Since most observers consider the tax prep market to be in a maturing mode, it’s important for software makers to offer their products for tryouts, early renewals and promotional pricing during the season when their customers have the time to experiment.And that time, of course, is now.

Meanwhile, the continued tinkering with the Tax Code promises to be a boon to tax preparers and to generate increased stability in the software market. Last-minute legislation just prior to the beginning of this year’s tax season, including the Alternative Minimum Tax patch, coupled with the economic stimulus payments based on filing a 2007 return, drove more taxpayers than ever to professional preparers. The trend promises to continue, with the likelihood of more tax law changes to come and ongoing legislative interest in tax reform.

The number of tax prep manufacturers has remained stable over the past year, after declining for a number of years as the result of acquisitions of smaller companies by the dominant vendors. Tax Relief from AccountantsWorld and Package Ex from ExacTax were discontinued when purchased by Thomson, and Sage Software’s CPA

Tax Manager was discontinued when the company entered an alliance with CCH ProSystem fx for its tax prep customers. However, the recent purchases of ATX and TaxWise by CCH and of TaxWorks by H&R Block has ensured these companies’ continued existence for the foreseeable future.

Listed below are vendors with special deals, demos and discounts.

A ATX (CCH)

Caribou, Maine

www.atxpros.com

(877) 728-9776

ATX

Call for a free evaluation kit, including a demo CD with more than 10,000 federal, state and local tax forms and W-2/1099 and payroll reporting forms. In addition, the new Total Tax and Accounting package includes research, client write-up with payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable, a fixed asset manager, and a document manager. The new Scan&Fill program lets users export scanned client data directly to tax returns.

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business

Riverwoods, Ill.

http://cchgroup.com

(800) 739-9998

ProSystem fx Office Suite

Evaluation software is available by phone or on the Web site for tryout for ProSystem fx Office products, including ProSystem fx Tax, Engagement, Practice, Fixed Assets, Trial Balance, Planning, Profit Driver and Practice Driver.

DRAKE SOFTWARE

Franklin, N.C.

www.drakesoftware.com

(866) 670-8476

Drake Software

Complete package includes individual, business, partnerships, corporations, e-file, bank and all state software programs at no additional cost. Additional features include: client write-up with MICR check encoding, online tax research tools, real-time Web reporting, appointment scheduler, preparer Web sites, tax planner, and more. Call or visit Web site for information and free demo.

GREATLAND CORP.

Grand Rapids, Mich.

www.greattaxpro.com

(800) 968-1099

Great Tax

GreatTax software delivers versatile and flexible individual and business tax packages for federal and state returns. It offers quick conversions, an online e-file center, bank products and multi-state processing. Call or visit Web site for free demo — a working version of 2007 software.

HOWARDSOFT

La Jolla, Calif.

www.howardsoft.com

(858) 454-0121

Tax Preparer

Working program CD available for 30-day free trial. Check Web site for further promotions.

INTELLITAX

Bellevue, Wash.

www.intellitax.com

(800) 337-6507

IntelliTax Individual, IntelliTax Manager, IntelliTax Business

This year’s products, with limited functionality, are available free online for demonstration purposes. The full version of the software can be downloaded upon receipt of software purchase payment. All packages are priced at a significant discount (35 percent off through September 30).

INTUIT

San Diego

www.proseries.com

(800) 934-1040

ProSeries Professional and Basic

ProSeries Professional is designed for small-to-midsized tax professionals who may also provide other accounting services. Price of $1,099 includes unlimited use of all individual federal forms and all individual state forms. Free CD or online evaluation available at Web site. ProSeries Basic is designed for smaller tax practices that primarily prepare 1040 and state individual returns and that are looking to grow their practice. The ProSeries Basic suite starts at $349. Free CD or online evaluation available at Web site.

LACERTE TAX (INTUIT)

Plano, Texas

www.lacertesoftware.com

(800) 765-7777

Lacerte Tax

With a design that follows the natural flow of the tax return, the Lacerte tax product is designed to maximize productivity and streamline the most critical work for the year-round, multiple-person accounting firm. Free evaluation available at Web site.

PETZ ENTERPRISES

Tracy, Calif.

www.petzent.com

(800) 345-4337

CrossLink

Fly-for-free and free demos available on CD or by downloading from Web site. Early renewal discounts available.

2ND STORY SOFTWARE

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

www.taxact.com

(800) 573-4287

TaxAct

Customers can call or go on Web site for free, fully functional 2007 tax year software. Includes 1040 product, all 1040 states, 1065 product, 1065 states, 1120S and 1120S states. Early-bird prices available on all products.

TAXSIMPLE INC.

Randolph, N.J.

www.taxsimple.com

(800) 989-8955

TaxSimple

TaxSimple offers a free, full working version of the 2007 tax year CD, including state and federal 1040s with over 2,000 forms, schedules and worksheets, and electronic filing for all 50 states. The CD also includes programs for Forms 1120, 1120S, 1065, 1041, 706, 709 and 990. Demo of the software is available on Web site www.taxsimple.net. A variety of special pricing and discounts for first-time users, early renewals and conversion discounts are available.

TAXWISE (CCH)

Rome, Ga.

www.taxwise.com

(800) 755-9473

TaxWise

Free evaluation kit supplies a demo version of Forms 1040, 1120, 1120S, 165, 1041, 706, 709 and 990, and state modules. TaxWise also offers promotional pricing for new users, early renewal discounts and discounts for multiple offices. The new integrated suite of accounting products includes client write-up with payroll and Scan&

Fill, a new program that lets users export scanned client data directly to tax returns.

TAXWORKS (H&R BLOCK)

Kaysville, Utah

www.taxworks.com

(800) 230-2322

TaxWorks

Free demos on CD for federal and state Forms 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 706, 709, 990 and 5500. Discounts for early renewals and for new users on selected packages.

THOMSON REUTERS

GoSystem Tax ES

Dexter, Mich.

(800) 726-1040 http://es.thomson.com

A free 30-day test drive is available on CD or the Web. The GoSystem Tax ES test drive includes all features of the Web-based tax compliance software, and includes 30-day access for 100 users, including 25 returns for all tax types and all states.

ULTRATAX CS

Dexter, Mich.

(800) 968-8900 http://cs.thomson.com

Offers the complete 2007 UltraTax CS software package at no charge for evaluation purposes. Early renewals are offered a discount, and specially priced new-user packages are available.

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