TaxSlayer Pro — TaxSlayer Pro Premium
From the May 2012 review of professional tax compliance systems (traditional workflow).
Best Fit: Professionals with mostly 1040 clients, with some need for other entities, who want an inexpensive and easy to use preparation system with bank products and invoicing built in.
The TaxSlayerPro system is designed for tax preparation firms with moderate to high volumes of 1040s and occasional filing of business entity returns. The program includes unlimited e-filing and has integration with many financial institutions for return loan products. TaxSlayerPro also includes advanced features such as e-signature functions, text client alerts and mobile access to reporting and ready-to-use marketing tools. The system took first place in a 2011 survey of members of the National Association of Tax Preparers. The vendor also makes a small business bookkeeping system, with check writer, and offers a web-based W-2/1099 compliance tool.
- All entities at federal and state level, with unlimited e-filing
- Built-in support for bank products, with text-messaging to clients
- Online return backup can act as limited portal
- Smart phone and remote access to firm reporting
- Supports the W-2 barcode scanning to automatically populate inside a return.
- Built-in client invoicing
- Limited tax automation features (scan and populate), but has 2-D barcode scanning
- Interview-only input (view-only on form view)
- Limited tools for multi-preparer collaboration, review
Core Product Functions/Features - 4.5 Stars
Two versions of TaxSlayer are offered, Classic and Premium, with both providing preparation of all entity types (1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 706, 709, 990 and 5500) at the federal level and for all states and Washington, D.C. Users can prepare returns for multi-state individuals, as well as extensions and amended returns, plus support for local income taxes for Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and St Louis). The Premium version adds some document management options, online storage of PDF copies of tax returns, a client tool for self-checking their return status, text messaging to clients, mobile access and marketing tools.
TaxSlayerPro supports multi-state filings, extensions and amended returns, and provides unlimited e-filing of state and federal returns. In addition to the compliance capabilities and depreciation module found in both versions, the Premium bundle also includes PDF generation and document storage, client refund status checking, marketing materials and a mobile reporting management utility.
TaxSlayer opens into an interface that can be navigated heads down or with a mouse, offering four main system areas: Tax Returns, E-File Returns, Print Returns and the Help Center, with each of these offering task specific menus and functions. Preparers can also access business return functions, the client status manager, reporting and system configuration and utilities. Icons at the top of the main screen also give access to some of these features, as well as the appointment scheduler, messaging, client retention tools, publications and a 10-key style calculator with print tape function.
Individual and business returns are maintained in separate client lists, with spreadsheet displays that allow searching by name or SSN, or sorting by several client data options. When a preparer is working on a client return, TaxSlayer’s form-like interview screens help guide users through entry of data by categories for income, deductions, credits, taxes paid and others. Smart selection lists are available for employer and other fields that may be common across multiple client returns. Other preparation tools include a quick MFJ/MFS comparison function, and guidance on AMT issues.
At any time, users can move between the various data entry categories using a menu on the left, or can move directly to associated forms. The system keeps a running display of refund/amount due at the top of the screen, and diagnostic alert messages at the bottom. TaxSlayer includes a ZIP Code database that automatically completes the city and state fields.