Tax prep software vendors begin the seasonal preview of new offerings

The summer months have traditionally marked the season when tax return preparers take the time to test out new software packages, and, as their practices evolve, perhaps find a package better suited to the type of tax return season that they've just completed.

To help promote their tax products to potential users, virtually all major vendors offer summer tryouts for practitioners who may be thinking of switching providers.

The number of professional tax prep software manufacturers has shrunk by one during the past year, as CCH Small Firm Services acquired IntelliTax and transitioned its customers to TaxWise. Other vendors that have dropped off the list in recent years through acquisitions include Tax Relief from AccountantsWorld, Package Ex from ExacTax, and Best Software's Visual Tax.

However, there is still enough competition among the remaining companies to ensure quality and price stability for the foreseeable future.

This year's tax legislation, with the promise of more to come, will likely generate continued growth both in the number of professionally prepared returns and the number of preparers. Moreover, the likelihood of some form of preparer registration may drive out a portion of the fly-by-night preparers, opening up the profession to a greater number of legitimate practitioners. (For more, see page 13.) All this bodes well for stability in the professional software market.

Listed below are software publishers showcasing special summer tryouts and discounts.

CCH, A WOLTERS KLUWER BUSINESS

(800) 739-9998

http://cchgroup.com

ProSystem fx Office Suite Evaluation software is available for tryout for ProSystem fx office products, including ProSystem fx Tax, Engagement, Practice, Fixed Assets, Trial Balance, and Planning. It may be ordered by visiting the Web site or calling the toll-free number.

CCH SMALL FIRM SERVICES

www.atxinc.com

(800) 681-1751

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 Scan&Fill program lets you export scanned client data directly to tax returns.

www.taxwise.com

(800) 417-0286

TaxWise

The 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, which lets you export scanned client data directly to tax returns.

DRAKE SOFTWARE

www.drakesoftware.com

(866) 670-8478

Drake Software

Complete package includes individual, business, partnerships, corporations, e-file, bank, and all state software programs at no additional cost. Also included are client write-up with MICR check encoding, online tax research tools, real-time Web reporting, an appointment scheduler, preparer Web sites, and a tax planner. Call toll-free number or visit the Web site for details.

GREATLAND

www.greattaxpro.com

(800) 968-1099

Great Tax

Great Tax professional tax preparation software is designed to meet the needs of individual and business tax preparers, with diverse packages and an intuitive interface. Great Tax offers quick conversions, an online e-file center, and more. Free demo, a working version of the 2008 Great Tax Software, is available at the Web site, or by calling the toll-free number.

HOWARDSOFT

www.howardsoft.com

(858) 454-0121

Tax Preparer

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

INTUIT INC.

www.lacertesoftware.com

(800) 765-7777

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

www.proseries.com

(800) 934-1040

ProSeries Professional Edition

Built for professionals with a range of individual and/or business clients, ProSeries Professional provides fast and reliable preparation across a comprehensive set of tax forms and schedules, as well as practice tools. Free 2008 evaluation software available on Web site.

ProSeries Basic Edition

Designed for entry-level and beginning tax preparers that primarily provide preparation of 1040 and individual state returns. Free evaluation software available at Web site.

ORANGE DOOR INC.

www.orangedoorinc.com/contact.html

(650) 952-1773

Orange Tax Suite Pro Designed for the small-to-midsized firm with a completely hosted tax solution. Free demo account available on Web site.

PETZ ENTERPRISES

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 are available.

2ND STORY SOFTWARE

www.taxact.com

(800) 573-4287

TaxACT

TaxACT Preparer's edition includes tools and features such as client organizers, calculators and analysis reports. Customers can download and try 2008 software for free.

TAXSIMPLE INC.

www.taxsimple.com

(800) 989-8955

TaxSimple

TaxSimple offers a free full working version of the 2008 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. A demo of the software is available on the Web site. A variety of special pricing and discounts for first-time users, early renewals and conversions are available.

TAXWORKS

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 RS

(800) 968-8900

http://es.thomsonreuters.com

The free 30-day GoSystem Tax RS Test Drive is available online and includes all features of the software. The Test Drive allows access for 100 users and enables you to produce 25 returns for all tax types and states.

ULTRATAX CS

http://cs.thomsonreuters.com

The UltraTax CS trial package offers the complete 2008 UltraTax CS system at no charge for evaluation purposes. Early renewals are offered a discount, and specially priced new- user packages are available. Also available via the Web site is a registration form for live web­inars, a multi-media demo, and a series of product videos to assist with evaluation.

(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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