LexisNexis — Tax Center

From the Jan. 2009 Review of Tax Research Systems

LexisNexis is one of the world’s largest electronic content providers to accounting, legal and government professionals, offering more than five billion searchable documents from more than 40,000 legal, news and business sources. Among the company’s services is the LexisNexis Tax Center, which is offered in versions for Law Firms and for Corporate & Professional (C&P) users. This review focuses on the C&P system, which provides features and capabilities more specific to the needs of tax practitioners. Tax Center is similar for Corporate and Legal markets; the difference is in some content access due to licensing restrictions, but there are no functionality differences) The tax research system is web-based and includes primary source material such as cases, codes, regulation and tax news, along with analysis, insight, commentary and guidance, with the ability to search across all areas simultaneously.

The basic menu for Tax Center starts at $60 per two users per month ($720 annually), but overall pricing is contingent upon content subscriptions selected by users and the number of seats. Pricing is also dependent on discounts (the $60 price is before any discounts that may be given to customers.) Tax Center is also available through the Taxation Area of Law tab or Transactional Advisor tab on www.lexis.com.

Tax Center’s browser interface opens to the Federal Research tab unless the user has set his preferences to default to another tab including a customizable My Tax Center homepage, which is among the primary feature/program area tabs housed at the top of the screen. These also include tabs for Research (which includes Federal, State and International tax) Get a Document, access to Shepard’s Citations Service, Tax News and Tax Forms. Most of the system’s advanced document retrieval features are available from the Research tab, which provides a multi-tabbed screen that houses a search field at the top with options for using terms and connectors or natural language queries, plus the ability to restrict re-turned documents by date. This Research screen provides additional tabs for selecting Federal, State, International, Accounting & SEC, Tax Topics or all sources on the A to Z Source List.

While on the primary Research screen and with the sub tab for Federal selected, users can select specific areas of federal taxation to search, or can drill down to primary source documents, opinion, analysis and guidance. Users can select full areas or combine multiple documents from different areas in their searches. Alternatively, users can click on one of the sources and view the entire document in table of contents format. Within a specific document, users still have full search capabilities, in addition to search and filter functions specific to the document. An additional selection of tabs is available further down the Research screen for the selection of Analytical Sources, including options for General, Business Entity, Estate/Gift/Trust, Exempt Orgs., Pensions & Benefits, IRS Practice & Procedures, and Specialized Tax Planning.

When viewing returned documents in Tax Center’s Tax Advisor library, the system provides a left-hand expandable navigation menu for moving between the source documents with returned hits, while the main work area displays a selected document and offers the ability to scroll between documents. Tax Advisor includes easy, one-click access to code-specific materials including proposed, final and temporary regulations, code-specific explanations, treatises and law reviews, legislative history, recent cases and news. Additional text-based links offer the ability to print, download, e-mail or view a text-only version of the document. With the text of the returned documents, citations and other sources are hyperlinked, providing instant access to related materials.

CONTENT - 5 Stars
Tax Center houses an extensive collection of primary materials and analysis from LexisNexis and from leading information providers to the tax and accounting profession, such as Kleinrock, BNA and CCH. These include the Tax Advisor Federal Code and Tax Advisor Federal Topical from LexisNexis, which offer a combination of content and research-specific functionality. Tax Advisor Federal Code was described in the previous section, while Tax Advisor Federal Topical is essentially a comprehensive tax encyclopedia with nearly 40 volumes and 500 chapters of expert analysis on all major areas of federal tax law, supported by thousands of practical tips and examples. Also available through Tax Center is the Standard Federal Tax Reporter and Tax Research Consultant from CCH, Kleinrock’s TaxExpert Analysis & Explanation, and expert guidance and opinion from BNA, Tax Analysts, Matthew Bender, Wiley, Aspen and Shepard’s Citations Service.

These are in addition to a comprehensive library of federal, state and local regulations, tax code, pending legislation, court cases, penalties, treaties, GAAP and IFRS accounting standards, and FASB/GASB content. A broad selection of state resources is also available. For tax and legislation news that may affect clients, Tax Center offers Federal Tax Day, Daily Tax Report and Tax Notes Today, as well as articles and briefs from sources such as Kiplinger’s Tax Letter, the New York Times and others.

The primary user interface includes the customizable My Tax Center screen, which can be set up by users to provide access to frequently used materials and documents. The system saves search histories, which allows professionals to re-use queries, while Tax Center’s Alerts feature can be set to automatically perform searches across news or selected libraries at predetermined schedules, helping keep users notified of potential items of interest.

Tax Center does not directly integrate with professional tax compliance packages, but does offer the ability to save returned documents into multiple formats, including Word, PDF and WordPerfect. Users can also e-mail documents from within the system.

SUPPORT - 4.5 Stars
In addition to a traditional Help function, the LexisNexis Tax Center offers content-specific guidance, including a Show Me feature for many search processes. The LexisNexis support website provides additional self-help and assistance options, such as FAQs and training options. In addition, users can access 24/7 live and web-based technical support, which is included in the product pricing.

2009 OVERALL RATING: overall rating