Stolen battle plans

Your Guide to an IRS Audit and 2011 Tax Calendar

Internal Revenue Service

(800) 829-3676

We're not saying the IRS is the enemy, but if they were the enemy, they'd be a particularly chivalrous one, as the recent release of two new tools shows. The first is a video series, Your Guide to an IRS Audit, which follows three hypothetical small-business taxpayers through the audit process to show taxpayers their rights and responsibilities, and what to expect. The second is the service's annual Tax Calendar for Small Businesses and the Self-Employed, a 12-month wall calendar filled with information on business taxes, common filing dates, e-filing and paying options, and much more. Between the videos and the calendar, it's like they're revealing how, when and where they're going to attack - though again, we're not saying the IRS is the enemy. They're our friends, and they're also kind and very good-looking, and have no reason to examine our tax return from 2007.

Learn to read XBRL

Dragon View 5.0

Rivet Software

www.rivetsoftware.com

The Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL, is a great advance in business reporting, making financial information much more accessible, flexible and comparable. That said, it's something of an expert's tool, and not always easy for the non-technical to get a hold of. Rivet Software's new Dragon View 5.0 is a software tool designed to help the layman view and review documents in XBRL, so they can more easily check out Securities and Exchange Commission filings and the like. It lets them compare chosen tagging elements; export data quickly into Excel for filtering, chart creation and so on; and create easy-to-read HTML reports for posting online.

Stamp Act compliance

CorpSystem Sales Tax Compliance Service

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business

www.salestax.com

Anyone who has ever been responsible for sales and use tax compliance can understand why having to comply with the sales and use taxes on tea, glass, paint, printed matter and other goods drove the American colonists to bloody revolt against England. Which makes us wonder: Would we have become an independent nation if CCH's new CorpSystem Sales Tax Compliance Service had been around in the 1770s? It relieves companies of the burden of compliance by handling the preparation and filing of sales tax returns, the remittance of funds, and management of tax notices, and gives the customer a designated account manager and a secure portal for visibility into every stage of the process, so the whole thing is much less vexatious. Still, however easy and hassle-free CCH might have made complying with the Townsend and Stamp Acts, the hateful taxes would still have to have been paid, so perhaps the future of the U.S. would have been safe.

Pay as they go

PayFast

Integrity Payment Systems

www.integritypaymentsystems

Things can get a little tight toward the end of the month, which is why it's a shame that so many bills come due then. If you have business clients for whom cash-flow management is a nightmare, you might suggest Integrity Payment Systems' new PayFast solution. It lets them dedicate a small percentage of the credit card payments they receive each day to paying important creditors, like landlords, key suppliers, and their accountant. Micropayments can be sent automatically to multiple accounts, and users can set cap amounts so when a creditor is fully paid up for the month, their micropayments stop. It's an innovative way to avoid large swings in cash flow throughout the month.

We warned you

Web site hosting and design packages

1&1 Internet Inc.

www.1and1.com

We've told you time and time again that you need to have a Web site, but you didn't listen. And now it's not enough to have just a Web site - it has to be optimized in such a way that visitors can view it on mobile phones, iPads, two-way wrist radios, and various home appliances like toasters and garbage compacters. Fortunately, for a limited time, Web site hoster 1&1 Internet is offering free Web site design software with its hosting packages, which range from $3.99 to $19.99 a month. Depending on the package, users can choose one of two design solutions that can help you set up your basic site, and make sure that it'll look good on all those tiny screens.

New and improved!

CCH has expanded its Tax Prep Partner Series with new titles on Form 5500, estate and gift tax compliance, IRS practice and procedural forms, and international forms. ... Adaptive Planning has released Version 7.0 of its business intelligence solution. ... Maxwell Systems has released Version 9.1 of its Maxwell Systems Estimation software for the construction industry.

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