2014 Review of Intuit ProSeries Tax

ProSeries Tax is the mid-tier tax software solution offered by Intuit.  ProSeries Tax is designed as an affordable tax software solution to assist tax practitioners with processing returns quickly.  New for the current year are significant updates to the electronic filing functionality and a complete overhaul on PDF capabilities.

BEST FIRM FIT

Small to medium-sized practices and sole practitioners who focus primarily on tax and have low to medium complex returns

STRENGTHS

  • Simple interface allowing data entry directly on tax forms
  • Integration points with QuickBooks and TurboTax
  • Direct scan data import option, though at a separate charge

POTENTIAL WEAKNESSES

  • Very few review tools in place
  • No easy remote access option provided

 

Click "Continue Reading" below to see the full review.

Full Review:

ProSeries Tax is the mid-tier tax software solution offered by Intuit.  ProSeries Tax is designed as an affordable tax software solution to assist tax practitioners with processing returns quickly.  New for the current year are significant updates to the electronic filing functionality and a complete overhaul on PDF capabilities.

Core Product Functions/Features: 4.5 Stars

ProSeries Tax is currently offered in two distinct product levels – ProSeries Professional and ProSeries Basic.  ProSeries Professional is geared towards accounting practices focusing on high volume and a wide array of return types, while ProSeries Basic is designed for entry-level professionals generally processing simple tax returns.  ProSeries Basic also offers more step-by-step guidance to aid the tax preparation process.  The below review focuses solely on ProSeries Professional unless otherwise noted.

ProSeries Tax is navigated through a form list on the left side of the screen with all data entry occupying the remainder.  At the top of the screen are specific areas for help and assistance with one of the areas dedicated to specific information and instructions for the data entry worksheet currently in view.  A refund/balance due indicator is located in the information screen title bar and is updated as data is entered throughout the return. 

All data entry for ProSeries Tax is accomplished through what Intuit dubs Smart Worksheets.  These Smart Worksheets are designed to mitigate multiple tiers of navigation to and from the main tax forms.  This also allows users to enter a large amount of data directly on the tax form itself.  Each field on the tax form has a magnifying glass that directs users to the correct underlying data input worksheet. 

Currently, ProSeries Tax offers support for over 3,200 forms across all major tax entity types.  Multi-state functions are provided, though not all state forms are automatically generated or fully calculated.  An allocation worksheet is provided to aid in the direct income allocation between multiple states.

A great deal of effort was placed on updating the electronic filing capabilities for the current release.  ProSeries tax is now on the Modernized e-File (MeF) platform for all return entity types.  With the exception of trust returns, all 2012 and 2013 returns may now be electronically filed directly from within ProSeries Tax.  All electronically filed returns are now in one central location and any attachments sent with the return are noted with a paperclip icon may be directly accessed within ProSeries Tax.  In addition to the interface changes, the electronic filing acknowledgements have been enhanced and now generally result in faster response times.

All print jobs inside ProSeries Tax are now automatically converted to PDF format with the end result appropriately routed.  This allows all print jobs, previews, archives and document management storage to be routed without further user intervention.  The print preview option now allows users to control which forms should be printed.

Once a PDF of the return has been generated, users may directly email clients from ProSeries Tax.  A password is automatically generated for the PDF for security, though the PDF file itself is not encrypted.  Currently a predetermined schema is used to generate the passwords, taking into account the client social security number, city and ZIP code.

A variety of help options are built-in to ProSeries Tax.  Through a right click on many tax form fields, users are provided a blend of program instructions and government form instructions.  Intuit has also invested a number of resources to building a network allowing professionals to communicate directly with each other.  Live chat options during normal support hours are now directly built-in and can drastically reduce any wait times in troubleshooting program issues.

Integration: 4.5 Stars

A key integration for ProSeries Tax is through QuickBooks file import.  All accounts mapped to tax return fields in QuickBooks are directly imported to the appropriate lines within the software.  Users also have the option of using the built-in trial balance import feature to manually enter trial balance information and make simple adjustments.  One final data integration point is through TurboTax software.  Any user converting from or client who previously used Intuit's TurboTax may directly import the data into ProSeries.

ProSeries Tax now features ProSeries Tax Research powered by BNA which is integrated directly into the program and enables quick access to research articles that may be attached to the return or saved for later recollection.  ProSeries Tax Research will require a separate per use charge or subscription for continuous access.  A variety of other separately available Intuit solutions, such as document management and fixed asset management, may be accessed directly from within ProSeries Tax.

Paperless Workflow: 4.5 Stars

Tax Import is an add-on solution that provides a technology platform to import scanned source documents directly into ProSeries Tax.  Support is currently offered for W-2s, most federal K-1s and a variety of popular 1099 types.  The process starts by the user scanning the document and then uploading the documents to Intuit.  From there, the Intuit team has technology in place that extracts relevant data and formats it for direct import into ProSeries Tax.  Intuit uses 128-bit data encryption and typical processing is limited to machine-to-machine intervention and rarely requires human intervention.

In addition to scanned documents, investment data may be downloaded directly into ProSeries Tax from 20 financial institutions.  Payroll information may be downloaded directly from ADP and Intuit Payroll Services, with all appropriate ProSeries Tax W-2 fields populated automatically.  Tax Import is priced per return, with reduced pricing available when purchased in bundles of 50 or 100 returns.

Over 1,000 diagnostics are provided within the system and are provided for both individual and business forms.  New for the current release are enhanced electronic filing diagnostics to accompany changes to the Modernized e-File platform.

Remote Capabilities: N/A

Intuit only offers ProSeries Tax as a traditional desktop installation option.  Remote hosting of ProSeries Tax may be done by users through use of a variety of hosting solutions.  Smaller organization without resources dedicated to sophisticated IT staffs and setup may find it cumbersome to maintain this type of infrastructure. 

Alternatively, a number of third-party solutions are available that will host ProSeries Tax and other products, such as QuickBooks or Microsoft Office solutions for a monthly fee.  Intuit Tax Online, which is a lower-tiered product, is a full Internet-based solution hosted by Intuit.  This product has been reviewed separately with the traditional tax workflow product reviews.

Summary & Pricing

ProSeries Tax is the mid-range tax solution offered by Intuit designed for the sole-practitioner and small accounting firm.  ProSeries Tax has a simple interface and strong reliance on worksheets for all data entry.  A wide range of pricing options are offered with many focusing on bundles of returns but also include per-return pricing and full-service unlimited processing options.  Tax professionals with a high volume tax practice requiring unlimited processing of business and individual returns along with associated electronic filing can purchase the PowerTax Library bundle for under $5,500.  A variety of other pricing scenarios are prominently displayed on the ProSeries Tax information website.

 

BEST FIRM FIT

Small to medium-sized practices and sole practitioners who focus primarily on tax and have low to medium complex returns

STRENGTHS

  • Simple interface allowing data entry directly on tax forms
  • Integration points with QuickBooks and TurboTax
  • Direct scan data import option, though at a separate charge

POTENTIAL WEAKNESSES

  • Very few review tools in place
  • No easy remote access option provided

2014 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars

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