Copanion released GruntWorx, a Web-based application that captures and organizes tax return documents and data from clients.

The system is able to read PDF files and paper documents, as well as recognize variations in IRS forms, tax organizers and brokerage statements, before classifying them. It's based on document recognition technology developed for the U.S. Postal Service to sort through handwritten envelopes.

"We retained Dr. Venu Govindaraju, who helped automate the post office," said Ed Jennings, senior vice president of sales and marketing at the company.

Govindaraju helped Copanion develop algorithms that clean up and process images. The software uses biometric pattern recognition to identify documents more accurately than older optical character recognition software.

The system starts at $495, but Copanion has a trial offer for tax professionals. If they register by Dec. 31, they will be able to get client tax documents for their first 100 tax returns for 2007 processed for free. The company already has about a dozen firms testing GruntWorx, according to Jennings, and it plans to build interfaces to the major tax prep compliance software packages. For more information, go to www.copanion.com.

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