From the August 2005 Review of Sales & Use Tax Software
Trustfile offers sales & use tax programs for 11 States, including CT, FL, GA, IL, LA, MD, NJ, PA, SC, TN and WI. State programs are sold separately and maintained in separate program folders. Trustfile lists approximately 16,000 customers, including 22 percent of the Fortune 100, who collectively process over $8 billion dollars a year in electronic payments. The Trustfile vision is to develop and market solutions that significantly reduce the burden of business-tax compliance and administration.
Trustfile has announced that they “will launch a new single, nation-wide platform that will further simplify business tax preparation, filing and payment, particularly for multi-state filers.”
This review included the PA and NJ programs, so my comments and observations relate to these state programs. Trustfile’s programs and related capabilities vary by state, as individual programs were developed separately from one another and reflect acquisitions from other tax software vendors.
Trustfile’s Pennsylvania and New Jersey sales and use tax packages are both currently available free of charge for the 2005 calendar year, and can be used at no cost for all remaining 2005 filings. The current regular price of all Trustfile software is $129 per year, per state package. Right now, there are several other states also offered free of charge for 2005, including CT, IL, LA, MD and WI.
Navigation & Data Entry – 4 Stars
The latest incarnation of Trustfile features an improved user interface. Navigation is simple and data entry is heads-down. Data input may be accomplished via a data-entry screen or via import. Trustfile accepts two file types for data import: Microsoft Excel (*.XLS) and comma delimited (*.CSV). Trustfile includes an import mapping utility, with handy features such as browse (files for file selection) and dragging and dropping data to Trustfile-created mapping table columns. The Import Mapping Utility is capable of turning an import novice into a pro, offering easy import from spreadsheet or comma-delimited files with less headaches and better productivity.
Paper Filing, Electronic Compliance & Payment – 4 Stars
Trustfile prepares and files state-authorized electronic returns (with the exception of GA, which is their lone “paper” state), transmits EFT payment information, validates transmissions, and maintains a transmission history along with related logs. History includes successful and unsuccessful transmission acknowledgements. Trustfile prints a “hard copy” of e-filed returns for taxpayer records (these forms can also be saved to *.PDF), all of which display a special printed watermark, “For your records only.” Trustfile displays and prints the latest “version” of a tax form. Trustfile maintains the original transmission record, and users can go back and change the original record.
Rate Updates – 4 Stars
Per the manual, program updates (patches) are issued for various reasons including Department of Revenue changes and enhancements/bug fixes. Additionally, Trustfile also has a Mailed Updates Service available for $30 per product per year. All updates and patches are also available for free through the program’s internal “update” feature, and at the company’s web site.
Help/Training – 4 Stars
Trustfile offers online context-sensitive help within each Trustfile program. A manual
is available for each Trustfile state program (additional $25 cost). The company also offers an extensive set of general and state-specific FAQs and traditional customer support via e-mail and phone. A premium support option contract is also available for $100 per year, which automatically routes user’s calls to the front of the queue with a personal, dedicated support staff contact. Trustfile, notably, does not accept program inquiries via fax.
Relative Value – 4.5 Stars
Trustfile represents an excellent value for small- to high-volume transmitters alike. It is important to distinguish Trustfile from more complex systems that support e-filing (and traditional “paper” filing) in multiple states within the same program and maintained database. Obviously, the latter programs are significantly more expensive. As noted earlier, Trustfile is currently offering free 2005 programs for CT, IL, LA, MD, NJ, PA and WI. More information is available at the company’s web site.
One Trustfile user with whom I spoke said, “We have used [the program] for two to three years and are very happy. Web updates are a snap, and they offer excellent help. It’s a super product.” Another pleased user noted that Trustfile offers “easy data entry and navigation with great electronic filing.”
2005 Overall Rating – 4 Stars