2014 Review of Thomson Reuters GoSystem Tax RS

GoSystem Tax RS is among the most sophisticated tax compliance systems currently serving the accounting profession.  Solely offered as an Internet-based solution, GoSystem Tax RS is fully scalable to meet the needs of medium size firms and larger and offers a reliable platform to handle large data sets.  New for the current release is a new Microsoft Excel mapping tool and the start of a multi-year project that aims to unify all data entry screens.

BEST FIRM FIT

Larger accounting practices or firms focusing specifically on high net-worth individuals

STRENGTHS

  • Capabilities provided to process returns when offline
  • Support for nearly every tax situation and return type
  • Multi-user simultaneous access
  • Excel Add-In tool doubles as direct data import and workpaper

POTENTIAL WEAKNESSES

  • Interface may be difficult for new users, although efforts are currently underway to mitigate this

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Full Review:

GoSystem Tax RS is among the most sophisticated tax compliance systems currently serving the accounting profession.  Solely offered as an Internet-based solution, GoSystem Tax RS is fully scalable to meet the needs of medium size firms and larger and offers a reliable platform to handle large data sets.  New for the current release is a new Microsoft Excel mapping tool and the start of a multi-year project that aims to unify all data entry screens.

Core Product Functions/Features: 5 Stars

GoSystem Tax RS includes every form required to complete individual, business, trust and non-profit returns.  Unique to GoSystem is the ability to process multi-tiered organizations and tax equalization calculations.

GoSystem Tax RS is only offered as an Internet-based solution and, due to a reliance on ActiveX, requires a current version of Internet Explorer for access.  Though users access GoSystem Tax RS through Internet Explorer, a small client-side program is still required, which provides users with the most recent program features and updates.

The opening screen was significantly enhanced in the prior year, but minor enhancements were added for the current release.  The home page continues to be the starting point for users and prominently displays any IRS electronic filing system issues, current forms availability and new features and update release information. 

Several new reports were recently added based on user feedback and requests.  An audit history report is now available for each client file.  This report details which employee accessed the client file, when it was accessed and how long the client file was accessed.  The video library was also expanded over the past year to include even more short self-help options.  Most videos are geared to new users and are short in length and focused on specific topics.  All reports and videos are accessible through the opening home screen.

The GoSystem Tax RS programming team is currently in the process of regenerating all tax module interfaces.  The current goal is to mirror all data entry worksheets and to create consistency across all return entity types.  This process should result in a lower learning curve for new users and is expected to be completed over the next 12-18 months.

Program enhancements were made to account for updates due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  A more streamlined approach is taken for same-sex filers who file a joint federal return, but must continue filing single returns for states.  GoSystem Tax RS fully maintains the federal return but appropriately separates the state returns based on return input options.

Multiple users can simultaneously access a client return and work on different areas of the return without overwriting other user data.  Since the application is browser-based, users may also work on multiple years or client files at the same time, with each file in a separate window and/or monitor.

Another new item is expanded letter and filing instruction functionality.  Users are now provided more granular letter control for specific clients.  FBAR electronic filing is now supported, but is still pending final form approval from the Treasury Department’s FinCEN department.

Integration: 5 Stars

GoSystem Tax RS is part of the CS Professional Suite and has direct import capabilities from most of the products in the lineup.  New for the current year is trial balance integration with AdvanceFlow, a cloud based audit management tool.

GoSystem Tax RS provides integration points for a select number of third-party solutions.  Currently, EMC Documentum, SurePrep, Copanion, BNA and Intacct all have direct import capabilities to the software.  This provides users of these vendor products a continued high level of efficiency for their tax processing.

Users currently subscribed to Checkpoint research or PPC Deskbooks can directly link to relevant tax guidance through a shortcut link located on the toolbar.  The underlying research options are dynamic and will change based on the field, input worksheet and tax form currently in view.  A shortcut link is also provided for e-Forms RS, a separately available solution which provides users with nearly all available federal, state and local tax forms.  Though the form list inside e-Forms RS is substantial, many of the included forms are non-calculating and will require a large amount of user input.

Paperless Workflow: 5 Stars

Each form data entry field has an arrow that directs users to the underlying data input worksheet.  This provides reviewers a clear audit trail of all calculated numbers.  Newly added is the inclusion of electronic filing PDF attachments in a print or preview of the tax return, which may greatly assist in return review.

GoSystem Tax RS diagnostics are thorough and include caution, information and electronic filing diagnostic messages.  Many of the diagnostic messages are dynamically linked to the underlying input worksheet or form.  All returns are compared against IRS requirements before submission and any data that does not meet the requirements is identified so potential errors can be fixed.

Newly available for partnership and corporate returns is a Microsoft Excel add-in tool that allows firms to map Excel cells directly to GoSystem Tax RS organizer input fields.  Several pre-made templates are available, but firms may use this tool to create custom templates that can then be used across multiple clients without additional setup.  These templates can also double as tax workpapers, which may reduce the need to have a separate import interface.

Remote Capabilities: 5 Stars

GoSystem Tax RS is an ideal solution for larger firms with multiple locations.  As a fully Internet hosted product for over 10 years, GoSystem Tax RS enables users to store, access, and share data and tax applications from anywhere with an Internet connection.  Currently, there are no limits to the number of users or type of returns that can be processed through GoSystem Tax RS.

All system updates are delivered automatically with little user intervention.  Occasionally, users will need to download a small program interface file to receive full benefits of these updates.  As a remote solution, extensive measures are taken to ensure all data is secure and high levels of encryption are used when entering and transmitting data.

GoSystem Tax RS may also be accessed without an Internet connection through RS To-Go.  This application is available to users and is useful in situations where internet connectivity is limited or not available.  RS To-Go features a similar interface as GoSystem Tax RS which should allow users to efficiently continue work on returns.  The application allows returns to be checked out and temporarily locked on the online platform.  Once changes have been made and adequate internet connectivity is available, the file and all changes are then uploaded to the online platform.

Summary & Pricing

GoSystem Tax RS is an Internet-based solution that offers a secure environment that can be scaled according to your business needs.  GoSystem Tax RS is primarily designed for firms focusing on high net worth individuals, returns with a high degree of complexity and multi-tiered consolidations, but can also handle simple returns with a high level of speed and accuracy.  Pricing for GoSystem Tax RS is primarily dependent upon the number of users and client returns to process.  A starter pack is offered for $4,000 and includes the ability for up to 4 users to fully process and file up to 20 returns.

BEST FIRM FIT

Larger accounting practices or firms focusing specifically on high net-worth individuals

STRENGTHS

  • Capabilities provided to process returns when offline
  • Support for nearly every tax situation and return type
  • Multi-user simultaneous access
  • Excel Add-In tool doubles as direct data import and workpaper

POTENTIAL WEAKNESSES

  • Interface may be difficult for new users, although efforts are currently underway to mitigate this

2014 Overall Rating: 5 Stars

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