Diane Siriani, a CPA and principal of Siriani and Associates, has formed a joint venture with Don Burniac of Associated Tax and Accounting to introduce an online tax-filing service.

The service, eTaxService.com, lets clients fill out a census form online, call a toll-free number and watch their tax return being prepared. The system uses one-way video conferencing so clients can see the preparer on-screen and talk over the phone. Fees start at $29 for a student return, which includes free electronic filing.

The system currently does not support two-way video conferencing if the client has a Webcam. "They can see the preparer on the screen, but the preparer cannot see them, so it makes it secure for anybody coming on to the site," said Siriani.

Burniac developed the system, and Siriani worked on developing the site. The system hooks into the Virtual Office CS program from Thomson Tax & Accounting. The client can either scan or fax in their census forms and the forms will go into an electronic file cabinet in Virtual Office CS, which is used to prepare the returns. The client can then retrieve their tax return directly from the system after eTaxService has prepared it.

Siriani has been marketing the service via Google and locally in Michigan, but the online nature of it makes it available to clients anywhere.

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