Product analysis: TaxWise
New for 2008 in TaxWise from CCH Small Firms Division are e-filing capability for forms 990, new e-filing capabilities for business forms, and an Easy Interview desktop feature that allows staff to input basic information for a simple return which is then sent to a tax professional. IRS Reg. 7216 requirement is automated throughout the program, and users have a choice of automatic or manual updates.
Bowden Brown, Product Manager at the Small Firms Division says TaxWise is a cost-efficient choice for a wide range of the tax preparation and accounting market, from smaller to larger firms and the commercial tax preparation firms.
TaxWise offers a number of individual and business, tax-only packages as well as tax and accounting professional packages including:
- The TaxWise ProFiling package, at $1,084, is the number one choice for tax professionals whose business relies on a high volume of individual returns. ProFiling includes TaxWise's federal 1040 software and state 1040 software for all states along with preferred e-filing rates.
- TaxWise Executive package at $1,335 is designed for firms that offer personal and business tax preparation services for clients in only a few states.
- TaxWise Power is a premium package ideal for high volume tax firms with clients with needs in a number of states. Returns processing for both individuals and business with unlimited e-filing is available for $2,395.
- The TaxWise ProBusiness package priced at $749 is for the tax professional who specializes in corporate and partnership returns.
Nominal e-filing fees apply for some packages.
Combined Tax and Accounting packages range from $1,697 to $3,625 for Complete Tax and Accounting.
More than 50 forms are now available on TaxWise in both Spanish and English. Switching back and forth between English and Spanish forms is easy and context sensitive help appears in Spanish as well as English.
Among the many options available with TaxWise are:
- TaxWise Easy Interview client interview program which lets anyone on staff enter the detailed information needed for a client, saving time and effort for professional tax preparers. By answering simple questions written in plain English, the interviewer automatically generates the necessary tax forms so they're already loaded when the tax professional starts the return.
A separate online interview package, suitable for a remote office is also available.
- TaxWise Scan&Fill with Document Manager scans W-2's and 1099s and exports the data directly into the client's TaxWise tax return and automatically creates digital folders to file and store client documents. The option allows the user to print and store PDF versions of clients' tax returns.
"There has been a great demand for this product, Brown says, and in 2009 the company will be working on a rebuilt OCR that will be able to read and detect more forms. The Company plans to build off this every year."
- TaxWise has also developed an entry level portal in CCH Site Builder with Complete Tax that allows users to create a fully functional website in less than 15 minutes. With this option, professionals can upload and share important tax information with clients in a safe, secure manner.
TaxWise offers free online training through TaxWise University with some packages. Management can set up individualized training programs for staff depending on their needs. Payment is required for CPE credit.
Online access to the CCH Master Tax Guide is available with some packages.
TaxWise offers bank products, Audit Shield, and FeeCollect, a product that deposits the tax preparation fee directly to the professional from the refund. There is a$15 charge $15 for this service.
Looking forward, Brown says that TaxWise has a three-year plan to move to a new technology platform that will support faster processing and more robust offerings. As an example, they are considering offering two kinds of organizers, depending on the needs of the client – one that is fairly robust and a mini-organizer.
Data built into TaxWise includes:
- Business codes
- Amortization codes
- W2 codes
- 1099 codes
- Sales Tax deduction lookup table
Users may choose one of the standard reports or create their own. The open database compliant (ODBC) format allows users to track returns and analyze data using spreadsheets and reports created with Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access or Crystal Reports.