Scan&Fill is an add-on source document automation feature that allows users to scan client documents such as W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, K-1s and form 8879, with the system using OCR to recognize the form, create a PDF copy and present it to the user on screen for corrections. The preparer can then import extracted W-2 and 1099 data directly into the client return.
Although data automation is limited to these federal form types and not brokerage statements, when coupled with the document management system, these features offer a good core paperless solution for small practices, promoting a “scan-first” approach and offering PDF generation and storage of individual documents. In the program’s most recent release, Scan&Fill now creates bookmarked, organized singular PDFs and includes basic annotation of client folders and files with notes and review questions. The document management system also offers the ability to email encrypted documents from within the system and includes an audit trail that tracks changes to documents. Client communications and invoices can be generated in the program, but cannot be directly emailed. ATX also offers electronic signature acceptance through integration with a signature pad.
The security features in the program allow for firm management to password protect individual client returns, and it automatically locks returns when a user is within the client files. This lock can be released, however, when users need to offer simultaneous access to the return by another preparer in the firm. Additional privacy features include suppressing of SSNs/TINs, and the ability to mask sensitive information when printing client copies.
ATX now offers import of W-2 and 1099 data created in Peachtree and QuickBooks, as well as Schedule D transactions from CSV format. It does not offer direct online download of tax data from client financial institutions, nor does the system offer client portals or electronic web organizers. Print tax organizers are available, but data must be manually entered into the tax package. Trial balance worksheets are available within the program, and a full trial balance system is also available for purchase. Firms changing from most other professional tax preparation systems can have prior year client data converted into the system at no cost. 4
Data flows throughout the returns to necessary forms and schedules as needed, as well as between returns with the ability to import K-1 data, as well as to quickly enter common employer information. In addition to the trial balance worksheets in the tax package and the add-on system, ATX can import data from QuickBooks, Peachtree and Excel. The system does not have a true multi-year tax planning function, but does offer some scenario-based testing for current year returns.
Basic depreciation functions are built into the tax package, and more advanced features are available through an optional fixed asset management system, which allows for multiple books per asset and helps track acquisition and disposal events, including like-kind exchanges. As previously noted, the system also integrates with the vendor’s add-on document management utility for paperless storage of PDF formatted client documents.
The system offers in-program linking to the IntelliConnect research platform, giving users access to a large library of primary resource materials and guidance, including all code, regulations, rulings and legislation, plus news and highlights, journals and practice tools. The web-based research system offers user-friendly searching and filter capabilities, the ability to save research tasks into folders and also create custom research folders. Additional research options include the CCH Master Tax Guide, several of CCH’s Tax Handbooks, Federal Tax Day, TaxTalk, State materials and other sources. Right-click menu options allow users to access instructions and guidance from any line on the form.
ATX offers integrated banking products from Santa Barbara, Republic and River City, including RALs and electronic refund checks. The FeeCollect system gives firms the ability to have their fees deducted from a client’s refund, without a bank product. The vendor also offers the MoneyWise Card, a Western Union-branded MasterCard debit card that allows banked or unbanked clients to have their refund or bank product funds deposited onto the card account. The tax package includes an AR module and can accept credit card payments through a partnership with iTransact. 4.5