Intuit, Inc. - Intuit Lacerte Tax Planner
From the November 2011 Review of Professional Tax Planning programs.
Lacerte Tax Planner can be used as a stand-alone program, but it’s best suited for firms using the Lacerte tax preparation system, providing simple data transfer and a familiar interface.
- Familiar tabbed interface & navigation
- Full integration with Lacerte 1040
- Integration with Document Management System
- Customizable reporting with charts
- Only PDF & text-file output
Designed primarily as an add-on solution for users of the Lacerte Tax 1040 preparation system, the Lacerte Tax Planner provides individual income tax planning functions, with tools for projecting future liabilities across multiple scenarios. The system has built-in projected tax rates, income phase-outs and special taxation rules based on recent tax law changes. The program can also be used as a stand-alone system.
Basic System Functions - 4.75 Stars
When used as a module of the tax compliance system, Lacerte Tax Planner can be opened directly from an icon within that program, offering quick data transfer into the planner. As a stand-alone, it can be opened from the user’s desktop. The program’s primary interface is similar to the preparation program, with an expandable worksheet menu on the left of the screen, and tabbed access to data-entry areas for summary information, income, adjustments, deductions/exemptions, tax, credits, other taxes and payments. The worksheet menu displays all currently active federal and state forms. Additional features enable copying columns and performing percentage-based or fixed amount increases in income fields across years/plans.
The plan information panel, which is also the starting point for creating new client plans, offers another tabbed work screen that allows users to set the number of years of projections, the number of cases per year in the plan, and to enter basic client and dependent data. Across the top of the screen, icons give access to plan information, data import functions, reporting, adding new cases/scenarios, and to the integrated Lacerte Document Management System.
The program’s data-entry features allow users to view and enter data at a top level or to drill down to underlying worksheets, with all calculations automatically applied as data is edited, filing status is changed, or other variables come into effect. Like the tax preparation system, Tax Planner includes a Watch List and Diagnostics features that remain on screen, displaying totals for user-selected fields, and also notifying the professional of overrides, carryover amounts, missing data or conflicts. The system can support any number of clients and concurrent users.
Core Tax Planning Features - 4.5 Stars
Lacerte Tax Planner can be used to produce up to 10 scenarios out to as many as 10 years, with each including multiple cases. It includes tools for quickly performing MFJ/MFS comparisons and various analyses, including by case and year, or based on adjustments and differences. It supports all filing statuses, and offers calculations for determining optimal itemized deductions, exemptions and the effects of AMT, ACG, retirement and lump sum distributions.
Lacerte Tax Planner includes all federal tax laws and rates, including phase-outs and inflation-pegged indexes, along with those for the following states: AZ, CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MA, MN, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR and WI. The program also includes support for NYC, and has a customizable worksheet for other states and local taxes.
Reporting - 4.5 Stars
The reporting features in Lacerte tax Planner are easily accessible from the top menu, and include federal and state summaries, one-page summaries, adjustments, deductions and letters. Users can customize headers, footers, displayed data and other information, and a built-in graph tool makes it easy to add visual elements for client-ready reports. The reporting functions also offer customizable client letter templates.