The last two years have been busy ones for Nelco, entering the market and then making major enhancements to meet user needs. This year, the planned enhancements are more in the order of polishing the product rather than making major changes in it. This strategy seems to be working as far as Great Tax's users are concerned. Renee Hartfield, of Chicago-based Hartfield and Associates, a family-owned tax practice, switched from Intuit's ProSeries to Great Tax when it became available two years ago.
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With about 300 returns prepared last tax season, all of which were efiled, she decided to give Great Tax a chance because "Nelco was cheaper [than ProSeries] and it was also compatible. I could transfer all of my files very easily, which also made the changeover very easy."
Hartfield also appreciates the service she receives. "When there was a technical problem, my son, who also works in the practice, was able to call their technical line and everything was resolved quickly and satisfactorily."
Nelco/Greatland has a variety of bundles, including Great Tax Silver, which packages the entire tax preparation line with unlimited efiling for $1,865. The Professional bundle has the complete individual software line, along with efiling on a transmission fee basis, all for $1,025. The Individual package, designed for small offices, is priced at $375. It entitles the preparer to process individual federal returns and one state. Efiling is subject to transmission fees. The Great Tax Individual Plus, priced at $875, includes all the options of the Individual 1040, plus efiling for all 38 efiling states.
Among bundles with business returns is Great Tax Gold for $2,275, with all individual and business tax forms and unlimited efiling.
The company also offers pay-per-return for $25 per business return, $15 per individual return, including federal forms and one state, and $10 for each additional state return.
"Our big promotion is that we have all the premium features to compete with other packages out there, but [we don't have] the premium prices," says Cathy LaViolette, Nelco's senior product manager.
The ability to get just the appropriate bundle at an affordable price also impressed Helen Smith, of Helen's Tax Service, in Chicago. When asked what she appreciates most about Great Tax, she says, "The price-it's a good value." With 500 returns filed last tax season, most of them electronically, Smith also likes the summary line that's continuously displayed down at the bottom of the screen. "I like the idea that Great Tax shows you your total income, your taxable amount, and the amount you paid at the bottom of the screen, no matter where you may be in the program."
This year, efiling is being expanded, with 1120 and 1120S efiling available for federal returns, and Michigan SBT and Massachusetts corporate returns available as efiling options. Other business state returns being added this year, though not for efiling, include Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota, and Vermont.
Also being polished are printing features, with duplexing capability being added, as well as the ability to preview a set to be printed and add a default path for PDF file generation. The professional packages will receive several custom letter enhancements, including separate letters for return filings, amended returns, and extensions, along with enhanced organizers.
Electronic filing is also being enhanced, as are the bank reports. New reports will be added, such as a report to monitor clients marked for efiling but not yet sent. The E-File Center navigation is slated to be enhanced, as is the sign-in procedure for the E-File Center.
The company continues to offer conversions from other tax packages, including ATX, Orrtax, Drake, and TaxWise. Online individual and W-2/1099 processing will continue to be offered by Nelco at www.filetaxes.com, with next tax season's pricing yet to be determined.
HQ: Green Bay, Wis.
Phone: (800) 266-4669
Fax: (800) 996-3526
Software distribution: CD-ROM and Web updates.
Price: Federal ranges from $375 to $1,865.
Renewal: Discounts available.
Multi-state processing: Unlimited.
Data entry: Interview/interactive.
Support methods: Telephone, fax, Web, and email. Telephone and fax are not toll-free.
Electronic storage: Files can be saved as PDFs.
Electronic filing: 1040, 1065, 1120, 1120S through Nelco/Great Tax.
New for next year: The ability to efile federal 1120 and 1120S. State efiling will be enhanced with Michigan SBT and Massachusetts corporate returns. New business states added will include Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota, and Vermont. Other enhancements include upgrades to the E-File Center feature in the software.