Product analysis: GoSystem Tax ES

Part of the Enterprise Suite from Thomson Reuters, GoSystem Tax ES is a browser-based tax preparation software that you can access from anywhere that you have an Internet connection. However, brower-based doesn't mean limited functionality. GoSystem includes more than 2,500 federal and state forms, and allows you to import client data from general ledger programs such as QuickBooks, balances from Engagement ES, and spreadsheets. Since there's no software to install, other than a series of plug-ins for Internet Explorer, you're up and running on any computer, anywhere within a couple of minutes. However, you're not necessarily tied to the Internet, as the RS To-Go application enables you to enter client tax data offline to be uploaded later.

According to Thomson Reuters, GoSystem Tax ES is used by nine of the top ten firms in the country. The software starts at $2,500, and offers support for unlimited users. It's a perfect fit for CPAs who wish to avoid computer headaches, since patches and new features are added automatically, and all of your data is always backed up in the Thomson Reuters secure data center. It's also ideal for firms with multiple offices or overseas operations. Disaster recovery protection is built-in, since the entire application and all data are always offsite, and accessible from any Internet connection with the proper credentials.

GoSystem integrates directly with other Enterprise Suite applications, such as GoFileRoom ES, Engagement ES, and Practice ES, as well as the CS Professional Suite. Research from RIA's Checkpoint is incorporated within the program, and the MyTaxInfo online organizer streamlines data collection. The FormSource feature allows you to mine data from your clients' returns, which in turn enables you to specifically target new services to offer to your existing clients. The Preseason Services gives you a jumpstart on the new tax year by carrying forward prior year data into your clients' organizers. You'll also appreciate the QuickForm feature, which allows you to work backwards — right-click on any field within a form, and then choose Direct to Organizer to launch the corresponding organizer. In addition, the GoSystem Tax ES Custom Tax Equalization module enables you to handle expatriate calculations with ease. Standard equalization templates and statements simplify the equalization process and eliminate the need for offline spreadsheet-based calculations.

New features for 2008 include the ability to mask personal identifiable information, in accordance with IRS regulation 7216. This allows social security numbers and other personal information to be kept hidden from overseas or support personnel. In addition, e-filing support will be added for federal returns, as well as XML integration with third-party forms.

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