2011 Review of CCH Small Firm Services — ATX & TaxWise Payroll Compliance Reporting

CCH Small Firm Services - ATX & TaxWise Payroll Compliance Reporting


From the Oct. 2011 Review of W-2 & 1099 Compliance Systems.

Best Fit: Small and mid-sized tax and accounting practices seeking to broaden their client services by offering year-end compliance, particularly those using solutions from CCH Small Firm Services for tax preparation and write-up.


  • Integration with professional tax package.
  • Strong federal & state support, including e-filing.
  • Library of more than 500 local & 1,200 misc state forms.
  • Good client management views & oversight.
  • Excellent support & training options.

Potential Limitations:

  • Client invoicing is through tax package.


CCH Small Firm Services, which develops both the ATX and TaxWise tax compliance products, also offers two programs focused on year-end and quarterly information compliance: the W-2/1099 system and the Payroll Compliance Reporting system, which is reviewed here. The two systems include W-2 and 1099 preparation and paper or electronic compliance, while the more comprehensive Payroll Compliance Reporting solution also includes state and local compliance capabilities.

Basic System Functions (4.5 Stars)

The Payroll Compliance Reporting system can be used as a stand-alone program or in conjunction with the ATX or TaxWise systems. The system features integration with the ATX software, allowing data to move between the programs as necessary. This also decreases setup time when basic client/payer EIN and other information is already present as a tax client. Integration with the vendor’s Client Accounting Suite is also offered. Other installation and setup functions are intuitive and guided by program wizards.

Payroll Compliance Reporting is designed for tax and accounting firms managing these processes for any number of client payers, each with any number of form recipients. It can be used by up to three concurrent staff, or the same number as are licensed on the firm’s tax program. The program is designed to be installed locally on either workstations or networked servers.

The primary interface includes pull-down lists and icon menus, as well as tabbed access to management functions. Work screens provide simplified navigation between employees, contractors and other form type recipients, and users can duplicate recipient information when creating new ones. Data can be imported or, for manual entry, the program provides form-based, interview-mode worksheets along with a spreadsheet-based input screen for heads-down data entry. A client management overview and selection screen gives sort and filter options, and in general, the program offers streamlined access across data that makes managing multiple entities efficient.

Reporting (4.5 Stars)

Payroll Compliance Reporting includes unlimited free e-filing of all versions of 1099s and W-2s (including versions for Guam, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa) using the federal/state combined method. Also included is preparation and electronic filing of federal quarterly and annual wage reporting (forms 940, 941 and 944). The system can also generate fileable print versions of all of these, along with Forms W-3 and 1096. Forms can be printed either on preformatted stock or on plain paper, and the system can produce W-2s for multi-state employees. Additional compliance capabilities include Forms 1098, 1098C, 1098E, 1098T, 5498 and W-2G. The system includes compliance capabilities for all states, with more than 1,200 state withholding, unemployment and registration forms, plus more than 500 local forms.

Payroll Compliance Reporting integrates with the billing and receivables utilities in the ATX tax program, which also offers expanded client communication and management reporting options. Batch printing of a single entity’s recipient copies is available, but not across multiple clients at the same time. Forms and reports can be saved as PDFs, which can be password protected for email distribution of client copies. CCH Small Firm Services does not provide outsourced print/mail services.

Import/Export Capabilities (4.25 Stars)

The Payroll Compliance Reporting system enables import of data from QuickBooks, Sage Peachtree or the Small Firm Services’ Client Accounting Suite. It can export to CSV and spreadsheet formats for use by most financial systems. The program does not offer client or recipient portals for self-service functions.

Help/Support (5 Stars)

Payroll Compliance Reporting includes the usual index-based Help utility, along with line-specific Help and access to form instructions, built-in guides and tutorials. The support website provides FAQs, a learning center and knowledgebase, and training options that includes access to ATX and TaxWise University for extended training and CPE options. An online user community is also available. Updates can be downloaded from the vendor’s website or the program can be set to automatically check for and install updates as they are available. Live and web-based support is included at no additional cost.

Summary & Pricing

Payroll Compliance Reporting is best designed for small and mid-sized firms that want to add year-end information reporting to their client services. It can also be used as a stand-alone product. The system integrates well with the vendor’s ATX tax software and offers import from QuickBooks and Sage Peachtree. It also offers comprehensive forms support at the federal and state levels with e-filing included. Payroll Compliance Reporting costs $349 per year. 

2011 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars


Product Delivery Methods:

_X_ On-Premises

___ SaaS

_X_ Hosted by Vendor