It has been quite an eventful year for tax preparers with all the changes that the IRS has been beating around with. Why not look into some of the most efficient tax solutions, such as ProSeries tax software that’s gonna help in gearing up for all the challenges that 2019 holds. The year of 2018 faced challenges such as the government shutdown. The six new schedules that have been added to the 1040 form are amongst the many other changes that have managed to keep the accounting and tax professionals on their toes. With a pound of documents and data to catch up with, 2019 is going to be a rolling ride for the already worked up tax professionals.
If you’re someone who is still stuck with doing taxes manually, using paper forms, and manual calculations, we’d say it’s about time now that you switched to the new way, the cloud way! Many conducted surveys have shown that only about 10 percent of Americans were doing taxes manually, and only half of those people were sending the taxes in via mail. If you’re reading this and are amongst the said 10%., then let us give you a heads up that the new laws and forms are going to be complicating- more than it already is.
How Online Tax Software Work?
Well, if you’ve made it this far on your reading and are contemplating your manual filing decision, you might also be new to the fact as to how online tax software works. Let us give you a brief walkthrough on the working of tax software:
When you choose the option of preparing your income taxes using paper forms, a lot of time is spent shuttling back and forth between them. Most of the time you’ll need to fill out a worksheet or track down a document in the mail, or double-check the calculations because things just don’t seem to fit right. It ends up becoming a recurring process.
On the other hand, tax software and websites work much differently. You need to create an account and comply with the site’s security requirements, and with this, you can put your worries at bay about which forms are needed and whether or not the calculations are correct. The online tax websites and software also take care of, how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) would affect your return. Using a digital tax preparation solution is mostly like filling out a giant questionnaire. There are questions on every page that you got to answer. You never actually have to go through an actual IRS form or schedule, and you do not have to jabber through all the technical clauses.
This software has an interface that’s been designed after the order of the IRS Form 1040. You start by providing contact information first, followed by your Social Security number and date of birth, and further on to your income, deductions, credits, the status of your health insurance, and taxes paid. When all the topics have been dealt with, these sites review the return and highlight all the errors or omissions that you might have made.
After you’ve reviewed all the errors and filled in the missing information, the software then transfers tax data to any state returns that you must file. Once all the miscellaneous questions have been answered and the entire return has been reviewed, the service fee needs to be paid and as the final step, you can file your return electronically and take a print out of it.
Now that you know how tax software works, let’s know about the 6 best options that you can choose from. Each is targeted towards a specific kind of user:
1. Lacerte- Targeted at accountants
Lacerte is a tax software developed by Intuit, and in our opinion is one of the most functional tax solutions available on the shelves. The software comes with the most number of features, allows digital integration, and also offers unlimited modules. Lacerte features an interface that is worksheet-based, which makes entering data fast and easy. It also has several tools to import data, a number of keyboard shortcuts, on-screen help, and extensive diagnostics. The software integrates well with office tools practice management software. Lacerte’s customer support team is available on call Monday through Friday, with weekend support being offered during peak tax season. Lacerte has a very easy and interactive UI, through which you can access a great deal of information on one screen, and can also configure for multiple monitors.
2. Drake- Flat Pricing for unlimited returns filed
Drake software turns out to be an ideal pick for tax firms that prepare a large number of individual and business entity tax returns. With Drake, you have the advantage of entering the financial data swiftly and intuitively, and to manage forms and process tax returns in a hassle-free manner. Drake, when hosted on the cloud, can be integrated with major Microsoft Office applications such as MS Word, Excel, Publisher, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, etc. Drake does not charge extra for accessing the state add-on modules, nonresident returns, or even entity forms.
3. UltraTax CS- A special one for the CPAs
Ultra Tax CS is the best available option for CPAs who aim to build their tax and consulting practice around the CS Professional Suite. UltraTax CS seamlessly integrates with Accounting CS, Practice CS, Workpapers CS, and NetClient CS. UltraTax is fully customizable and can be played around with, to meet your specific business needs. UltraTax customizes its pricing based on the client’s specific needs. This gives it leverage over the others as you don’t end up having to pay a hefty sum when your use is going to be very limited.
4. ProSeries Professional- For accountants who prefer forms
ProSeries Professional is a good fit for accountants looking for a desktop software with a forms-based interface. It comes armed with more features and functionality as compared to other professional tax software programs that also have a forms-based interface. ProSeries Professional provides a number of great features- you have the advantage of importing data from QuickBooks. When using ProSeries professional, investment income data can be imported from financial institutions. With ProSeries, you also get a scheduling tool, electronic signature through DocuSign which comes really handy on the go, and also the ability to collaborate with clients via Intuit Link for free or via SmartVault by paying a minimal amount.
5. H&R Block- The overall best runner
With H&R Block, you get the most trusted name and service in the tax software arena. It alleviates the crunching tax burden by giving a breezy and excellent user experience. Clear navigation with very comprehensive coverage of tax topics and top help tools. If it is the first time that you’re considering tackling your tax project all by yourself, this is the one that we would advise going for. With a thorough return review, it serves to be the ideal software for beginners, that are just dipping into the world of online taxation. H&R Block has brought in a lot of improvement on their website since last year. Giving a more state-of-the-art user experience, with meticulously accessible, detailed guidance has made it be stated as fast and of great value. It is built by experts based on decades of tax knowledge.
6. Credit Karma- The best free software
“Free”! This word is something that can literally attract us from miles away, as does this software! Credit Karma has been on a roll in 2019, with its number of users surging by the day. This much loved, free software supports most of the IRS forms along with the majority of state forms and schedules. A clean, simple interface is Credit Karma’s USP. With its newly added guidance options and improved mobile access, the new kid on the block has made it to the cult favorite of many. They have also improvised the efficiency of their customer support system and now have chat help to deal with any difficulties that might come up. Credit Karma comes with an audit defense guarantee. Now that is what we call, getting your money’s worth.
Woah! that has been a long read, and you have got to know enough about the working and features of various tax software and websites that are available to help make our filing process easier and expedited. Based on your profession, your needs, and also the number of tax cases that you have to deal with, you can find the best fit for yourself. All of the software that we have listed in this writeup are tailor-made to suit a particular usage and we hope that this will help you in deciding, as to what’s affable for you.