Comparison Guide: Tax Research

Before you know it, another tax season will be upon us, with new and difficult questions. Your current research service or software might have been enough to get you through last season and extensions, but is it still the best choice?

To help you decide, we surveyed the top research providers. The results are detailed in the accompanying chart. We also asked what features and services they added recently.



Bloomberg BNA. The company is preparing to release its next-generation research platform, Bloomberg BNA Tax & Accounting, with more efficient and streamlined search; expanded content, including archived versions of the Internal Revenue Code back to 1913; a citator; more analysis; and increased content integration, including additional related content within the Tax Management Portfolios and from code documents. Over the last 18 months, the company increased its treaties database, expanded its state-by-state analysis, and released a BEPS tracker covering 60 countries. Other new content includes election statements, transactional diagrams, and step-by-step planning guides.

Parker Tax Publishing. For the current year, Parker Tax Publishing has produced a four-fold increase in the number of quick reference guides to supplement its in-depth explanation and analysis. Parker’s guides are dual purpose, aiming to provide fast answers and serve as self-contained pass-along materials for clients. The company has also deepened its case archive, adding 15,000 additional court opinions, including all the Board of Tax Appeals reported opinions and thousands of still-relevant, older district court cases. They have added a built-in citator for Internal Revenue Bulletin documents, allowing researchers to ascertain the current applicability of past IRS pronouncements. They have also provided an option in the search engine to switch from a simple list view of results, to an expanded, key-words-in-context view.

Tax Materials Inc. The company’s evolving predictive search function in its TaxBook WebLibrary has improved how users find fast answers to tax questions. The company regularly adds new and pertinent content, including its new Occupations & Oddities Edition, which goes in-depth on specific professions. In addition, Tax Materials recently moved its Client Handouts product to the cloud in a SaaS solution. The move improves customer access, and the company reports that the added functionality has been well-received. Its Education Center now allows customers the ability to assign and share their self-study CPE courses.

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting. Thomson Reuters regularly introduces new products and major enhancements. Its Checkpoint State Clear Comply simplifies the analysis of complex state compliance questions for multi-tier partnerships and S corporations with a presence in multiple states, while its Checkpoint Catalyst is also expanding regularly, including a recent topic release on real estate investment trusts, covering REIT qualifications, tax benefits offered to REIT investors, and state and local tax considerations. Checkpoint IRS Response Library includes new chapters on the Affordable Care Act and tax-related ID theft.

Wolters Kluwer. In the past 18 months, Wolters Kluwer launched a number of innovations, including CCH CodeConnect and CCH IntelliConnect Browser Search. With CCH CodeConnect, everything in a code section is in one spot — so when users search the Internal Revenue Code they will see practical guidance, tools, IRS publications and more in one view. CCH IntelliConnect Browser Search is a plug-in that, once installed (which takes seconds), searches CCH IntelliConnect content anytime a professional searches an Internet browser like Google, and automatically displays WK results right along the Google or other search engine’s search results. 

See our 2016 Tax Research Comparison Guide.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.