With the tax filing season over, tax software vendors hope to get a head start on next season's sales by offering special summer season discounts and tryouts. At the same time, preparers have some time to tinker with different software to find a solution that fits their practice.Meanwhile, the recent enactment of tax legislation, such as the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 - with the promise of more to come - gives preparers additional motivation to consider new software solutions. Publicity over legislative changes will drive increasing numbers of taxpayers to seek professional help, according to observers. It also means more sales for tax prep vendors, since more preparers are expected to enter the field to service the additional taxpayers seeking professional advice.
During the past few years, the list of vendors has shrunk. Most recently, Dexter, Mich.-based Creative Solutions, a Thomson business, announced its purchase of Columbus, Ohio-based Dunphy Systems in May 2006. Other vendors that have dropped off the list in recent years include Tax Relief from AccountantsWorld and Package Ex from ExacTax, both purchased by Creative Solutions. 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.
The following are the manufacturers with special deals and summer tryouts available for practitioners.
Call for ATX's demo CD that provides tax preparation and tax research trials in one easy-to-use package. In addition to the free demo CD, ATX offers new customers a two-for-one deal: Order a 2007 tax season product and try the 2006 tax season product free of charge for 60 days.
* CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
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, Planning, Profit Driver and Practice Driver. Order at the Web site or by calling the toll-free number.
* Creative Solutions
Offers the complete 2006 Ultra Tax CS software package at no charge for evaluation purposes. Early renewals are offered a discount, and specially priced new-user packages are available. Trial includes a free desk reference to state e-filing.
* Drake Software
Complete package includes individual, business, 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. For more information or a free demo, call toll-free number or visit Web site.
La Jolla, Calif.
Working program CD available for 30-day free trial.
For tax practices that serve a range of individual and business clients, from the simple to the complex. Its new lower price of $999 includes unlimited use of all individual federal forms and all individual state forms.
ProSeries Basic Edition
ProSeries Basic is designed for smaller tax practices that primarily prepare 1040 and state individual returns. The ProSeries Basic suite starts at $250.
ProSeries Express Edition
ProSeries Express Edition is for practices that prepare a high volume of returns and need rapid refund and bank-product options.
* Lacerte (Intuit)
Lacerte Tax has a large list of worksheets, schedules and forms, robust functionality, and in-depth calculations, along with integration with other financial software tools that can help streamline workflow. A free evaluation kit is available.
Green Bay, Wis.
Free demo CDs available at Web site or by calling toll-free number. Conversions are available from many popular software programs. Discounts are available for first-time orders and early renewals.
* Orrtax Software
IntelliTax for Windows, IntelliManager, IntelliTax for Business
This year's products, with limited functionality, are available on a free CD for demonstration purposes. Products become fully functional when authorization code is activated upon payment. All packages are priced at a discount (30 percent off through Aug. 31).
* Petz Enterprises
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
Customers can call or go on Web site for free, fully functional 2006 evaluation edition. Includes 1040 product, all 1040 states, 1065 product, 1065 states, 1120S and 1120S states. Early-bird prices available on all products.
* TaxSimple Inc.
TaxSimple offers a free, full working version of the 2006 CD, including state and federal 1040s with over 2,000 forms, schedules and worksheets, and free electronic filing. The CD also includes programs for Forms 1120, 1120S, 1065, 1041, 706, 709 and 990. The full program may also be downloaded for free from TaxSimple's Web site. TaxSimple has recently added tax prep outsourcing. Special pricing and discounts for first-time users, early renewals, and conversion discounts are available.
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.
GoSystem Tax (CD) and GoSystem Tax RS (Web-based)
A free 30-day test drive is available on CD or the Web. The GoSystem Tax RS test drive includes all features of the Web-based tax compliance software. It includes 30-day access for 100 users, including 25 returns for all tax types and all states.
* Universal Tax Systems
Free evaluation kit supplies a fully functional system based on last year's product, including 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. For a limited time, purchasers of the Power Accounting package will also receive a client write-up and payroll program.
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