Best Firm Fit:
Small practice with less complex clients, primarily 1040-focused, who need mobility or remote access, and ability to quickly ramp up/down the number of users
- Fully web-based
- Client portals/collaboration tools
- Instant ramp-up/down for any number of users
- Integrated billing & practice management features
- PC, Mac & Linux friendly
- Limited workflow optimization tools
- Basic PDF output
- Minimal local tax support
Orange Door, Inc. has been offering its completely web-based Orange Door Tax Suite Pro compliance package since 2006, and has grown the package to include support for most entities and all states with integrated e-filing, while also providing digital document storage, practice management and client collaboration tools. The system is generally geared toward smaller firms with mobile needs, and is available in various bundles or on a pay-per-return basis.
Core Product Functions/Features
Orange Tax Suite Pro provides professional tax preparation support for forms 1040, 1041, 1120, 1120S and 1065, with support for all states, as well as multi-state reporting with income allocation tools. It does not support Puerto Rico reporting. The program includes some New York City forms, but does not generally provide full compliance for local tax reporting, although the company notes that it is working to add Ohio and Michigan municipal returns in coming years.
For TY 2010, Orange Door redesigned its secure, web-based interface based on the new FAST SaaS platform, with the primary work area opening within the user’s browser to display the master client list, which offers multiple sorting options as well as e-file and return status. Key program functions are available via very intuitive icons at the top of the screen, including access to messages, data entry, firm information and firm reporting options, which include user-productivity management functions such as number of returns, the amount of time spent on returns and billable revenue per preparer. Additional panels on the home screen include a task and priority monitor that alerts users to pending actions, as well as a lower icon bar with options for accessing client organizers, a tax estimator feature, bank products and invoicing.
Within a client return, the program uses both interview-based worksheets and form views for data entry, automatically transferring basic information as new forms and worksheets are added to a client return. FICA taxes for 1040 clients are automatically calculated on W-2 entries, but can be overridden if desired. Additional menus are available with client engagements, including form searching, an expandable federal and state forms list, and icons for moving between summary information, documents, prior year data, import tools, the client organizer, letters, e-filing and review functions. The interview forms are well presented and are intuitive, and the program automatically saves data as it is entered. Users can jump to a form view for review and can override automatically calculated and transferred line entries, but data is best entered on the interview worksheets. Data can also be imported from web-based client organizers.
Orange Door includes support for amended returns and extensions for all federal and state entities, provides simple import of K-1 data and kiddie tax returns, and automatically checks for AMT. It does not offer a simple MFJ/MFS toggle to identify the most advantageous filing status. Unlimited federal and state electronic filing is included for all entities and states that support it. 4.25
Orange Door provides generation of PDF copies of returns and includes email integration, as well as secure client portals and web-based client organizers that allow data to be imported into the system without manual entry. These features allow for paperless collaboration with clients, enabling sharing of documents and final returns, as well as other files such as correspondence. The program includes a document storage system, as well, where users can save files on the vendor’s secure servers and have constant access to the files at any time. File structures can be determined by the tax firm.
The system does not currently offer direct integration with financial institutions for data transfer or with document automation systems, but can be used in conjunction with stand-alone scan and organize programs such as Copanion’s GruntWorx. Orange Door anticipates partnering with such a solution by next year to also provide direct population of tax data (scan and fill). In addition to the ability to email returns and share files via the client portal, Orange Door includes client communication templates with instruction letters and invoices, which can also be emailed through the system, or can be printed. The web-based system includes client-level password protection, allowing firms to grant access to only specific preparers or groups.
The program’s document storage function includes basic features for paperless management of client documents in the original format, including Word, Excel, image files and most other formats, but does not directly provide advanced PDF bookmarking features such as tickmarks, annotation and cross referencing/linking.
In addition to the electronic tax organizers, client data can be imported into the system from the personal financial management website Buxfer, and from CSV formatted files, which allows a two-step output-import function for pulling in trial balance and accounting data from most small business accounting programs. The vendor offers conversion of client data from other tax systems at no charge. 3.5
As client data is entered, it is automatically routed to necessary worksheets and lines, with calculations also applied, but with override capabilities if necessary. As previously noted, the system includes a document management system, has K-1 import from business returns, and data import from CSV format, Buxfer and the electronic client organizers. The program’s export capabilities also offer similar output to formats importable by trial balance and engagement systems. Orange Door includes a tax estimator tool for providing quick, basic projections, but does not offer true tax planning functionality across multiple years. For asset depreciation, the system includes worksheets and summaries.
Orange Door offers bank product services through Refund Advantage, with the ability to have preparation fees deducted from the proceeds of RAL payments. The system does not have other built-in payment acceptance capabilities, although it does provide billing management tools and invoicing. Integration with tax research is not available. Form instructions are accessible from the company’s online support center. 3.5
The program’s interface provides easy-to-understand navigation, with the ability to move quickly between forms, invoicing and portals. The Help utility offers tutorials for common features and engagement tasks, as well as links to state and federal taxing authorities. The Help system does not offer traditional index-based assistance or search functions. Form instructions, a user manual, additional tutorials, and links to chat-based and email support are also available from the online support center, but FAQs and user forums are not offered, nor does the vendor offer formal training options or CPE credits.
Live phone and chat-based support are available during tax season until at least 8:00 p.m. Pacific time during weekdays, and until at least 11:00 p.m. in the final weeks. Phone support can be used by any preparation staff and is initially greeted by an automated routing system, but requires only one step to reach live support staff. Since the program is completely web-based, all form updates, tax law changes and other program enhancements are made by the vendor, with no maintenance required by the firm. 4.25
Executive Summary & Pricing
The primary benefits of Orange Tax Suite Pro are found in its web-based platform, which allows users to easily access the system from anywhere, and lets firms instantly add users as needed. The program’s importable tax organizers, client portals and integrated document storage system offer additional paperless management utility, although it lacks OCR scan and populate options. The program is best suited toward smaller practices and those with remote staff. It can be used as a pay-per-return system, with all of the document management and portal features, for $20 per 1040 and $30 per business entity, inclusive of all associated state returns and e-filing. An unlimited 1040 package is offered for $1,750, or $2,500 for both unlimited individual and all business entities.
2011 Overall Rating 3.75
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