From the January 2012 Review of Tax Document Automation Tools.
Best Firm Fit
Firms using the Lacerte and ProSeries tax programs seeking to reduce the time spent on organizing source documents and data entry.
- The new Pre-Import Review feature provides a side-by-side view of electronic values and images from source documents.
- Direct download provides an easy way for clients to provide W-2 and 1099 information and an accurate way for tax practitioners to import that information.
- With per-return, bundled and unlimited pricing options available, it is a good value for firms with varying volumes of individual income tax returns.
- Only direct integration is with the Lacerte and ProSeries tax and document management programs, although customers can submit from and work with any document management solution.
- Some firms and clients may be hesitant to download information from financial institutions due to security concerns, even though Intuit uses 128-bit encryption and does not store credentials for accessing clients’ online financial accounts.
Tax Import, which integrates with both Lacerte and ProSeries, scans and imports data into the individual income tax modules of the tax applications, operating similarly for both systems. While the Tax Import software is included with both Lacerte and ProSeries, a firm must purchase licenses to use it either individually or in bundles. Intuit has made several improvements from last year’s version, including streamlining the data validation process, making the software more efficient and, most importantly, improving the overall accuracy.
Core Product Functions/Features - 4.5 Stars
The Tax Import features are accessed within menu items in the Lacerte and ProSeries programs. In the client list screen, users can add new status columns for scanned documents and financial institution downloads. The interface is simple and should be intuitive for current Lacerte and ProSeries users.
Tax Import supports direct download of tax information from financial institutions. Several major financial institutions are supported for importing interest, dividend, and stock sale transactions from 1099 forms. This service also supports importing W-2 information from both ADP and Intuit Payroll. Although many firms have successfully implemented downloading data from financial institutions on behalf of their clients, some may have security concerns about the process. Even though Intuit uses 128-bit encryption and does not store credentials for accessing clients’ online financial accounts, concerns about phishing attacks and identity theft may cause some to not use this service.
Unlike some of its competitors, Intuit does not offer an add-in for Adobe Acrobat for rearranging and annotating PDF documents. However, third-party Adobe Acrobat add-ins are compatible with the PDFs it organizes, and users could also use either the Lacerte or ProSeries Document Management System (DMS) for many of the same functions with source documents.
Paperless Workflow - 4.75 Stars
Tax documents are submitted for processing by highlighting the client and selecting “submit scanned documents” from the Tax Import menu. After the documents are processed, they are returned to the tax professional in a bookmarked PDF. Though no turnaround time has been guaranteed (customers were told to expect up to 12 hours), it was approximately 10 minutes for the last tax season. This is the fastest turnaround time among the tax document automation products reviewed where the source documents are uploaded to the vendor for processing. Tax Import extracts data from many recognized IRS forms and consolidated brokerage statements, including stock sales, which can then be imported into the Lacerte and ProSeries tax programs.