2014 Review of CFS Sales Tax Software

Best Fit: Accounting professionals responsible for preparing sales tax returns for small- and medium-sized businesses with multiple locations in California or New York. 

Strengths:

  • The user interface is easy to navigate and understand.
  • Unlike a traditional forms application, which creates only the requested forms, the CFS CA and CFS NY Sales Tax Preparer applications will create the paper required to assemble a client copy of a return including invoices, cover letters, mailing labels, and envelopes.
  • The solution allows the firm to store its information, as well as data from multiple preparers and multiple clients, to reduce the time required to complete a return.  Renewing subscribers can import data from the prior year’s CFS Sales Tax Preparer application just as one would when using an income tax preparation application.
  • Data can be electronically submitted from within the application to the California Board of Equalization.

Potential Limitations:

  • The company’s sales tax applications are principally designed to help users comply with the requirements of New York and California.  CFS does not offer compliance solutions targeted at the other 48 US states or any US territories.
  • New York requires users to enter their sales tax returns on a secure website, and it does not support direct transmission of returns from within the application.
  • The applications do not integrate with any popular accounting or point-of-sale applications such as QuickBooks or Sage 50 (Peachtree).

CFS Tax Software’s CA Sales Tax Preparer and NY Sales Tax Preparer applications are full-featured standalone tools for preparing New York and California sales tax returns for multiple clients. 

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Full Review:

CFS Tax Software’s CA Sales Tax Preparer and NY Sales Tax Preparer applications are full-featured standalone tools for preparing New York and California sales tax returns for multiple clients.  The applications support all state, city, county, and other special districts which levy sales taxes in the two states.  The products also support most major forms needed to file returns; complete lists are at https://www.taxtools.com/products_st.aspx for CA and at https://www.taxtools.com/products_ny.aspx for the NY software.

Both products work with the respective state online filing schemes.  The California application allows preparers to file and electronically pay sales tax from within the application.  The New York application performs the calculations needed before the user enters data into the NYS Department of Tax & Finance Sales Tax Filing website.  The applications will also prepare printed or PDF forms which can be used to file on paper, and it will also prepare the other documents (transmittal letters, filing instructions, invoices, etc.) which are related to the filing.

Once converted to the network version of the application, the software can be used by an unlimited number of preparers in a single office.  Updates to CA Sales Tax Preparer are issued quarterly whereas updates to NY Sales Tax Preparer are issued monthly.  Updates for each year’s application are included with the purchase price of the application. 

Data can be shared between this application and many of the publisher’s other applications (see www.taxtools.com for details), but information cannot be imported from popular third party accounting or point-of-sale solutions.  Client information is stored in a client database, which can be used to automatically populate new forms and returns.  Upgrade to a network version is also available for an annual fee of $50 per application.

The program includes training videos and a well-documented help file with line-by-line instructions.  Support is included with each year’s version of the application, and it is provided by telephone, chat, or remote access.

Best Fit: Accounting professionals responsible for preparing sales tax returns for small- and medium-sized businesses with multiple locations in California or New York. 

Strengths:

  • The user interface is easy to navigate and understand.
  • Unlike a traditional forms application, which creates only the requested forms, the CFS CA and CFS NY Sales Tax Preparer applications will create the paper required to assemble a client copy of a return including invoices, cover letters, mailing labels, and envelopes.
  • The solution allows the firm to store its information, as well as data from multiple preparers and multiple clients, to reduce the time required to complete a return.  Renewing subscribers can import data from the prior year’s CFS Sales Tax Preparer application just as one would when using an income tax preparation application.
  • Data can be electronically submitted from within the application to the California Board of Equalization.

Potential Limitations:

  • The company’s sales tax applications are principally designed to help users comply with the requirements of New York and California.  CFS does not offer compliance solutions targeted at the other 48 US states or any US territories.
  • New York requires users to enter their sales tax returns on a secure website, and it does not support direct transmission of returns from within the application.
  • The applications do not integrate with any popular accounting or point-of-sale applications like QuickBooks or Sage 50 (Peachtree).

Summary and Pricing

The annual versions of CFS Tax Software’s CA Sales Tax and NY Sales Tax Preparer applications start at $119 and $84.50, respectively, for new users.  Customers of prior versions of the application receive a discount on the current year’s software.  An upgrade to convert either application into a network-based application is $50 per year.

 

 

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