From the August 2008 Review of
Tax Planning Systems
ProSystem fx Planning is part of the ProSystem fx suite
of products offered by CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business. Designed to work in conjunction
with the vendor’s tax preparation product, ProSystem fx Planning
can also be used as a stand-alone product. ProSystem fx Planning offers
both federal and state planning and future-year estimating scenarios.
Program Use/Data Entry — 4.5 Stars
Program navigating is easy. The main interface features a drop-down menu with
function icons below. Data entry is done using input grids that are layered
beneath the summary grids. The grids also offer an “expand to detail”
option that allows you to pull up all supporting data that has been entered
in sub-worksheets. ProSystem fx Planning can forecast up to 30 tax
scenarios per plan, and up to four tax years. Calculations are performed in
real time as data is entered so all corresponding worksheets are updated, as
well. In addition to regular tax, calculations include AMT, Capital Gains Tax,
Lump-Sum Distributions, Farm Income Averaging, Phase-Outs, and Federal Estimated
Tax and Penalties.
Along with federal tax planning, state-specific information is included for
the following states: AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, ME, MI,
MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, UT and WV. Also available is an
option to set up generic city tax information or to add a state not already
pre-configured. User-defined options allow you to add details not included.
ProSystem fx Planning contains several new program updates, including
compatibility with Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft Vista. New fields available
now allow for modification of both 2008 and 2009 AMT exemptions. A Recovery
Rebate Credit for 2008 has been added, and several state-specific updates are
Reporting — 4 Stars
The variance column feature allows you to compare two selected columns side-by-side,
adding a variance column that displays the difference between the two columns.
Plan Summaries, Plan Reports and Plan Estimates can all be slightly customized
by choosing the columns you wish to display, along with page borders, footers
and customized text if desired. However, there is no option to view reports
prior to printing, nor can you save reports in different file formats.
Import/Export Capabilities — 4 Stars
As expected and as previously noted, ProSystem fx Planning completely
integrates with the vendor’s tax preparation product. For data import,
simply choose the location from which you wish to import data: local, laptop
or network. All data is easily shared between programs, globally updating files
between. ProSystem fx Planning does not offer import or export options
to other tax preparation products at this time.
Help/ Support & Training — 4.5 Stars
ProSystem fx Planning features a traditional Help system. Telephone
support during regular business hours is included with the purchase of the product.
The vendors’ website also offers program updates, product release notes,
FAQs and tutorials. The Getting Started Guide takes new users through basic
system setup, entering new data and printing reports. Various seminars and product
tutorials are offered as well.
Relative Value — 4.5 Stars
Priced at $515 for a single-user, stand-alone license, ProSystem fx
Planning is at its best when used in conjunction with the ProSystem fx
suite of tax products. Besides the obvious benefit to current ProSystem fx
users, an intuitive user interface and various customization options make this
product worth considering if you’re looking to expand your client services
to include tax planning.
2008 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars