Thursday, November 12, 2009

Intuit - Affordable New Tax Software For Small and Home Based Businesses Tax Preparers

In September 2009, Intuit released a new web based tax software called Intuit ProLine(TM) Tax Online Edition (beta) for tax preparer's and those individuals that need a comprehensive, low-cost and Web based 1040 tax program. This software is designed for low volume users whose customer base does not justify an expensive PC or networked tax software. Similar to other web-based software programs, and similar to QuickBooks Online, this program permits the tax preparers to work any time from anywhere providing they have web access. Intuit has many years experienced in the tax preparation business and has its TurboTax ,Pro Series ,and Lacerte brands. Intuit understands its customers' needs and has the foresight to know that many of the tax software applications are heading towards "cloud computing" and this tax software is another example of a Web enabled program.

How it Works- Behind this program is the concept of simplicity, and Intuit accomplishes this by setting up 3 basic workspaces for the tax preparer. These workspaces are "input"," review" and "file". The "input" workspace is where the preparer enters tax information such as W-2, 1099, Schedule A and B,etc ..It is easy to find the proper form. When you open up the form you're able to make multiple data entries by using a list and total feature in the software. The second workspace, is the "review" section which provides the preparer with a diagnostics summary and a list of tax suggestions. The third workspace, is "file", which permits the tax preparer to electronically file the return or to print out the tax return for manual transmission to the IRS.

In the past, tax preparers have purchased TurboTax software and pirated the tax software to prepare hundreds of tax returns by using TurboTax. In order to capture and capitalize from this market, Intuit designed a low cost tax software for a preparer that wants to prepare a tax return in the dining room of a client or their own dining room or from any location with web access. The value proposition is that this software is low priced and simple to use. Although the Intuit website currently offers the beta software for 2008 at no cost, I've been unofficially informed that Intuit will sell the software on a pay-per-use basis of $16 per tax return. This price is not currently shown in the Intuit website.This tax software becomes an affordable alternative for the tax preparers whose practice cannot afford to purchase the Pro Series or Lacerte brands.

Some of the features of the software include the following: (a) 1040 only- single user (b) Pay per return (c) E - file or paper file for two states. It is expected that by the end of the 4th quarter 2009 that filing will be available for most of the other states. (d) Data conversion (e) Status tracking with the IRS (f) Notes and listing features and totaling capabilities embedded in the various forms and schedules(g) Diagnostics and suggestions and (h) Support from Intuit Like any other new software, the concerns at this point relate to the fact that the software is still in beta.

Notwithstanding the hundreds of users that have beta tested the software, there are invariably issues arising from any new software release and, only with the passage of time can the software achieve its expectations. Also, like any other web enabled software the connection and performance is dependent on the web connection, and quite frankly may result in sluggish performance. Also despite the Web-enabled software, there are taxpayer's homes that may not have web access which would prevent the tax preparer from entering the tax information "on the fly". Not a major issue, since the preparer can prepare the tax return later, or back in his or her the office or home.

I commend Intuit for producing a web-based tax preparer software for new low volume users as well as making it easy for those individuals that have used "pirated" versions of TurboTax in the past, to legally use a low-cost and affordable tax software.

Sandor Lenner,CPA has provided accounting services for companies for 35 years. He is also a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and provides QuickBooks support and business accounting services. As an Intuit Authorized Affiliate, he can offer you discounted QuickBooks and Intuit software. He works as a part-time consultant  for Susan Missal Lenner, P.A.

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