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RedGear Technologies — TaxWorks


From the April/May 2008 Review
of Tax Compliance Suites

The TaxWorks professional tax compliance system initially started out nearly
35 years ago when the company acted as a service bureau. With the evolution
of technology since then, and with its acquisition by RedGear Technologies in
2007, TaxWorks has grown into a comprehensive collection of tax compliance modules
with support for 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 706, 709, 990 and 5500, along
with all taxing states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. TaxWorks also includes an integrated
asset management function, and TaxWorks offers optional add-ons for tax planning,
practice management and client organizers. Separately, RedGear’s eGLWorks
system provides an online client bookkeeping system that doubles as a professional
write-up program for the accountant, while the company’s ArkWorks document
management system provides a paperless office management option that includes
security features and an audit trail.

The company also recently debuted a Wage Reporting system. The TaxWorks system
is offered in a variety of bundles, starting with the 1040 package, which supports
federal individual and one state for as low as $1,295. A package with 1040 and
all states costs $1,695, and the top bundle with all individual, business and
special entities plus all states costs $2,595. All bundled packages include
free unlimited e-filing and can be used by all preparers within the same office
at no additional charge. Pay-per-use pricing is also offered.

General Operations/ Ease-of-Use — 4.5 Stars
TaxWorks has a clean and intuitive interface, opening to the client selection
screen, which provides a spreadsheet view of all clients automatically divided
by return type, with tabs for moving between these return types. The window
displays multiple data columns, including status, e-file status and contact
information, all of which can be used for sorting. Users can also search by
client number. The client selection window also offers various icons for performing
basic client tasks such as copying, moving, deleting or creating new returns,
along with links to the program updater and a built-in Scheduler utility.

Within returns, the program opens to a wonderful interface that houses several
panels, including a form view and interview sheet displayed side-by-side, along
with a navigation menu on the left that shows all available forms sortable by
common, type, used and all. A handy Return Summary window appears on the bottom
left and gives a breakdown of AGI, deductions, exemptions, various credits,
tax, and refund or amount due. Additionally, a panel inset into the data-entry
interview sheet shows line-specific instructions for the currently selected
data field, while buttons allow moving between Advanced, Lite, EZ and Spanish
versions of the data-entry sheet. The form replica panel provides a view of
the form and drilldown access to data, but all actual data entry is performed
on one of the program’s four interview modes. The system even displays
an e-file return date estimator that shows when a client can expect their refund.
Each of the system’s panels can be resized as desired. The interview sheets
are intuitive and provide drilldown access to supporting worksheets and schedules,
along with pull-down selection lists and auto-fill functions for city and state
after entering ZIP Code, and users have the ability to attach notes or markups
to data fields for review.

Workflow & Productivity Tools — 4.5 Stars
The program automatically performs calculations as data is entered, including
for SSI and Medicare withholding, and transfers data as needed between returns
and associated schedules and worksheets. TaxWorks has improved greatly with
additions to the client selection screen. RedGear has also enhanced many of
TaxWorks’ other features, including its review processes, which enable
markup of clients and status tracking with multiple options, including the following:
in progress, incomplete, waiting for information, under review, extended, completed
and walked.

Included in the program are paper client organizers and a built-in Scheduler
utility that offers day, week, and monthly views of appointments and tasks for
all or individual preparers. The Scheduler can be used to send e-mail reminders
to clients and to professionals in the firm. An asset management system is also
built into the tax system, offering support for various disposal actions and
like-kind exchanges, and giving more than 60 depreciation methods. An integrated
tax planning system is also included, allowing up to five scenario-based plans
per client.

The tax compliance system offers and encourages the use of security features
that enable restriction of access to specific clients and client groups, as
well as to the Client Management center, which offers client communication templates,
reporting, default settings and other tools. An audit trail is also available,
tracking all access and changes to client return data. TaxWorks includes analysis
and diagnostic functions and reports that are easily accessible using the Audit
icon or by running individual reports. All client communication templates, including
invoices, organizers, slip sheets, filing instructions and reminder letters,
and the interview sheets can be customized using Word and are available in English.
Bank loan products are available through Chase and Santa Barbara Bank &
Trust’s Traditional and ANEW programs, which allow client refund dispersal
via check, cash card or direct deposit. These programs can be beneficial even
for firms not wishing to offer loans, since they enable the firm to receive
payment from return proceeds, rather than relying upon up-front payments or

Integration/ Import & Export — 4 Stars
TaxWorks has a great selection of built-in and add-on features, including the
Scheduler, Tax Planner, asset management system, and document management and
GL systems, all of which offer integration with the tax program. TaxWorks also
allows printing of returns, reports and forms into PDF format, and can import
data from Excel, QuickBooks and other accounting programs. For client communications,
the system interfaces with Outlook, Outlook Express and other SMTP-based e-mail

Support/Training & Help System — 4.5 Stars
With right-click menus available everywhere that offer quick access to Help,
and with a calculator, markup functions and a Help panel that automatically
displays instructions for the current data field, the system provides excellent
assistive features. RedGear also provides TaxWorks users with print user manuals,
and the installation CD includes training tutorials and various video How-Tos.
The company maintains a good online support center with FAQs, documentation,
tax news, and access to live and web-based training events and materials. TaxWorks
also provides toll-free support.

Relative Value — 4.5 Stars
TaxWorks has made significant advances over the past few years, adding an impressive
complement of add-on features and stand-alone programs that integrate with the
tax system, while also maintaining the intuitive usability of the program. TaxWorks
is capable of handling complex 1040 and business returns and is ideally suited
to small to mid-sized tax-focused practices with high volumes of individual
returns, but who also need access to business entity compliance. Such tax offices
that offer bank products would be especially well-served by the program, which
also offers bilingual client-focused materials.

2008 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars