Drake Software - Drake Tax Planner
[This article appeared with the November 2011 Review of Professional Tax Planning programs.]
While most other tax software developers offer tax planning for an additional annual fee, Drake Software has gone with an all-inclusive approach to its entire professional tax compliance suite. The suite provides 1040, 1040NR, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 706, 709, 990 and 990PF preparation, support for all states with income taxes, and unlimited e-filing. It also includes document management, write-up and the Drake Tax Planner.
Drake Tax Planner automatically pulls prior-year client data from returns, and then helps develop multi-year scenario-based tax planning that can identify the effects of variables on a client’s tax liabilities, including capital gains taxes and AMT. It also offers calculations and tools based on current tax law, income limitations and phase-outs that can give professionals better insight for the guidance they give their clients with regard to the best way to implement lump-sum distributions, retirement income, asset sales and retirement savings.
Drake Tax Planner can be opened from within a client’s tax files, or separately, with an interface built on Excel. It provides planning for up to seven years for all filing statuses. Easy-to-use data-entry screens allow users to quickly build scenarios with variations in income, deductions, dependents, retirement information and other factors. Data can be entered on summary or detailed sheets, with the program then calculating projections for regular tax, AMT, credits, other taxes and estimated payments, with the option to print estimated payment vouchers.
The Entire Drake Software professional tax suite, which includes the planner, preparation for all entities, document management, write-up and many other features, costs $1,495 for new users, with discounted renewals. The tax suite includes compliance for all taxing entities and all states with unlimited e-filing and diagnostics, plus includes write-up, practice management, free marketing tools and optional electronic payment methods such as debit cards. Drake also provides free website hosting to firms using their software.