Paperless Workflow - 3.5 Stars
TaxSlayer’s Premium package offers several tools designed to streamline workflow, including the PaperCut paperless office utility. Papercut provides PDF output and storage of tax returns, client source documents, management reporting and e-file reports, and offers encrypted emailing of returns to clients from within the program. The system does not have an automated “scan and organize” digital workpaper solution, but the document management capabilities will provide relief to smaller firms.
Another included tool is the PDF Vault, which also serves to reduce workload by offering a secure online backup system that stores tax returns and doubles as a simplified portal, providing client access their own completed returns online. Clients cannot upload files nor are web-based client organizers offered. TaxSlayer’s online and mobile tools allow firm management to access reports such as revenue, volume, client management and bank product reports, and the Tax Office Assistant can be set to automatically send texts to clients to let them know when their refund loan or other proceeds are ready. Free client data conversion is offered to new firms.
Integration - 3.75 Stars
TaxSlayer uses a single database that shares information between related forms and schedules, and also builds smart lists of information that may be used by future clients, such as employer EIN and contact information. The system allows K-1 import from business to individual returns, but does not offer spreadsheet import of Schedule D data. Multi-year tax planning is not available, but a built-in asset management utility does offer basic depreciation functions.
The software has built-in integration with several financial institutions, giving preparers the ability to quickly offer clients refund anticipation loans, checks and debit card disbursals of refunds, plus the ability to withhold preparation fees from refunds. The system offers IRS form instructions and guides, and free access to TheTaxLibrary, a web-based tax research system from the developers of TheTaxBook. Data can only be imported from the TaxSlayer Books small business bookkeeping program, which also features check writing and payroll capabilities.
Help/Support - 4.5 Stars
TaxSlayer is easy to use and includes right-click menu choices throughout the program that allow preparers to quickly access the appointment scheduler, instructions, help, the calculator and other features. A full printed user manual is included with the program, and is also available in PDF format, along with tutorial videos and links to state and federal taxing authorities. TaxSlayer’s online support options include FAQs, installation and maintenance guides, how-tos and help topics, plus an online user forum. Updates can be set to automatically download from the vendor.
For new preparers, the www.TaxSlayerPro.com website offers information on getting started, beginning with advice on registering for an EFIN and PTIN, competency testing, continuing education and e-filing requirements. The application also provides guidance for states with their own specific preparer registration requirements.
Live support is included with the program with all staff based in the U.S. During tax season, support hours are 8 am to 10 pm (ET) on weekdays, from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, and on Sundays between noon and 4 pm. A hosted or web-based version of TaxSlayer Pro is not available, but firms may be able to provide more robust remote access through a third party hosting service provider.
Summary & Pricing
For new tax preparers, firms who ramp up with temporary staff during tax season, or those with unskilled data entry staff, TaxSlayer Pro offers a very intuitive workflow where novices can be proficient quickly, yet still providing comprehensive capabilities for more seasoned tax preparers. The Premium version includes document management, online client self-access to completed returns, text messaging and mobile access to management reports, and its integration with several bank products. Both products are a good fit for tax firms focusing on high volumes of 1040 clients. TaxSlayer Pro Premium costs $1,295 for any number of users in an office; TaxSlayer Pro Classic is priced at $995. Renewal discounts are available for returning customers.