To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with CPA Practice Advisor. Already have an account? Login
Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.
Complete the registration form.
Thomson Reuters — Planner CS
From the October 2012 review of professional tax planning systems.
Best Fit: Although it can be used as a stand-alone program, Planner CS provides the greatest benefit to users of UltraTax CS and other programs in the Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite due to tight integration with tax preparation, research, document management, portals and other functions.
- Built-in tax code for federal and all taxing states
- Direct integration with tax, document management, portals
- Comprehensive calculations and analysis features
- Can produce any number of years of projections
- Strong customization and graphical elements on reports
- Limited data integration from external programs
Planner CS offers a comprehensive planning system that allows for the creation of any number of years of projections for individual income taxes, and offers a host of utilities and functions for finding the most beneficial taxation scenarios.
The system includes all federal and state tax codes and regulations, including phase-outs and anticipated changes, and provides excellent reporting functions. The system can be integrated with UltraTax CS and other CS Professional Suite programs for tax preparation, practice management, document management and portals for client collaboration.
Basic System Functions: 5 Stars
Users access Planner CS through the main CS Professional Suite interface, and then it opens into a screen that serves as a user-customizable home page that displays recently worked on client tax plans, and also offers links to guides, research, system default settings, report templates and other functions. The system can be used to manage any number of clients and can be licensed for use by any number of staff.
When setting up new clients, data can be imported from other programs in the CS Professional Suite, such as UltraTax CS and NetClient CS. When entering new clients manually, a multi-tabbed screen guides users through the processes of entering basic client data, selecting the number of years that will be planned for, as well as setting resident and non-resident state information.
The planning screens in the program use a spreadsheet style that shows all years side by side for each of the scenarios/cases, with data entry rows and selection lists for inputting information for filing status, various income types, adjustments, exemptions, credits, deductions and other data.
Fields are automatically calculated as data is entered or edited, displaying the resulting effect throughout all years of the plan. Overrides can be made by authorized users, with the system providing a log of such actions. Additional security features include locking of files while in use, and password protection of client plans and data.
Users can move through tabs to get to detailed data entry screens and worksheets, including capital gains and losses, farm income, retirement distributions, dividends and interest. Additional navigation options make it easy to move to tax projections, carryforwards and AMT. The program’s Watch Windows serve as dashboards, offering top level information on key tax areas.
Core Tax Planning Features: 5 Stars
Planner CS can be used to create projections for any number of years, with each having as many as 50 scenarios each. The system has an extensive collection of tools for preparing, analyzing and presenting tax plans to clients. The system includes all current, past and anticipated future tax laws, phase-outs and phase-ins, plus inflation-pegged factors.
The previously noted Watch Windows are a great tool for keeping an eye on key elements, such as AMT or total tax liability, while testing scenario advantages. Users can also determine estimated tax payments and withholding, and can quickly see the effects of filing status changes, apply incremental changes to income based on a fixed amount or incremental percentage.