Intuit to Announce Web-Based Professional Tax Prep?

Is the maker of QuickBooks and TurboTax about to release an online tax preparation system for professionals? Maybe.

Rich Walker, Intuit’s corporate communications director for the professional accounting market, used his Facebook page on Sunday night to tease the accounting community with a post that said: “Intuit innovates again with a new, web-based application for accounting and tax pros. Details coming soon.”

Intuit is the technology company behind many of the best-known financial management programs, including Quicken and QuickBooks. What most consumers aren't aware of, however, is that the company also develops software for use by tax and accounting professionals who aid individuals and small businesses.

The QuickBooks line of bookkeeping products includes a Premier version for accounting professionals. The company also offers two product lines for tax preparers, ProSeries and Lacerte, which account for nearly 40% of the professional market, with other notables including Drake Software, UltraTax CS and GoSystem from Thomson Reuters, and the ATX, TaxWise and ProSystem fx Tax systems from CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business.

While Intuit has not provided details on its pending announcement and could not be reached on Sunday evening, The CPA Technology Advisor's editor, Isaac M. O'Bannon, predicted that Intuit would soon offer such a product in his July 2009 column (at www.cpata.com/go/2403). Through its print edition, website and blog, The CPA Technology Advisor is the primary technology-focused media source for the tax and accounting professions.

O'Bannon noted that the professional market is more than ready to fully adapt web-based tax preparation.

"UltraTax CS was the first to offer an online system for professionals and they, along with the Global fx-enabled version of CCH's ProSystem fx Tax, have generally controlled the market for mid-sized and larger firms wanting an online tax prep system," he said. For the largest practices, the The Thomson Reuters GoSystem ES system has long provided a professional web-based solution, but if Intuit, with a very large number of smaller and mid-sized practices using ProSeries and Lacerte, announces a web-based tax prep system, it may dramatically change the market."

Intuit is expected to make an announcement regarding this on Wednesday, Aug. 26.

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