BNA Software — 706 Preparer & 709 Preparer

Related article, from the April/May 2010 Section on Professional Tax Systems.

BNA is widely known for its research solutions, offering integration with some of the income tax compliance programs included in this review section, but also available as stand-alone resources. In addition to its research offerings, the vendor is one of the most respected when it comes to tax, wealth and estate planning; fixed asset management; and corporate tax auditing and planning.

While many professional tax compliance suites include estate and gift tax preparation modules, the BNA 706 and 709 Preparer systems are the most comprehensive and powerful, and many users of other income tax software turn to these systems for their much more specialized capabilities, including calculations for all states and decoupled states, complex computational features, and time-saving efficiency tools.

The estate tax return preparation system helps automate much of the compliance process, providing a calculation engine that simplifies determining interrelated marital and charitable deductions, including charitable trusts (CLATs, CRATs, CLUTs, CRUTs) and pooled income funds. The system offers a calculation wizard to help professionals select the appropriate treatments. The system can also handle zero federal tax situations, automatically calculating the minimum marital bequest. Other features and functions include GST, ratio calculations, community property back-outs, and multiple residuary beneficiaries for states with inheritance taxes.

The BNA 706 Preparer offers customizable return templates and sets, plus an optional New York preparation module. It offers securities data import from third-party valuation programs. It can be configured to automatically update Sec. 7520 interest rates. The BNA 706 Preparer costs $730 for an initial single-user license.

The gift tax system is designed to save time and increase accuracy while preparing returns, offering an intuitive interface, streamlined client communication functions and return reporting. The program simplifies gift splits and provides tools importing gift information from a spouse return, while also supporting generation-skipping transfers (GSTs) and marital deductions, with the sum of gifts presented on Schedule A.

The BNA 709 Preparer offers all related schedules and forms, including 56, 2350, 2848, 4868, 8275, 8275-R, 8821 and 8892, transferring data between forms and automatically populating fields as necessary. It maintains detailed gift histories, which can be transferred into subsequent returns. The system offers a donee worksheet and automated letters, and provides an annual exclusions report that shows how the limitation of the annual exclusion is applied. Users can create customized templates and return sets. The BNA 709 Preparer costs $450 for an initial single-user license.

The estate and gift tax preparation programs provide strong Help utilities, line-specific instructions, task-based Help and diagnostic tools. Online support resources include access to FAQs, user guides, training resources and program updates. Live support is free for users of the current-year versions of the programs.