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TaxWorks — TaxWorks TaxPlanner

From the November 2005 Review of Tax
Planning Software

The TaxWorks TaxPlanner is an add-on to the company’s tax preparation
software that can also be used stand-alone. TaxWorks conceived TaxPlanner as
an easy-to-use “what if” tool for accountants, attorneys and tax
practitioners. TaxPlanner supports up to five concurrent tax scenarios or years.
It incorporates the new tax law and upcoming phase-in changes and displays powerful
tax calculation abilities. TaxPlanner supports federal 1040 planning together
with a non-calculating state income tax planning worksheet. TaxPlaner has a
list price of $195, with an early renewal price of $120.

Program Use/Data Entry — 4 Stars
TaxPlanner’s interface opens to a (main) spreadsheet view with pull-down
menus and an icon-populated toolbar across the top. To the left, in the spreadsheet,
is a column with text-based category titles such as Ordinary Income, Schedule
D, Adjustments, AGI, Exemptions, etc. Across the top of the spreadsheet, columns
are set up for variables that include tax year and filing status.

Data entry is performed by selecting the tax year and filing status and then
clicking on the category titles, which brings up a worksheet window that contains
data input fields for the entry of items within a given tax category. For example,
clicking on Ordinary Income brings up a worksheet window that provides for the
entry of salaries/wages, interest and dividends, state and local tax refunds,
and other income. Some tax line entries have sub-worksheets. TaxPlanner calculates
the total of these worksheet window entries, transferring calculated amounts
to the appropriate fields on the main spreadsheet. Changes made to federal data
flow through the spreadsheet, and all items relating to tax are automatically

TaxPlanner provides a “copying of column (year) data” feature
to expedite the creation of plans. Program icons provide quick access to the
state worksheet, the data bridge, and to general firm and client information.
Movement within the program is fast and intuitive, with the ability to use the
keyboard, mouse and several “hot keys.” TaxPlanner’s navigational
abilities should satisfy head-down and Windows-convention users alike.

Reporting — 3.5 Stars
Although TaxPlanner has limited reporting capabilities, it does print a presentation-quality
report suitable for presentation to clients. TaxPlanner gets a round of applause
for its ability to easily print a screen, main worksheet, and all worksheets
associated with the tax plan. The program also offers the ability to print to
*.PDF. The TaxPlanner report is not customizable, and a graphing tool is not

Import/Export Capabilities — 4.5 Stars
TaxWorks TaxPlanner directly imports data from TaxWorks 1040 tax preparation
program via a supplied bridge.

Help/Training & Support — 3 Stars
TaxPlanner includes a useful Help utility that is task-focused, providing useful
assistance to new and infrequent users. The program provides limited right-click
menu functions, such as cutting and pasting data entries, but there are no tutorials
or direct links to the company’s customer support web site or online Help.
The company does not have organized training programs and offers almost no online
assistance, not even FAQs. Rather, it just provides support telephone numbers.
Toll-free telephone support is included with the software.

2005 Overall Rating: 4 Stars