Best Firm Fit:
Small 1040-focused tax offices with limited to moderate need for additional entities.
- All federal and state entities
- Integrated bank products
- Good client communication templates & e-mail integration
- Data import from multiple accounting systems
- Built-in invoicing
- Available tax planner & document management system
- No client portals
- Lacks document automation tools (scan & populate)
- Limited tools for multi-preparer collaboration on complex returns
Executive Summary & Pricing
TaxWorks is a great package for small firms with high-volume 1040s and an occasional need for business entities. The package includes good data import from outside accounting packages, provides a good collection of firm tools for document management, asset management and planning. The vendor also offers good support. All versions of the program can be networked and used by any number of preparers in the same office at no additional cost. Pricing is competitive, with the system starting at $1,595 for a 1040-only system with one state, unlimited e-filing included. A system combining all states, the primary entities (1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S), the tax planner and unlimited e-filing is $2,595. A per-return model is also available.
TaxWorks was initially introduced as a service bureau in the early 1970s, launched its first 1040-focused PC version in 1978, and has since grown into a suite of tax compliance and tax practice management tools, including free e-filing, integrated bank products, multi-state filings, depreciation management, tax planning, appointment scheduling, tax research options, invoicing and client communications.
Core Product Functions/Features
TaxWorks is available in a variety of bundled formats, including the TaxWorks Complete package, which offers an all-inclusive compliance system that supports 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 706, 709, 990 and 5500 filings, and all states with associated returns. Unlimited e-filing is also included, with tools for filing resident/non-resident states using the program’s income allocation tools. The system also offers limited support for New York City and a few Ohio localities.
The main TaxWorks interface opens into a clean workspace with primary file menus and a feature icon toolbar located across the top of the screen, including links to the program’s e-file center, management functions, client lists, asset management tools, federal and state forms, diagnostics, and the ArkWorks document management system. Client lists are presented in a subwindow with search options and excellent filtering by entity type, name and summary tax data.
Within client returns, TaxWorks offers windows that show data-entry worksheets and a form view side by side, but the form is static and does not allow for entry or drilldown. On the data-entry sheets, however, users can jump to underlying forms, schedules and worksheets, and right-click options allow adding notes to any form field with the ability to mark items as estimated or to access line-specific Help, instructions and a calculator. Field instructions also appear below the data-entry sheets.
Preparers can choose from three data-entry sheet types, including Advanced, Lite and EZ, depending both on the complexity of their client and the skill level of the preparer. A Spanish version is also available, providing several form input screens as well as client communications in that language. A forms menu tree on the left provides quick movement to forms, with tabs allowing users to view all forms, common ones, those associated with the current return, or to show them by type. A return summary panel also remains on screen, showing real-time AGI, deductions, exemptions, taxable income, tax, credits, projected refund/amount owed, and state balance.
AMT rules are built in, and during entry of taxpayer dependent information, the program offers quick access to adding EIC information, as well as adding a kiddie tax (8814) form. A tool is also available for comparing MFJ vs. MFS filings. The system supports extensions and amended returns. 4.5