, an issue. You can't over-ride and e-file. Some will disagree, but that is my experience and it is what caused me to shift, along with the issues with SEHI and Obamacare subsidies (ie, not being able to e-file). I now use Drake and it does the things I need to to do for my client base.

What I miss about TaxAct: you can review input without having to recalculate. That is a really good timesaver. In general, it is intuitive and speedy. Finally, the report you get on each client that shows the status of the e-file. Simple, but helps client relations. It turns into a zero-graphic PDF with plain English written on it and my clients liked it. If clients had a Sharefile account with me, I routinely uploaded it.

What I do not miss about TaxAct: the e-file process. It's basically the consumer software filing process and takes far too long after clearing the diagnostics.

TaxAct is good if it fits your client base and if it does, I would recommend it. It no longer fits my client base, which is why I moved on after 18 years using their consumer and, latterly, pro software.
 

#5
ATSMAN  
Posts:
1941
Joined:
31-May-2014 8:34pm
Location:
MA
Jim how many returns do you do typically and which states you file. If you are only doing 1040 returns (no 1065,1041,1120 etc.) you may be able to do with either pay per return or check out packages like Drake, ATX. Actually Drake will do corporate and fiduciary returns in their standalone package.
What is your budget? If it is less than $1000 your choices are very limited. You can get a decent package if you go up to $1500. :)
 

#6
Posts:
7
Joined:
28-Apr-2021 12:10pm
Location:
CT
I do about 160 personal returns (no high wealth or seriously complex returns currently) and around 25 business returns (mostly 1065 and 1120S with a 990 and a couple of 1041's). While most returns are in my home state, I have a couple of dozen returns with 2 or more states (mostly Northeast, but WI, AZ, CA, GA and MO as well). I want to keep the cost at or below $2,000, all in.
 

#7
Posts:
2147
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 11:24am
Location:
North Carolina
Less than $2,000 and 160 returns? Well, that knocks out Proconnect unless you buy the returns when they are on sale. Even then, you'd struggle to keep below that. Because you have multiple states, doing TaxAct for the individuals and Proconnect for businesses would probably exceed that.

See what you think of TaxAct and Drake (I have no experience of Taxslayer). Thoroughly test TaxAct on your business returns, including the EF messages, and see if it meets your needs. Drake and, from this year, TaxAct have pay-as-you-go versions.
 

#8
Posts:
7
Joined:
28-Apr-2021 12:10pm
Location:
CT
Thanks for your input...I know that price point seems low for the number of returns, but my average fee per return is nowhere near what it should be...I understand that is my fault; it's part of the reason why this is a seasonal only, part-time practice. I'm a University Professor fulltime. This practice has been a "side business" for me for over 30 years and has slowly creeped up to the level it's at now. I was an ATX guy for many years until an April 13th system crash took away all of my files and they were less than helpful in restoring any of the files. Used Drake and TaxWise for a couple of years, but really didn't like the desktop version interfaces and found them less than accurate. MyTaxPrepOffice, though, has been the worst for return accuracy (especially state returns) and just basic calculation, though the web-based interface is actually pretty intuitive to use. After the catastrophic experience from 2011, I am very happy to be in the cloud, but this software is just killing me right now. I may have to adjust my expectations regarding platform, but I still want to be careful with cost. Thanks again for the advice!
 

#9
Posts:
2147
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 11:24am
Location:
North Carolina
That price point is not low and certainly not on the "cheap" end. You have several choices of very acceptable software in that range. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
 

#10
ATSMAN  
Posts:
1941
Joined:
31-May-2014 8:34pm
Location:
MA
For a price point below $2000 and 1040, 1065, 1120, 1041 prep and various state filings you are basically looking at Drake and ATX for the most value. I like the desktop versions and a system crash will not knock you out if you have good backups. Been there and recovered in an hour!
 

#11
CathysTaxes  
Moderator
Posts:
2675
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 9:41am
Location:
Suburb of Chicago
I agree about Drake.
Cathy
CathysTaxes
 

#12
Beagle  
Posts:
106
Joined:
16-Jan-2020 3:15pm
Location:
Freelander
Have you looked at OLTPRO? They have a desktop version and a web based version. I'm not a fan of the web based (use it only for older returns) but it's very inexpensive. 1041s will need a lot of tweaking.
 

#13
ATSMAN  
Posts:
1941
Joined:
31-May-2014 8:34pm
Location:
MA
I forget where I saw the post but another preparer had to switch from OLTPRO because Trust Returns were not calculated correctly and required a lot of manual overrides.

I say the OP should DEMO each tax prep software that he is interested with his own tax returns instead of using the sample returns they provide. Compare the results carefully.

Switching tax software is best left to off season when there is more time to look at things more carefully and objectively.
 

#14
Posts:
2102
Joined:
24-Apr-2014 7:54am
Location:
Wisconsin
You're getting good advice. At that price point I agree it's probably Drake or ATX, but with that number of business filings I imagine Drake would be generally better if for no other reason than the depreciation module being slightly less dreadful. Maybe Proseries will give you a good deal for a new customer around that number of returns. If you get to higher end programs (Lacerte, UT, CCH) even their new client specials might be well out of your budget.


I think you need to look bigger picture. You've roughly given away your age in this thread, and I would hope that as a University professor at that stage of life, your financial needs would be more than taken care of with the main job, and the side stuff should be all gravy. After tax season is over, figure out what you earned per hour of effort in your side business, and if you had a software package that does states better, how many hours would that save? Having a side practice with this many returns means you can't have much free time, and your free time has considerable value, no?

Since you're already undercharging, a tiny fee increase shouldn't lose you many clients, if any. If you raise your rates $15 per 1040 and $25 per entity that raises enough extra fee income to move your $2,000 software budget to $4,000 with an extra grand in your pocket at the end of the day. Or, if you want to think bigger, push through an across-the-board X% increase. Taxes have gotten much more complicated and it takes much more time to do every tax return, so you need to raise rates and you probably need to get rid of some of your low-end clients, anyway.
 

#15
ATSMAN  
Posts:
1941
Joined:
31-May-2014 8:34pm
Location:
MA
Missingdonut makes a good point. If the software budget is critical and you are not getting the type of software that you need but increasing your fees slightly may get you there then that is a business decision you need to consider seriously.

I would hope that after tax season you will go over your client list and billing and isolate clients are are "costing" you money. I do that once every two years and weed it out. I used to do it once a year but the net effect is about the same if you skip a year and less work!

Also if this is a side business, do you really need to get involved with complex returns? You will find that those are the returns that require additional knowledge, research and if your shop is not setup to handle them it will bite you in your A**! I gave up payroll processing precisely because of that.
 

#16
Posts:
7
Joined:
28-Apr-2021 12:10pm
Location:
CT
Thank you all for the responses...all of this information is very helpful! I will take a harder look at Drake and ATX as had been suggested, using returns already prepared and reviewed to get a better feel for the platforms strengths and weaknesses. BTW, I am not expecting to make the change until after 5/17 passes me by and I can take a breath! I have looked at OLTPro a couple of times, but it feels a lot like MyTaxPrepOffice to me and I'm a bit reluctant to take that chance again!

Revisiting my fee structure is honestly way past due and my wife reminds me of that every season...seems like now is finally the time.

Thank you all for taking the time to leave your thoughts; every time I have made software decisions in the past I have done it in isolation and unfortunately have learned some lessons the hard way. Nice to have a group that is knowledgeable and willing to share thoughts and experiences. Feel free to continue to add thoughts if you have any, and ultimately I will post the decision I make.

Best wishes for the rest of this season!
 

#17
Posts:
7
Joined:
28-Apr-2021 12:10pm
Location:
CT
Well folks, in an ironic and unexpected twist, I decided to go back to TaxWise from CCH. They worked me up a very good price and it's a platform that I am familiar with; I left primarily to find a platform where Personal and Business were web based which did not work out so well. TaxWise tells me they will be fully web based by 2022...we'll see about that, but for now I'm ok with this move.

Thanks again for all of your advice and input...here's to better days ahead!
 

#18
ATSMAN  
Posts:
1941
Joined:
31-May-2014 8:34pm
Location:
MA
Are you switching prior to 5/17 or is that for next tax season? Generally most software companies will allow you free use of the current year version as long as you signup and pay for the next tax season version. Because you are familiar with Taxwise, may be you can file a few returns using Taxwise and see what you were missing?
 

#19
Posts:
7
Joined:
28-Apr-2021 12:10pm
Location:
CT
Full change won’t take place until next season, but I may prepare any extended returns in TaxWise since I will get the 2020 software and the 2021. I actually talked to CCH to explore ATX as was suggested, but was told ATX will never be web based for any of their products which led me back to TaxWise. Still need to review and revise my fee structure, though!
 

#20
ATSMAN  
Posts:
1941
Joined:
31-May-2014 8:34pm
Location:
MA
When I was using CCH products the sales rep would give a 3 year price guarantee for new customers. I am not sure if they still do that but that was helpful to budget software costs. I forget what the first name of my sales rep was by his last name was Allen.
 


Return to Business Operations and Development



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot] and 13 guests