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Tax Planning Software - Which one do you use and why?

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#1
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I was doing some research on tax planning software and the first to pop-up in my search is Corvee, which is very expensive (up in the thousands). So I started googling others and came across the following:

BNA - $1,150
Lacerte - Starting at $264
Tax Planner Pro - $750 for unlimited and, $499 for personal use
Holistic Plan - $449 up to 30 returns.

I currently use Drake Software for tax preparation services. I welcome your experience/input.

Thanks,
Nikki
 

#2
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I paid for LaCerte's tax planner for 2020 filings and I have yet to actually use it. I figured it would be of benefit to a few clients, but I have not yet prepared their returns or done any tax planning, and so I really have no insight to offer on it. I do like some of the analysis available in LaCerte when actually preparing a return, but it is my understanding their Tax Planner is theoretically much more detailed, but when I have glanced at it, it also appears to be a PITA to use.
 

#3
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Is there something that you are looking for that is not accomplished in Drake's tax planner module?
 

#4
sjrcpa  
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I use BNA with 50 states. It's very comprehensive, can do multiple cases and multiple years. You can export/import data from Lacerte, UltraTax, and probably some others. Been using it since forever - it was once called Aardvark.
 

#5
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CornerstoneCPA wrote:I paid for LaCerte's tax planner for 2020 filings and I have yet to actually use it. I figured it would be of benefit to a few clients, but I have not yet prepared their returns or done any tax planning, and so I really have no insight to offer on it.


You'll probably end up using it in November and December if you do year-end planning. That's when I do the most work with projections, etc.

Agree that Drake's built-in tax planner is adequate for most situations. OP may not be aware of it.
 

#6
MikeH  
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I use Drake. It works well for my needs.
Mike Hartfield, CPA
Canyon Country, California
Office: 661/309-4681 Cell: 818/433-5359
 

#7
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This is year 2 for me using Drake - I had no idea that there is tax planner component. I will look into that this week. I still welcome input/insight based on experience on the other products.
 

#8
CathysTaxes  
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I've used Drake and am happy with it.
Cathy
CathysTaxes
 

#9
ATSMAN  
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MA
+npcooper01 wrote:This is year 2 for me using Drake - I had no idea that there is tax planner component. I will look into that this week. I still welcome input/insight based on experience on the other products.


I am sorry to say but if you paid good money for a professional tax software why did you not look at the many training videos and Drake Forum where all the features of the software are discussed. I am sure you are missing out on features of the software that are not so obvious.
 

#10
MikeH  
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Nikki:

You can find info on the Drake Tax Planner starting on page 510 of the 2020 Users Manual. If you haven't already done so, info on how to download the manual is here:

https://kb.drakesoftware.com/Site/Brows ... ers-Manual

Please feel free to call me if you want to talk about it.

I would spend some time this summer & fall "flipping through" the entire manual so you know what's in there. If Drake ever re-starts their "Software Sales live demos," I would attend them for maybe once or twice.
Mike Hartfield, CPA
Canyon Country, California
Office: 661/309-4681 Cell: 818/433-5359
 

#11
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@Mike H.

Thank you so much. I reached out to Drake and they shared a snippet, which is not enough. I will definitely spend my time going through it this summer and will call you if need be.

Many thanks.
 

#12
novacpa  
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Arlington, Virginia
Nikki:
I was not happy with Drake so I replaced it with CCH ATX (forms based) it costs
$950 for the 1st - 3 years then steps up to $1,400 then to $1,860 (current price).
You get all forms all states.
When I have a planning task, I copy the current years tax return - add in the anticipated
items of income, gain, expense, cost etc or add a form 4797 if a sale is pending and get the
tax result - in the form of finished tax returns. If estimates are needed - add the forms.
Print or send to the client.
ATX works very well with DC returns, DC franchise tax, Maryland and Virginia, all returns e-file able.
 

#13
ATSMAN  
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1941
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MA
When I have a planning task, I copy the current years tax return - add in the anticipated
items of income, gain, expense, cost etc or add a form 4797 if a sale is pending and get the
tax result - in the form of finished tax returns. If estimates are needed - add the forms.
Print or send to the client.


That is exactly how Drakes's Tax Planner works. You did not have to switch if that was the only issue :o
 

#14
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SF Bay Area
I tried demo of BNA tax planner. The thing that pissed me off was that the graphics didn’t work on my 4K monitor. Really archaic.

Also , I wish it had the S-Corp vs sole proprietor comparison tool like Ultratax does.

The program is very thorough and complete, otherwise. But , I’m not paying $1,000 plus if graphics aren’t rendered correctly.
 

#15
ATSMAN  
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MA
But , I’m not paying $1,000 plus if graphics aren’t rendered correctly.


I have some business software that were not exactly programmed to run on today's latest graphic cards and monitors, so to get an acceptable resolution you have to turn it down. It displays perfect on my HP S2031 monitor without any adjustments.
 

#16
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Oh, okay - do you mean just switching to lowest resolution ? 1920 x whatever ?
 

#17
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Excuse me, one more question : Per this link , it states the DPI needs to be recalibrated.
It’s weird that Google search and BNA tax plan manual barely have any links or helpful websites for monitor settings etc
I don’t see any BNA tax user forums with open comments either

Thanks for your help !
 

#18
ATSMAN  
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1941
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MA
Play with the resolution settings on your computer/monitor. I just use a regular LCD (non 4K monitor). It connects by a display port cable. If nothing works call BNA tech. support.
 

#19
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Thanks , I did play with the resolution settings on the BNA Tax Planner, and it worked
 

#20
COGS  
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The south
I use Tax Tools for my projections. I have used the program that comes with Lacerte but very rarely. For the quick and dirty Tax Tools is great. But that is not really why I am a fan. I love all of the other things. I so wish I had discovered their Social Security optimizer before. I don't like advising clients on that, but gosh the program works great. It was really great back in the file and suspend days. But I like the report for RMDs to give to the clients when they ask me to calculate. The flow charts for filing status and dependents, etc. I can go on and on. I could not live without this program.
 

#21
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38
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2-Mar-2021 3:38pm
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DC Metro Area
Thanks for the input! This has really been helpful for me. I've been exploring some of the software that has been shared; including learning more about Drake's tax planner too.
 


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