Great Tax

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Greatland, the maker of Great Tax software, is gearing up for the upcoming tax season by bolstering the application's functionality through timesaving features, auto-upgrade functionality and a continued focus on e-filing. "We are [also] looking to add some additional security functionality because security continues to be [a concern] and additional states for e-filing," says Cathy LaViolette, product manager of Greatland, which entered the tax and accounting market in 1986.

LaViolette notes that IRS Reg. 7216 is something the company is watching but, at this point, it hasn't been a hot button issue for its clients. The regulation requires tax preparers to mask Social Security numbers in both the tax return software and source documents for returns accessed offshore.

Greatland typically serves small- to mid-sized tax preparation firms/practitioners who largely focus on individual return preparation. Its customer base also includes firms preparing business returns who have the increasing need for business e-filing solutions.

Partner Insights

A key offering for users is the company's e-filing center, which is the information hub for e-filing and bank products (the company currently offers Refund Anticipation Loans and non-loan bank products). Greatland has been working to make it faster and added summary information and reporting capabilities.

"They can get IRS and bank acknowledgements and direct links," says LaViolette.

Links to the Great Tax Web site and the online knowledgebase and for directly emailing technical support are available within the program.

Greatland offers four different packages starting with the Great Tax Individual, which is designed for small tax offices and provides processing for individual federal returns one state and e-filing.

Great Tax Individual Plus adds processing for all states, e-filing software for federal returns and the 38 states offering efiling. Great Tax Professional incorporates the features in the individual package, and adds all state return processing, along with e-filing and client management features. The most comprehensive package, Great Tax Silver, has federal and state individual tax preparation along with unlimited e-filing and bank products.

While the price of Great Tax is expected to remain the same for the upcoming tax season, the company is looking to enhance functionality. These include the ability to carry forward key company information from the prior year, the support of additional states for e-filing of business returns, the addition of security functions for various settings and functions, the ability to optimize client selection functionality and enhancements to custom report features.

The company has changed fees for its pay-per-return processing. The fees have increased to $32 per business return from $30 for the 2007 tax year and to $17 per individual return, including the federal 1040 and one state, compared to $15 the prior year. The $10 charge for each additional state has not changed.

In general, the goal for the 2008 tax season, according to the vendor, is pretty straightforward: "To continue to maintain and enhance Great Tax as the tax preparation software program that offers more value and flexibility due to its variety of package options supported and its intuitive and easy to use functionality, backed by our personalized customer service and technical assistance."

When it comes to reaching the Hispanic market, LaViolette says Great Tax currently supports form 1040PR in Spanish; however, at this point, it does not plan on supporting any additional Spanish forms for the coming season.

GREAT TAX

HQ Grand Rapids, Mich.

Phone (800) 968-1099

Web site www.greataxpro.com

Federal 1040 price (first year) Packages range from $390 to $2,560

Renewal discounts up to 30 percent are available.

Pay-per-return price $32 business; $17 individual return (federal/one state); $10 each additional state

Multistate processing Unlimited.

Support methods Email, online knowledgebase, toll-free phone

Support hours 8 am to 5 pm CT. Extended hours during tax season.

Document management N/a

Client portals N/A

Internet capabilities Links inside Great Tax connect to company Web site and knowledge base.

Online organizer N/A

New for next year Auto upgrades functionality. Additional key company information to be carried forward from prior year. Optimizing client selection functionality. Enhancements to custom report features. Additional Security functions being added for various settings and functions. Support of additional states for e-filing of business returns. Additional time-saving features.

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