Intuit, Inc. — Tax Import for Lacerte and ProSeries
From the January 2013 review of Tax Document Automation systems.
Best Fit: Tax-focused practices using Lacerte or ProSeries, who want an automated method of creating organized PDF workpapers from client source documents, as well as direct download of W-2 and 1099 data from financial institutions.
- Dual optical character recognition process increases reliability of data imports
- Pre-Import Review feature simplifies data verification, providing side-by-side view of extracted data and scanned source documents
- Direct download from financial institutions provides even greater data accuracy and speeds up process of getting clients to provide source documents
- Per-return, bundled and unlimited pricing options enable firms to use it as needed.
- Directly integrates only with Lacerte and ProSeries tax (and their respective document management systems)
Tax Import is an add-on available for users of either the Lacerte or ProSeries professional tax systems, giving firms an automated way to import client data from scanned pdfs, or directly from banks or payroll processors, into the 1040 return. Tax Import includes optical character recognition (OCR) technology that initially identifies the form type, so that it can properly place it in the bookmarked electronic binder. It then verifies and imports the source data directly into the appropriate places within the client’s return. Another feature is that Tax Import enables downloading of client 1099 transaction data and payroll information directly from the client’s banks and payroll processors through a secure read-only interface that empowers the client to authorize the download without providing their protected passwords.
Core Product Functions/Features: 4.5 Stars
Links to the Tax Import features are already built into both Lacerte and ProSeries, and use intuitive screens that are the same in functionality as those systems. To actually use Tax Import the user simply selects a client, then accesses Tax Import under the ‘Import menu’ within their Lacerte or ProSeries tax software. They can pay either on a per-return basis or for bundled volumes of returns . However, Lacerte Federal 1040 Unlimited, ProSeries 1040 Complete, PowerTax Lite or PowerTax Library customers get Tax Import use for 25 returns free.
The client lists in each program allow users to add new status columns for client documents that have been scanned in, as well as for those that have been downloaded from financial institutions.
Intuit has partnered with two dozen of the largest financial institutions, allowing firms to quickly download and import client interest, dividend, and stock sale transaction data from 1099 forms. Tax Import includes built-in security and client permission systems that use bank-level encryption on all data. It does not store any customer logins or identifying data.
The PDF workpapers created by the system are organized and bookmarked, but do not offer the ability to edit and annotate, but the ProSeries and Lacerte Document Management Systems both include such functionality and several third-party Adobe Acrobat add-ins can be used.
Paperless Workflow: 4.25 Stars
To start the process, users simply select the client and pick the scanned document to be imported from the browser. Upon selecting the client’s scanned pdf, the user then electronically submits the document to Tax Import for processing; data does not leave the US, and no humans come into contact with the data. When Tax Import processing is completed, the user is notified and then use a reviewer tool to verify all of the imported data is accurate before completing the data import. Intuit typically returns data in less than 20 minutes, but states that last tax season the process took approximately 10 minutes per engagement, regardless of the number of client source documents.
As a part of the digital workpaper process, Tax Import extracts client data from most common IRS forms, as well as from consolidated brokerage statements, including stock sales. This data can then be imported into a client’s return in Lacerte or ProSeries. As noted previously, the Direct Download feature allows for secure downloading of client information directly from two dozen financial institutions, with client authorization.
To help ensure data accuracy, the system includes a Pre-Import Review function that lets users verify and edit the data scanned in during OCR processing. A side-by-side screen shows the data alongside the scanned source document. The Pre-Import Review also lets the user select the specific form and issuer from proforma information from the prior year if the program is unable to match it up automatically, eliminating the possibility of duplicates being created in the program. Additionally, within both the Lacerte and ProSeries tax systems, input fields show imported text in green, making it easy to spot and verify.
Integration: 4.5 Stars
Tax Import only offers direct integration with Lacerte and ProSeries, and their respective document management systems. The Direct Download financial institution feature is also well integrated, and allows users to securely e-mail clients directly from the tax program in order to request secure authorization.
Help/Support/Training: 4.25 Stars
Since Tax Import is directly built into the tax programs, help functions are accessed through those systems. Intuit’s online Resource Center includes FAQs, how-tos, short videos, user documentation and an online user community. Live support is included with the tax programs.
Summary & Pricing
Tax Import provides good PDF workpaper generation and has the fasted reported turn-around times for completed documents. The Direct Download feature also has good potential for saving firms time, by speeding up the time it takes to get client documents.
Pricing is based on the number of client returns the system is used for. For Lacerte users, pricing for up to 25 returns is $199 (about $8 per return). Up to 50 returns is $399; 150 returns is $999; and an unlimited use license is $1,499. For ProSeries users, pricing is: $149 for 25 returns; $299 for 50 returns; $499 for 100 returns and $999 for unlimited returns.