Tax research in the spotlight
This has been a watershed year in terms of changes in the Tax Code and tax law. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the Wayfair decision mean that even if you have a very simple practice, chances are good that at least some of your clients are going to need guidance in one area or another. And if your client itemizes deductions, or even has taken the standard deduction, or has sales in multiple jurisdictions, re-examining your tax research resources is a must.
For our annual tax research comparison, we asked vendors to detail their product offerings in this area (see the Comparison Guide), and also submit some details on what new products and enhancements they are providing.
Several vendors have multiple products, and have detailed these both below and in the chart.
Bloomberg Tax. New features specific to federal tax reform include a Tax Reform Roadmap that shows how the 2017 tax reform act changed the Tax Code by major topic areas; an IRS Guidance Timeline that tracks the Internal Revenue Service guidance that has been issued in connection with the legislation; and Jumpstart podcasts — a series that provides insights into various areas impacted by tax reform from the editors at Bloomberg Tax.
Also new this year are an IRC 199A Deduction Calculator to quickly determine the deduction under Section 199A for 20 percent of the qualified business income of pass-through entities, such as partnerships and S corporations, and a BEAT Calculator that lets users compute the BEMTA by entering the components of the calculation into an easy-to-follow interface. Users can input any relevant credits, various streams of income, and deductions into preset fields, which are readily available for editing, to see the impact changed values would have on their minimum tax.
Other federal enhancements include Practice Guides and Checklists, concise, practitioner-written guides that give a quick overview and key considerations on a given topic. The guides are linked to relevant Tax Management Portfolios for a deeper dive and contain downloadable checklists.
Also new is the BNA Legislative History, which provides access to the BNA exclusive legislative history, covering the period from 1959 to the present. The new Federal Tax Developments Tracker, provided as part of a subscription to Daily Tax Report on Bloomberg Tax, provides a summary and direct links to dozens of federal developments each day, including IRS agency documents, regulations, tax cases and much more.
Bloomberg has also made enhancements to its state products. Some of these include the Wayfair Watch, a landing page providing a clearinghouse for tax reform documents, news and special reports; the Post-Wayfair Nexus Roadmap, which provides a summary of sales and use tax nexus activity since the Wayfair decision in June; and the State Tax Reform Roadmap, which is continuously updated to provide a summary of state conformity with federal tax reform changes.
Finally, the company has also made enhancements in its international products, including the MLI Watch, a landing page that provides access to all of its MLI coverage in one place, a Multilateral Instrument Tool detailing jurisdictions’ status and MLI Positions; and the CBC Reporting Deadlines and Documentation Overview.
CCH AnswerConnect (Wolters Kluwer)
CCH AnswerConnect is now fully integrated with CCH ProSystem fx and CCH Axcess, so users can jump directly from any line on a tax form to specific content on CCH AnswerConnect. CCH also launched Tax Assistant, the industry’s first voice-enabled search. Customers using Windows 10 can activate the Cortana voice assistant to verbally ask the Tax Assistant a federal tax question and Cortana will either read the answer back or automatically run a search to retrieve the best matches to the question. CCH has also added deeper filters within CCH AnswerConnect to allow users to focus on the most relevant information.
The company has also created a new section on the CCH AnswerConnect home page detailing everything a practitioner needs to know about the TCJA and changes in sales tax nexus, added an international content library for 90 countries, as well as continuously added content about transfer pricing, BEPS and VAT as it becomes available.
Tax Materials Inc.
Tax Materials has three new tax law books that are available separately or as a package; “TheTaxBook” provides free articles throughout the year pertaining to the TCJA and will be updated to reflect all of the changes for 2018. The company also offers more than 45 self-study CPE courses on topics ranging from federal tax to ethics. Finally, their Client Handouts offer over 100 handouts, also including a quarterly newsletter to help professionals market their tax practice.
New with Thomson Reuters Checkpoint is “The Complete Analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which provides a comprehensive analysis of all the complicated changes, client letters, and finding tables. In addition, all affected topics of the service’s core content sets are updated with the changes affecting the 2018 tax year and beyond.
The company also offers a "Wayfair Guidance" Create-a-Chart, and Wayfair and TCJA-related SALT Create-a-Charts; biweekly PDF charts on state developments related to the TCJA and Wayfair; Wayfair and TCJA Toolkit sites; and interactive TCJA tools linked to its core Federal Tax Coordinator.
And they have also added TCJA-related interactive tools to their planning and advisory guides, such as the Qualified Business Income Deduction Worksheet, the Business Interest Expense Worksheet, the Kiddie Tax Calculator, and the Choice of Entity Analyzer. In parallel, they have also published new Checkpoint Catalyst Topics, such as “Qualified Business Deduction from Partnerships,” “S Corporations, LLCs and Sole Proprietorships (IRC § 199A)” and “Section 965 Transition Tax on Accumulated Foreign Earnings.”