Best Tax Software for Small Tax Preparers
A lot of people dread having to deal with numbers and taxes are no exemption to that. However, not everyone hates dealing with numbers. People who can’t and don’t want to do their taxes hire someone else to do it for them. Lo and behold, professional small tax preparers – expertise without shelling bg bucks.
If you’re a small tax preparer looking for the best tax software to assist your client and help with your business, then you’ve come to the right place. Read this helpful guide in choosing the best tax software for you.
First, how do I choose the best tax software for my business?
There’s no one right answer to determine which is the best tax software suited for your business. So instead of looking for the objectively best tax software, look at the best tax software for your business.
You have to look at several factors relating to your business needs before you can make the right decision.
Here are some general features you might be interested in looking for:
1. Does the software have all the necessary forms that your clients might need?
You should know your target market so that you have an idea of what services you can confidently offer.
There are a variety of tax situations that are influenced by different personal lives that no single form can suffice to address. Decide what forms your clients might need and see if the tax software offers them.
2. Does the software allow integration with other software needed for your business?
If you have software that allows integration, then you can create your Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for your business.
You might need other software such as client management and accounting software to run a more tech-savvy business. Having all those necessary applications sync with one another will save you a lot of time and hassle in providing your services. Your business becomes more efficient when you can streamline your workflow.
3. Does the software have diagnostic tools to guide you in accurately preparing tax returns?
Accuracy is the key to properly filing taxes at the best rates of deductions or refunds possible.
You would want software that has the right tools to guide your tax preparation. Your tax software should be some safety net in case of plain human errors. Aside from the added confidence, it also makes it more convenient to prepare your clients’ tax returns.
4. Is a pay-per-return package better for your business or would you be needing a more economical option for filing a higher volume of tax returns?
Some software offer pay-per-return, which means just that: you get charged per return you complete.
This would be cost-effective for new tax preparers, small tax preparers, or those who are just trying out new software. You can also opt for a more comprehensive package once you feel comfortable with the software or if you are catering to a broader clientele base.
5. Does the software have a free trial and free onboarding, tutorial, and support for small tax preparers like yourself?
Just like the pay-per-return option, free trial allows you to get a feel of the software before you shell out a huge amount of money and commit to the chosen software.
Free onboarding and tutorials are also critical because you would want to maximize the features of the software and fast track your business.
As a tax preparer, you might occasionally need technical support, especially if you’re not so tech savvy. So, check if the software offers available technical support.
4 of the Best Tax Software for Small Tax Preparers
Previously, we’ve created a list of best tax preparation software that can be used by individual taxpayers and tax professionals alike. Here, we give you an updated and more comprehensive review of the best tax software that will be most suitable for small tax preparers like yourself.
1. Drake Tax
Drake Tax is arguably one of the best tax software for small tax preparers that cater to small- and mid-sized markets.
It is a comprehensive, easy-to-use-and-navigate software that supports all major forms including all 1040 forms, and federal and state packages. You don’t have to pay for additional state returns because it is already included. You can also access forms for trusts, estates, S- and C-Corps, etc.
The best thing about this software is its fully-customizable reporting that has insights for every aspect of your small tax preparation business. This feature lets you see an overview of your business efficiency through a module that functions as a practice management system.
The software also includes other applications for client management and document transfer.
An example is the SecureFile Pro feature which allows you to complete a return electronically. You can go completely paperless from compiling information, preparing taxes, to returning documents. The client can even electronically sign the documents. It makes the process quicker and more convenient as it eliminates the need for courier transfers of hard copies.
Another way it simplifies your workflow is through importing data from other software such as Quickbooks and Microsoft Excel. For added convenience, it has planning tools that allow you to advise your clients better using archived tax information from previous years. It also includes the amortization schedule.
As you go on with the process, you can continuously check the estimated refund to see what affects your client’s taxes. This is important because it can let you adjust the information you’re filing to get better results for your clients. You can also keep them apprised with the taxes or refunds they should expect.
The software gives you recommendations throughout the entire process to avoid IRS rejections.
It lets you know if you are going in the right direction or if you are making any errors. Even tax pros can use extra help to maximize the client’s returns. Plus, IRS rejections are costly to both parties- it costs money for the client and affects your business your reputation.
Drake 2 Versions
Also, Drake Tax has two versions: the pay-per-return option or the unlimited version. The PPR rate is at $300 for 15 state and 15 federal returns.
Additional returns are priced at $20 each, but after the 85th return, your account is automatically converted to the unlimited version. The unlimited version costs around $1,300 and includes a package covering payroll, accounting, and bookkeeping.
Customer Service Responsiveness
When it comes to customer service, they are very responsive and professional.
Users even highly commended the technical support. It’s easy to contact them, and they are regularly available to tend to customer inquiries and issues (Monday to Friday 8 am to 9 pm). Customer support is also available during peak tax season (Dec. 2 up to the day before the tax deadline) on Mondays and Fridays 8am-10pm and Saturdays 8am-6pm.
Although it has a user-friendly interface, it can take time to get used to navigating the software. And because it’s very comprehensive, it might be an overkill for a client pool that generally has more straightforward tax situations. Overall, Drake Tax is worth every penny you shell out.
2. Intuit Proconnect Tax Online
Intuit Proconnect Tax Online is suitable for small accounting firms that cater to individual and business returns.
This is also a good fit for growing and mid-sized businesses. Users can access this across devices on their computers, tablets, and phones. You also have the option to complete your returns fully-electronic or if you want to deliver hard copies of your clients’ tax returns.
This is an economical choice because it offers pay-per-return packages that are still all-inclusive. The payment includes both state and federal returns and tax planning tools.
However, you can start your return at no cost using the software.
Be ready to shell out when you file your return:
- Price for each 1040 form tax return: 1-9 at $43.95, 10-49 at $30.95, 50-99 at $20.95, special prices for taxes filed beyond 99 returns
- Price for each business return (including preparation forms 1041, 709, 1120S, 990, 1065): 1-9 at $54.95, 10-49 at $43.95, 50-99 at $35.95, special prices for business taxes filed beyond 99 returns
Clients have the option to pay tax preparation fees directly by deducting the amount from their refund.
The software allows seamless integration to various key software and applications such as QuickBooks Online Accountant for a trial balance and easy import and upload of documents directly from excel. Users can also directly scan and upload other documents using a scanner or their devices.
Intuit Link Features
It features Intuit Link which makes the user’s experience convenient.
It’s a document management system that can collect, store, and upload client information without the need of requesting physical copies of documents from clients. Completed returns can be electronically signed using the eSignature feature.
It offers several useful tools to help with onboarding and maximizing the features of the software. This includes comprehensive FAQs, Trending Options and Getting Started features, training videos, webinars, and a knowledge-base.
Aside from this, customer and technical support is also available via telephone or chat for free.
LocusTax is a trusted tax preparation software for small tax preparers. why? It allows users to pay-per-return their tax filings. It’s one of the easiest software to use without compromising accuracy and you don’t have to be a computer wizard to use their web version.
3 Simple Steps
Users only need to accomplish 3 major steps to complete a return.
First, you need to fill out a simplified questionnaire to guide the user to the proper forms necessary.
Second, you go on and provide any additional information that is relevant to your tax return.
Last, you submit your completed returns to the IRS. You can do this easy filing in 3 basic steps.
Maximize Your Client’s Refunds
All the information you provide will be used to file the proper forms accurately. As a tax professional, you can use your discretion to maximize even more your client’s returns. The questionnaires are a guide to determine the client’s tax situation.
E-copies at No Cost
You can save electronic copies of every tax return you complete at no cost. Technical support is also free and available through email and phone call. They are usually available during regular working hours. Their customer service is very responsive and professional.
LocusTax 3 Versions
Although you can start filing a tax return for free, it still depends on the information you provide. Relatively simple tax returns can be completed for free, but you will need to purchase either the Basic version ($34.95) or the Deluxe version ($45.95) to have access to more forms and features. Pricing is straightforward, and you won’t be encountering unnecessary upsells for products or features.
You can start a tax return here for free to get a general feel of the software and its features.
4. TaxSlayer Pro
TaxSlayer has been a leading tax software company for over 20 years. This doesn’t only give them the credibility to deliver a job well done, but they also make sure their interface is user-friendly.
Users can navigate the software using quick menus and colorful icons, although the general look is dated. Nevertheless, it’s still easy to use even for non-techies.
Forms are made accessible to read and edit, with a tab at the left allowing the user to skip to certain parts of a form. At the bottom, there is a form menu at the left and error codes are shown in the middle section.
The Client Status option allows the user to quickly view a summary of client data, tax filing information, and IRS status.
TaxSlayer 3 Versions
This software is suitable for small- to mid-sized tax preparers with 3 versions available: Classic, Premium, and Web.
You can use TaxSlayer on your Android, iOS, or computer devices. All versions offer all 1040 forms (including all applicable local tax forms), but business filing is not available in the web version. You would need to download them separately.
Taxes to Go is the software’s mobile app for seamless interaction between user and client.
This allows fully electronic tax filing for added convenience. Clients can easily enter or upload their tax data into the app which will be used to prepare their taxes. Up to final revisions and obtaining the client’s signature, it can be done electronically through the app. The client can even monitor the status of their return on the app.
With the Premium version, the user can save all completed returns in PDF format with the PaperCut Paperless Office.
Additionally, various forms and client notes can be scanned and upload directly onto the app. For security, everything is automatically encrypted.
TaxSlayer can integrate with a variety of key software and modules including Tax Office Assistant, VelaPoint, TaxBook Web Library, and other banking products such as SecurelyID, debit cards, and electronic refund checks. This compatibility with some extra features streamlines workflow for both user and client.
It has a decent resolution center including a database for relevant questions and topics, remote desktop support, and tutorial videos. You also get a free Quick Start Guide to help you get started with your product.
You get unlimited federal and state filings with any version you purchase. The Classic version costs $1,095 per year and the Premium and Web versions both costs $1,395/each per year.