Product analysis: Great Tax

Enhancements to Great Tax in 2008 bolster the application's speed and efficiency, and include an Auto Upgrade feature that allows users to set up their own schedule to receive program upgrades. Numerous other features have been added to improve functionality and make data entry easier, according to Cathy LaViolette, Product Manager at Greatland Corporation, maker of the software.

Popular enhancements include a "Find By" feature added to the invoice settings that allows for quick searching of forms, and rollforward of prior year information such as EFIN and company entity information, and initial settings for printing and control. A SSN/EIN security function will be added on professional packages that will require the user to fully enter the number in order to access a return.

Great Tax Packages are designed to meet the needs of a range of firms, from those with only a few individual tax clients, to larger tax preparation firms that process as many as 2,000 individual clients, to firms that file business and individual tax returns for their clients. "Great Tax is designed to grow with your business. It is ideal for startups and for small firms that are looking to grow their business," says LaViolette.

Professional Packages for Individuals

With a low price of $390, Great Tax Individual, the basic tax package, offers federal returns and one state return processing and includes some e-filing software. The Professional package at $1,045 offers unlimited states and professional management features. Great Tax Silver at $1,845 combines federal and state tax preparation with unlimited e-filing and bank products.

Individual pay-per-return processing is available through Great Tax at $32.00 for a federal return and $17 for each state. "This is ideal option for firms with just a few individual clients or those that need to file only a few business or out-of-state returns," LaViolette says.

E-filing transmission fees apply for some packages. E-filing transmission may be purchased separately as an option, with prices based on volume.

Professional Packages for Business

Professional packages supporting both individual and business returns processing range in price from $1,445 for Professional Plus to $2,565 for Professional Platinum. The basic Professional Plus package is designed to meet professionals' needs for complete individual and business tax preparation in one package, including federal and all states individual returns, plus major business returns, and e-filing.

Professional Platinum includes federal and state individual and business preparation bundled with unlimited e-filing and bank services. It also includes 706, 709, 990 and 5500 series of forms.

Looking forward, LaViolette says that Great Tax will continue to focus on improving their software's functionality and speed. Great Tax does not offer portal software but users can go to their Great Tax account on Greatland's site to check on the status of e-filed returns and bank reports.

The software includes Form 1040 PR but the company does not plan to add more Spanish language forms and does not plan to introduce a scanning option.

Some other popular features in the GreatTax software include:

  • Peek mode that allows users to preview output.

  • Data automatically links to all applicable forms and schedules.

  • K-1 library automatically carries information from the business return to the individual return.

  • Seamlessly integrated e-filing and RAL bank products with comprehensive reporting and file management.

  • Free network functionality with customizable user settings.

  • Client tax organizer and other client documents, including letters and billing forms..

  • Ease of conversion from other tax software.

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