You may not have an idea of what you’re looking for when it comes to professional tax software. If not, don’t worry, we’re here to help you choose the best software without going through the hassle of intense research. We’ve done the hard part for you. We’re here to provide an honest and comprehensive analysis and review of the most popular professional tax software on the market today.
|Software||Price||Fees||Windows||Apple||Cloud||Desktop||Interview Mode||Bank Product Support^||All Federal Forms Included||All State Forms Included||Corporate Returns||Revenue Sharing^^||Customer Service Phone Support||Customer Service Chat Support||Tax Preparation Training Included||Software Training Included||Marketing Support Options||Mobile App|
|Taxx Savage Beginner||$149||$89 per efile|
|Taxx Savage Pro||$0* - $599||$5 per efile|
|Taxx Savage Service Bureau||$0* - $2,399||$0|
|CrossLink||$300 - $1,495||$4 per efile|
|DrakeTax Software||$345 - $1,745||$29.99|
|Federal Direct Tax||$299 - $2,499||$0|
|Intuit ProSeries||$499 - $1,949||$0 - $49|
|MyTaxPrepOffice||$495 - $1,095||Refused to disclose|
|TaxAct for Professionals||$725 - $1,750||$15 per efile|
|UltraTax||$2,500||$12 - $17 per efile|
|Wolters Kluwer ATX||$839 - $4,699||$5.50 per efile (75 free efiles)|
|Wolters Kluwer TaxWise||$2,500 - $2,740||Current Year: $0 Prior Year: $5.50 per efile|
* Free to qualifying EFIN holders. Must meet minimum requirement of 100 bank products for Pro package and 2000 bank products for Service Bureau package.
^ Bank products are a way to help your clients have their preparation fees removed from their refund or even provide them a refund anticipation loan (RAL).
^^ Revenue sharing means that the tax preparer shares the fees they charge their client with the tax software company.
Comparing More Than Prices.
How much are you willing to pay for professional tax software? How much are they charging you? Is it a fair or reasonable price? Are you getting a good value for the cost and are you getting the features that you need?
Most professional tax software is geared toward the same goal; to help you prepare taxes. But some are intuitive and easy to use and others are more complicated. The software developers all struggle to make their software easy to use. They come up with different designs, gated features, and a customer support system to give users a pleasant experience. The design, features, customer support, and ease of use can all inform and provide value to software prices. More often than not, the price will follow the quality of the software. High-quality features and easier-to-use software are more expensive.
Other things that influence pricing include the market advantage and a company’s sales strategy. Market advantage is a factor in pricing simply because established brands have the luxury of determining their price range. For instance, an established company may simply decide to set a higher price tag on their subscriptions because they are a big name in the industry and they know that people don’t like to change once they are set on a certain course of action. Or they rely on the lure of the familiar.
Who Made The Cut?
In the course of our research, we adequately tested the software before coming up with criteria for evaluating them. Below is a list of what we assessed when looking at the various types of software:
Ease of Use
We checked how easily a software can be installed and navigated. Whether it needs some expertise to operate and how quickly a user can learn to use it.
Most Important Features
There are features that the most basic tax software should have. These include multi-user access, e-filing, status reports, state modules, and vital schedules and forms. The tax software that lacks these features are not included in this review.
Time and Cost Saving
How fast can you accurately and effectively do tax returns using a software? Does the software allow you access to several tax forms and the ability to file many returns at no extra cost?
The software has to be available on both desktop and web. This enables diversified access.
Customer information submitted to tax software is pretty sensitive. It is, therefore, a non-negotiable requirement that a software protects its customer information and ensures their safety.
One of the reasons for using tax software and avoiding the manual filing system is the ability of a software to detect and correct errors and guide you in the filing process until it’s complete.
Software may have features that the user does not know how to use. Because of this, it’s really important that the software provides excellent technical support.
Is a tax software capable of collecting IRS refunds through bank products? Which products are these? Are they the bare basics or is their software more ‘extra’?
TAXX SAVAGE REVIEW
A relative newcomer to the industry, Taxx Savage is aiming a mighty punch to the pillars that have upheld the entire financial sector for decades; namely high costs and unclear terms and conditions.
Taxx Savage has three packages that are designed to meet the needs of every type of tax professional. They are affordable and possibly the cheapest in the industry, especially when you consider that they often have sales and coupons that cut the costs even lower. Current offerings for the 2021 tax season makes package #1 $149 and $0 for package #2.
The only package that doesn’t have clear pricing on the website is the third one. It seems that the company makes customized agreements for service bureaus based on size so they can’t post exact rates.
They are also one of only two companies we could find that offers additional marketing services for newer tax professionals such as logo creation and more.
There are no hidden fees on Taxx Savage. Every expense is accounted for in the package pricing and add-ons. Review services require additional costs.
- Free unlimited e-filing
- Forms, including 706, 709, 990, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120-S, and 5500 filing
- Tax returns can be exported and saved in PDF
- Promotes a paperless workplace. The mobile app, client portal, and digital signature support all contribute towards sharing documents electronically. The documents can be saved as digital files after being scanned.
- All 50 states included in all packages
- Refund Calculator for estimating client refunds
- Unlimited Licenses
- Multi-office capability
- Cloud-based reporting
- An online bank integration
- A client retention database
- A tax return status checker
- Earn rebates
- Your company name or logo can be branded on the pages and media
- Audit Protection Service
- IRS approved courses
- Tax prep training
- Software training
- Marketing add-on
So far as we can find, there is nothing but praise for this company and how they do business. They seem to improve every year and if testimonials online are to be believed, they really mean what they say.
The marketing add-ons, chat support, cloud-based software, and extra low prices really make Taxx Savage stand out above the larger chains. Their software has all the features of the big companies with none of the detractions from what we can tell.
CrossLink is suitable for high-volume tax preparation. Their primary product is the CrossLink 1040 desktop. The software also has an online version which you must learn about through its demo.
CrossLink 1040 is used for the preparation of individual income tax returns. For business returns, a package containing CrossLink 1040 and CrossLink Business is suitable.
CrossLink has a range of packages priced at different rates:
Some prices have been modified to reflect a package’s actual cost. This creates a difference with what is provided on the website as in the latter; the prices are listed differently. It is, therefore, prudent that for an in-depth understanding of the CrossLink pricing, you contact a sales rep.
This version is supported by either Windows 8 or 10. Its features are:
- An attractive interface
- The standard set of tools used for preparing taxes
- A diagnostic tool that identifies data entry errors, preventing you from having your return rejected. It also makes the software have an increased efficiency with minimal mistakes. This tool is referred to as Point-and-Shoot Error Correction
- E-filing program
- E-filing status checker
- Enabled IRS responses which are viewable immediately they are made
- Automatic Calculator which can automatically calculate returns for schedules A, C, E, F, and K-1. Forms 2106 and 4835
- All states and cities returns
- Accessible on mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers, and tablets
- Enables you to create and supervise your subsites from one location
- Electronic signature pads or handheld scanners to enter data
- Ability of syncing a client’s tax returns with their documents
- Xero integration and Quick books
Having the ability to be used for both personal and commercial tax filing, CrossLink has received worthwhile recognition. Its lack of various features, such as a Proweb, reduces its appeal to other users. It is therefore not a surprise that its rating suffers due to that among other reasons despite providing good customer support.
CrossLink gives free usage of a taxpayer based mobile app and ERO app when purchasing their packages (depending on which you purchase). However they only support working through Santa Barbara TPG bank and have no chat support. They do offer instructional videos on their website.
DRAKE TAX REVIEW
With DrakeTax, there are three pricing options. The options are decently expensive for the power bundle, but come with many features.
There are fees to add the software from the previous year. There are also fees to add the 2022 version.
Unlike a lot of the software tax preparation programs, Drake includes all the same features in all three options.
Here are some of the options:
- Many tax form options
- All state packages
- Data Conversion
- Productivity Tools
- Easy backups
- Prior year tax form autofill
- A double checking feature
- Import/Export options
- Online research on taxes
Here are some of the planning features:
Most of the customers were fairly happy with Drake Tax. Most people seemed to be satisfied with the support options. However, some users needed to contact Drake about application bugs in the software.
Overall, Drake Tax provides value as a tax preparation software. It is expensive, but it comes with many valuable features.
FEDERAL DIRECT TAX SERVICES REVIEW
There are several options with the Federal Direct Tax software. The cheapest option is the Quick Start option, with three more expensive plans.
None outside of the prices listed above.
Here are the quickstart features:
- Tax software with interview questions
- All individual forms
- Individual schedules
- IRS assistance with registration
- Tax support and tech support that can be used year round
- Training and personalized software orientation
- Refund program
- Uploaded to the Cloud
The Silver Plan adds:
- Marketing resources and ideas
- Budget matching for marketing
The Gold Plan adds:
- All states
- Three years of back tax software
- Backup and recovery
The Platinum Plan adds:
- All states
- Business taxes
- Five years of back tax software
- Immigrant tax filing program, training & support
People like this software program but there are a few downsides. Some users said the software was hard to learn. Training could be improved, especially for new users.
Federal Direct Tax is a common software choice. It is not available in a few states. Federal Direct also does not have a mobile app. In order to have all-state access you have to purchase the gold plan, which can be prohibitively expensive for many smaller to medium sized offices. It also requires platinum level for business forms, preventing those smaller tax businesses from helping larger clientele and growing their company. On the other hand, they do have some very nice marketing options available and are one of two software companies we’re aware of that offer any marketing support at all. It would be nice if they provided marketing, all states, and business forms for all levels.
INTUIT PROCONNECT/SERIES REVIEW
There are three plan options with Intuit. There are a lot of customizations. However, it is a little hard to figure out the total cost with all the optional features.
Only one plan listed online with a price.
FastPath: 450 per year
|Pricing is by the number of returns.||
Pricing is by the number of returns.
Some of the pricing is not listed online.
Further Plan Pricing:
This is all that was able to be uncovered about Lacerte pricing online. Like many companies, they obfuscate their pricing online in order to convince you to call in and talk to a pushy salesperson.
With many plans with Intuit, there are many fees based on the amount of returns. This is especially true for the ProConnect software, which bills by return.
Here are three advantages:
Other features include:
- Workflow management
- Pay by refund
- Audit protection
- The tax pro center information
- Integration with other Intuit products
- Banking partners
- Virtual portal for clients
- Tech support
- Tax planning
The reviews of this software are mixed. Some people struggled to deal with support and ease of use of the platform. The pricing options on the website are not listed, making it hard to figure out exactly what you will be charged.
Users reported that this software simplifies the process. Customer service problems and website bugs were common. This software might be helpful for tax preparers with a lot of variation in clientele.
MyTaxPrepOffice operates as a cloud-based system that fits well with virtual tax offices. It works through your web browser on any device, including a laptop and mobile phone. The software, however, lacks a desktop-based application. The software has an offline mode that can be used without an internet connection. The work done in the offline mode is automatically synced with the cloud when an internet connection is restored.
MyTaxPrepOffice provides three packages; Individual Pro, Essential and Unlimited Plans.
The Individual Pro plan is cheap but limited. For instance, it can’t be used for business returns.
The Essential plan provides two accounts and initial storage space of 10GB which can be expanded at a rate of $20 per 5GB. $20 is required for every additional account.
More information is not provided on the fees charged and to know more about the same you will have to contact their sales representative.
- Operates through widgets displayed on a dashboard that can be customized to a theme of your choice.
- E-Filing Summary
- Recent Returns
- E-Filing Status
- News Summary
- Rejected Summary
- Appointment List
- Financial Products
- A client portal through which the clients can safely send their documents to you. It also enables you and the client to automatically view a form as soon as they are prepared or there’s a response
- Both the direct data entry and the interview modes to fill tax forms are available
- A Guide Me feature is available to aid you in filing returns by explaining various form requirements
- Unlimited number of accounts for some plans
- Cloud Storage, which is unlimited for some plans
This software has been tipped as good for both business and individual returns. It is worth noting that this software has received a lot of criticism concerning its products as well as its customer support. For instance, it was unable to make returns for Kentucky to the extent that preparers were being discouraged from it. It is not just that, there have been complaints on its support system which seems to be failing. To make matters worse, it has a software rating of 1/5.
MyTAXPrepOffice supports various bank products, including the Refund Advantage, EPS Navigator, and Santa Barbara Tax Products Group.
MyTAXPrepOffice provides customer assistance through phone and email support. In addition to this, there are instructional videos uploaded daily to its website. These videos form part of technical training conducted by the MyTAXPrepOffice team.
TAXACT FOR PROFESSIONALS REVIEW
TaxAct for Professionals is only available on desktop and offers a 1040 bundle and a complete bundle. The complete bundle is used for filing business returns, while the 1040 one is used for individual federal returns.
TaxAct for professionals offers four packages for its users:
Professional Federal Editions support all the 2021 Federal tax forms, including forms 990, 1120, the 1120S, 1040, 1041, and 1065. The federal returns are independently purchased. TaxAct charges $150 for every Federal Edition.
State Returns are purchased separately from the Professional Federal Editions at a rate of $35 for each State Edition. The Editions available for purchase are forms 1120s, 1120, 1065, 1041, and 1040.
TaxAct is high on its Professional bundles. Last year, it offered a Pay-Per-Return bundle alongside the Professional one. This bundle went for $35 per state return and $15 per e-filed federal tax return. However, the PPR version is currently nowhere on their website. To know if it is still available, you must call a TaxAct sales representative.
- Tax planning tools
- A client manager
- Professional report tool
- E-filing. Including unlimited e-filing for 1040 Federal returns in some packages
- Software assistants that provide help during the data entry process, among other things. These assistants include the stock and topic assistants and an import wizard which transfers data taken from a different software app
- A single-user license and a multi-user network
- An optional cloud storage space
- Online data backup
- High-volume filing of 1040 returns
- All State and Federal returns
- Includes other forms such as 990, 1120, 1120S, 1040, 1041, and 1065
- A multi-user network
- An online data backup
- Optional cloud storage
TaxAct for professionals has received a mixed bag of reviews. It has a good number of pros as well as a tangible number of cons. Just to pick an example of both: Most users have termed it as good for business but not for personal tax filing. This may even be described by its title. On the cons side, client reviews have accused TaxAct of using ‘technical titles’ that leaves them clueless most times. With these and many more, TaxAct as a software has a support rating of almost 5 stars.
TaxAct for professionals supports the Republic Bank refund transfer program.
Customers can receive assistance either via phone or email. Consultation is also available on their website.Their most notable detraction is that their software is not available from anywhere and it must be installed on each individual computer used, making it complicated for remote teams or even smaller offices.
ULTRATAX CS REVIEW
There are two options with the UltraTax software. This software claims to simplify the tax process through limiting data entry.
|UltraTax CS Express 100||UltraTax CS|
|$2,500/year||Varies by features|
With this software, it is hard to find the fees because the pricing is not transparent. There is an add-on fee for e-signatures. With the UltraTax CS version, there are fees depending on which features you choose.
The features differ between the basic and comprehensive plans. The comprehensive plan caters to large corporations.
Here are some of the highlighted features:
Other features include:
- Productivity tools
- 25+ business returns
- Asset management software
The support on these programs is decent. They offer demo videos. Customers reported that they were generally satisfied. This program is probably better for larger customers. Some users complained about product functionality and it does not offer a mobile app.
UltraTax is expensive, without much to differentiate them from other programs. The pricing is a bit vague.
WOLTERS KLUWER ATX REVIEW
There are several options with the Wolters Kluwer ATX software. The cheapest option is the ATX 1040 and the most expensive is the ATX Advantage. Regardless of the option you choose, you’ll be paying quite a bit for this software.
Extra add-on packages.
Here are the standard features:
|ATX 1040||ATX Max||ATX Total Tax Office||ATX Advantage|
Some other advantages are:
- Return checks through your tax return
- Refund balance trackers
- Lots of different forms for each tax need at the state, local, and federal level. These forms include the 1040, 1041, 1120, 1120S, 1065, 706, 709, 990, and 5500
Users like the software overall, but there are a few disadvantages. The cost is pricier than other tax software. There are limits on the plans to how many free E-Files you can do. To get concierge care, the most expensive plan is required and most would probably agree that offering software support is a bare minimum these days. Lastly, there is no app, which means you cannot access support through mobile options.
While ATX has some good features and is popular with tax professionals, ATX is likely best for large firms that aren’t concerned with pricing or support options and want to go with a name brand.
WOLTERS KLUWER TAXWISE REVIEW
There are several options with the Wolters Kluwer ATX software. The cheapest option is the pay-per-return. Larger companies will get more value out of other programs, due to the features.
|400 Package||Unlimited Package||100 Package||Pay-Per-Return Package|
- Add-on fees
Here are the standard features:
|400 Package||Unlimited Package||100 Package||Pay-Per-Return Package|
Here are some options to access the software.
Some other advantages are:
- Return checks through your tax return
- Refund estimate calculator
- A Mobile app
- White glove service, if paid for
Users like the software overall, but there are a few disadvantages. The cost is pricier than other tax software. To get concierge care, the most expensive plan is required. There is an app with support articles and help. However, this tax software is best for individual tax processing. It’s almost identical to their ATX software with a different pricing set up.
In order to receive the most benefits for this software, there is a high threshold for returns that precludes smaller to mid-sized tax offices. It has a great tax library available, but unfortunately those who need it most (the smaller offices) can’t access it due to the requirements.