Greatland

Great Tax's support adds value to its flexibility.

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Greatland

Great Tax

HQ Green Bay, Wis.

Partner Insights

Phone (800) 968-1099

Fax (800) 829-1881

Web www.greattaxpro.com

Software distribution CD-ROM and Web updates.

Price Federal ranges from $375 to $1,865.

Renewal Discounts available.

Pay-per-return Available.

Multi-state processing Unlimited.

Data entry Interview/interactive.

Support methods Telephone, fax, Web, and email.

Electronic storage Not available.

Electronic filing 1040, 1065, 1120, and 1120S.

New for next year Enhanced security features; 1120/1120S efiling; 1040A, 1040EZ; optimizing the education credit and deduction functions.

Security is on the mind of Greatland, the company that markets the Great Tax line of tax prep software. On the list of enhancements for 2005 are software encryption of files and controlled access to users' sites. The encryption is being applied across the board, including the company's desktop PCs and servers, as well as for files that are sent to federal and state governments for electronic filing.

In the professional tax packages, the company also added features that will limit access to confidential data based on the job roles of staff at preparers' offices.

For no additional cost, the also software now boasts heightened efiling and the ability to export pertinent data from other tax software programs.

"This year, we enhanced some of the numerous features we added last year," says Cathy LaViolette, senior product manager.

Additionally, users can print custom letters and prepared tax returns.

Great Tax offers a full spectrum of tax packages ranging from those for small practices preparing individual returns to large firms handling business returns at various price points.

Great Tax's software offerings consist of Gold, Silver, and Professional package, as well as an Individual. However, small-volume users can choose to pay $15 per individual return and $25 per business return that includes one state and all federal forms. To add an additional state costs $10 per return.

Great Tax packages start at $375 for the Individual package, including the federal forms plus one state. While efiling is extra with purchase of the Individual package, it is included for 38 states as part of Individual Plus. Priced at $875, Individual Plus includes all 1040 options.

For $1,025, there is the Professional package that includes all individual tax software forms. There is a per transmission charge for efiling. Great Tax Silver includes the entire tax line and unlimited efiling for $1,865. For $2,275, Great Tax Gold provides unlimited efiling for individual and business returns. The fee for participating in bank products is $150. The fee is included with the purchase of the Silver, Gold, and Platinum packages.

Great Tax user Kim J. Heaton chose the Gold package to avoid being hit with additional fees. "Great Tax is sold on a flat price," says Heaton, owner of Heaton's Income Tax & Accounting Service, "regardless of how many returns you efile. There are others selling similar software that have hidden charges."

At least one-third of Heaton's 350 clients requested refund anticipation loans last year, more than 10 times the 30 who did so when the firm began offering RALs in 2002. The decade-old Spruce Pine, N.C.-based firm's clients range from farmers and truck drivers to S-Corporations and not-for-profits.

"Great Tax works beautifully with Bank One,'' says Heaton.

Heaton says the company's support is its most outstanding feature. "You could get the same software under other names, but they don't offer the same support," she says. Heaton recalls one occasion when Great Tax technical staff walked her through an alternative method to efile some extensions when the staff encountered filing problems on the deadline day. Greatland's support staff helped Heaton's firm reconfigure to complete the filings.

"If you get an error in transmission, they'll take whatever time is necessary to work with you to get the problem resolved," says Heaton. "And if they can't answer your question they will get back to you when they say they will. And for that they don't charge you extra."

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