Now that summer is here, tax preparers have time for trial runs of different software to see if there's a program that might be a better fit for their practices.Vendors, meanwhile, see this time as an opportunity to get a head start on the next filing season by offering special discounts and promotional pricing.

While the number of vendors has shrunk in recent years, the purchases of ATX and TaxWise by CCH, and of TaxWorks by H&R Block, ensure that these brands will continue into the foreseeable future. Previous purchases have resulted in the discontinuation of tax prep offerings. Tax Relief from AccountantsWorld and Package Ex from ExacTax were both discontinued when purchased by Thomson. Sage Software's CPA Tax Manager was discontinued in 2004, when the company entered an alliance with CCH ProSystem fx for its tax prep customers.

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