CCH Small Firm Services also offers PaperlessPLUS Premier, which pairs the PaperlessPLUS system with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) scanning technology. Premier Scan automatically organizes all scanned documents into a single PDF and stores it inside the client’s folder. The system also reads 2D barcodes on W-2 and K-1 forms as well as data on most W-2s and 1099s without barcodes. Recognized data can be directly imported into a return in ATX, with no manual entry required. ATX does not offer client portals or web-based tax organizers.
In addition to the email feature in the PaperlessPLUS system, other client communication functions include customizable templates for instructions, cover letters and invoicing.
Integration - 4.5 Stars
All data in the various compliance modules in ATX are stored in a database that allows the information to flow into related returns and documents, as well as the communication and invoicing tools. Preparers can import W-2 and 1099 data from Peachtree, QuickBooks and Excel. Schedule D transactions can also be imported using a CSV format. The system does not offer direct import of tax information from financial institutions or third-party payroll service providers.
The core ATX tax system includes basic depreciation capabilities, with more advanced functions available through the Fixed Asset Manager program offered as an optional add-on. These features include multiple books per asset, support for traditional and custom depreciation methods and various disposal options. Other optional accounting modules, include Trial Balance, Payroll and Payroll Compliance, and Client Accounting Suite, which offers a small business bookkeeping alternative to off-the-shelf software. ATX includes a basic tax planner to project multi-year tax estimates.
For tax research, firms have access to the online IntelliConnect system (included with the MAX package), which provides libraries of primary source materials for tax and accounting, such as the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations, rulings and court cases, in addition to news, advice and practice tools. Firms can also access the CCH Master Tax Guide, CCH’s Tax Handbooks, the Federal Tax Day, state research options and TaxTalk. Research options are also integrated into the program, with right-click menu access to instructions and information.
Other integration options include the ability to offer clients their tax refund proceeds on debit cards, with or without using a loan, as well as bank products from several institutions, such as electronic refund checks. Firms can also have their fees deducted from client refunds, and the built-in AR module offers credit card payment acceptance.
Help/Support - 4.5 Stars
The built-in help features in ATX include a full user manual, the interview guide, quick access to line-by-line instructions, QuickTutors and right-click menu options. ATX’s online support center provides FAQs, an online community, program updates (which can be set to automatically update), and access to ATX University which hosts multiple training courses and tools for managing staff training. Many of the free training options are eligible for CPE credit.
Phone and web-based support is included with system pricing, with all staff based in the U.S. Live support during tax season is available from 8am to 10pm (ET), and on Saturdays from 9am to 6pm.
Summary & Pricing
The core tax compliance, e-filing and practice management functions in ATX are easy to learn and use, with options that can aid novice users or more professional preparers. The comprehensive system receives added value from the optional accounting and workflow tools, including PaperlessPLUS. ATX also offers good research and training options.
Pricing for ATX packages starts at $520 for 1040s and three states. The most comprehensive package, MAX, is $1,249, which includes W-2/1099 compliance, payroll reporting, tax research and free, unlimited electronic filing The system is also available on a pay-per-return basis with a $199 annual fee and prepayment of $300 for the first 15 returns.