The second time is the charm with CCH, which spent the off season revising its approach to software scanning after difficulties last year. This year, the company has gone to optical character recognition-which supports multiple OCR engines-with its new ProSystem fx Scan, which is designed to capture data from source documents, such as 1099 and W-2s, and get that information into the right places in the tax return.
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But there is a lot more to ProSystem fx than document management features. The company is keeping up with the pace of e-filing with the addition of 10 states. It is also adding 10 state consolidations, a help for those doing business returns. And there will be nine insurance states for those doing property and casualty returns to meet federal filing mandates.
In the scanning area, in September, the company had committed to providing six forms, as well as stating another six forms are highly likely to be ready for tax season. The forms that are ready are the W-2, 1098, 1098-T, 1099-DIV, INT and MISC. Those likely to b be ready are the 1099-Q, 1099-R, 2439, SSA 1099 and W-2G.
"The development group says they will be there," says Jo Ann Cummings, tax product manager. But, Scan will be available on a trial basis, not to the whole ProSystem fx Tax customer base.
Besides adding electronic filing for state individual and business returns, the company has also tripled its server capacity to handle increases in demand. There will also be multiscreen selection of returns.
Scan has two-level validation-OCR validation and tax validation. Cummings says OCR validation can be performed by administrative staff while the preparer can validate tax classifications within the 1040 and resign information to another category.
Also in the CCH line is Global fx, the ASP version of CCH's ProSystem fx suite. Cummings notes that the Global fx Tax is the same product as ProSystem fx Tax, except that it operates online.
"It's the love of my life," she says. "But we still get a lot of people who are reluctant to use it."
Cummings notes that with Global fx, CCH does the installations and takes care of the hardware. "You log on and you are there," she says.
And the product certainly has its user fans, among them, Glenn Adams, a partner with Adams Hook, a Bessemer City, N.C.-based firm, who calls the Internet-based product "the way of the future."
Both Cummings and Adams cited version control as a major advantage of line delivery.
"Global is always at the latest version," says Adams, whose four-person firm prepares 1,000 individual returns and about 300 business returns annually. "The second element is that it's remotely accessible from anywhere there's an Internet connection.
Adams says that his office has done everything it can to avoid generating paper.
"We have not added a file cabinet in at least five years," he says. The firm also likes the security of the Global line and is very security conscious-one of its two buildings is a former bank office and the accounting firm uses the bank's old vault.
With Global fx, "If I have you as a taxpayer and you know your tax files are secured-you get away from disaster recovery issues," says Adams. "You have current version and you have files as secure as best possible."
Among returns being added are the following 1120 states: combined returns for Alaska, District of Columbia, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont.
PROSYSTEM FX TAX
HQ Torrance, Calif.
Phone (800) PFX-9998
Web site www.prosystemfx.com
Federal 1040 price (first year) $3,445
Pay-per-return price $32 federal; $27 state
Multistate processing Unlimited.
Support methods Toll-free phone and Web site.
Support hours January and February: 5:30 am to 5:30 pm M-F; 6 am to 5 pm Sat. March: 5:30 am-6:30 pm M-F; 6 am-5 pm Sat. April: 5:30 am-6:30 pm M-F; 6 am-5 pm Sat.; 7 am-3 pm Sun. 24-hour support available last days of tax season per support calendar.
Document management ProSystem fx Document and ProSystem fx Engagement
Client portals Available
Online Organizer TaxNotebook
Internet capabilities Online links to Tax Research Network. Embedded e-filing capabilities.
New for next year Expansion of the online electronic filing system, including multiscreen selection of returns; tripling server capacity for electronic filing; integration with XCM Solutions; W-2 and 1099 import using ProSystem fx Scan for selected customers on a trial basis.