With its full line of individual and business software available online, the features of TaxSimple tax preparation packages are intended to increase both CD and Internet users' productivity. To enhance user flexibility, TaxSimple's programs can be downloaded from the Internet to a desktop. Or once the computer is set up for TaxSimple, a user can then prepare tax returns without downloading tax software.
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"We do everything," says president John Vora. "They always have the latest software available."
The company provides automatic downloads and updates for its individual, business, federal, state, and city tax forms. The automatic computer updates of the newer versions of its programs improve not only users' flexibility but profitability as well, Vora says. Instead of having to buy the entire tax software library, users can select among the specific programs they need.
TaxSimple also offers pay-per-return via the Internet, giving users the option to buy individual or business returns as needed.
"If you used the program on the Internet, it is free for the federal," says Vora.
The cost for individual state forms is $7.95 per state and $49.95 for business forms.
The system also automatically generates all necessary state forms.
For example, if a licensed Internet user is working on a return for New York and needs an additional form for the state of Arizona, they can go to the Web and get the form for Arizona, Vora says. Licensed desktop users are able to install the updated forms from CDs.
The automatic generation of state forms as users move from one form to another is a competitive advantage for users of TaxSimple, according to Vora. He explains that when a user enters capital gains on the dividend input screen, upon exiting the screen the program will automatically update the Schedule D.
TaxSimple desktop clients account for the majority of the income for the tax software publisher, and on average each prepares 450 returns annually, compared with less than 15 returns for its Internet users.
HQ Randolph, N.J.
Phone (800) 989-8955
Fax (973) 366-5877
Software distribution CD-ROM and Web downloads.
Price $495 to $695.
Renewal Federal $495-$695 and states $250-$295.
Multi-state processing Unlimited.
Data entry Batch/input sheet and interview/interactive.
Support method Toll-free telephone, fax, e-mail, and Web.
Electronic storage Files can be stored as PDFs.
Electronic filing Federal and all states.
New for next year Automatic generation of all state forms, automatic updates, pay per returns via Internet.
In addition to its integrated programs, Vora boasts that TaxSimple's support is second to none.
A longtime TaxSimple user, Joseph Tarantino concurs.
"Their technical support is terrific," says Tarantino, "you can call the company and you will talk to a person and very rarely am I put on hold."
Tarantino, a CFP who has prepared taxes since 1974, started his own tax preparation company back in 1986 after having worked for other tax preparation firms, including H&R Block.
Tarantino, who has used TaxSimple at prior jobs, selected the package for his own firm because he was familiar with it. In the nearly two decades he has been a TaxSimple user, Tarantino cited the electronic filing database as being key. Being able to see whether a return has been accepted or rejected is important for his Clifton, N.J., practice, which handles some 1,300 returns annually.
Tarantino cited the ability to produce multiple reports using the stored data.
One downside to TaxSimple, according to Tarantino, is the software program's inflexibility. He explains that in the annual transfer process of clients from the previous year to the current year he would like to be able to circumvent the program asking him immaterial questions; for example, "Do you want to keep the same preparer?"