From the 2016 Reviews of Professional Tax Preparation Systems.
Best Firm Fit: Intuit Tax Online is a best fit for very small firms and sole practitioners, offering a cloud-based system that can be used to prepare returns for all taxable entities.
- Completely web-based system offers convenience of anytime access and no maintenance
- Intuitive interface and quick startup functions
- Free mobile app enhances system, giving iPhone users access to client communications, returns and e-file status
- All-inclusive, per-return pricing based on volume
- No integrated options for tax planning or practice management, limited import and export options with traditional software
- Preparation and review processes not designed for complex, multi-preparer involvement
Intuit Tax Online offers a completely web-based and app-enhanced solution for professional tax compliance. The system is available via per-return pricing level based on the number of client returns the professional will process. The system features unlimited e-filing, fast data entry screens, paperless W-2 and Sch. D import, integrated online invoicing, e-signatures and diagnostics.
Core Product Functions/Features: 4.25 Stars
Intuit Tax Online was designed for online use and opens within a traditional web browser, while many of the functions and client status information are also available via an app. The program opens to the Tax Hub window, which follows the same general design as the current version of QuickBooks Online and offers overviews of all returns by federal form type, with information on which are in progress, transmitted and accepted. Users can also sort or search the master client list.
The system offers a simple navigation menu with options for moving between the tax prep system, client management functions, the E-File Dashboard, chat support and the new Intuit Link tool, which gives firms an automated way to determine what data the firm still needs from clients, alerts the clients, and offers a secure and easy portal for them to send to the firm.
Intuit Tax Online has more than 5,600 forms and can be used to prepare forms 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120s and 990. The system guides Within returns, data entry fields follow the general structure of the form, and the system offers simple selection lists and buttons for items such as filing status, Box 12 selections, and quick MFJ vs. MFS comparisons. Return data input is divided into sections for general information, payments, income, deductions, credits, taxes, other, state and local and miscellaneous forms. Intuit Tax Online automatically runs diagnostics when the preparer uses the Check Return feature, and provides suggestions that can help reduce tax liability.
In addition to the new Intuit Link tool, recent enhancements to Intuit Tax Online include improved navigation and search options, seamless integration with QuickBooks Online Accountant, the new Client Benefit Suite includes payment options for clients (pay-by-refund and debit card refunds), and an optional ID theft and audit representation service. Intuit has also added e-signature capabilities.
Integration Options: 4.25 Stars
Intuit Tax Online offers direct integration with QuickBooks Online Accountant, letting users easily create returns by transferring trial balance information directly from a business’ QBO files. Several in-program integrations also speed workflow, including the ability to import W-2 data directly from payroll service providers, a Sch. D import utility, e-signature capabilities, and the option to create PDF copies of client returns.
Paperless Workflow: 4.5 Stars
The new Intuit Link feature offers good client interaction features that can reduce paper-based processes. With the system, preparers can send clients electronic requests for documents and information, making client engagements more digital, and less difficult. After the client gives permission, the system also connects to financial institutions and their payroll provider to sync in their data, which reduces not only manual entry, but also errors. As noted previously, the system also offers e-signature capabilities, while returns can be output to PDF format.
Remote Capabilities: 4.75 Stars
As a completely web-based system, Intuit Tax Online can be used from any desktop, laptop or tablet with full internet access. The companion mobile app (Apple and Android) offers access to data, checking e-file status, and responding to client communications. Intuit maintains the program on its secure servers and all client and return data is automatically backed up.
Help/Support: 4 Stars
The help tools in Intuit Tax Online include FAQs, an online user community, live chat assistance, and a searchable database that includes trending topics, Affordable Care Act information, e-Signature topics and general categories. The system does not offer direct access to line-by-line form instructions, which would be helpful. Intuit offers live an web-based support, which is included in pricing.
Summary & Pricing
Intuit Tax Online offers fairly comprehensive professional tax compliance options, designed for sole practitioners or very small firms focused primarily on 1040 clients. The completely web-based solution is easy to use and provides workflow tools that can increase productivity. Pricing is based on the number of returns purchased in advance, with discounts for higher volumes. For 1040 returns, users can prepurchase anywhere from one to more than 300 returns. A package of 100 returns costs $14.95 per return. For business filings, the cost of prepurchasing 20 returns is $39.95 per return. These costs include e-filing of federal and all associated states.
2016 Overall Rating: 4.25 Stars
See inside April 2016
2016 Overview of BNA 706 Preparer & 709 Preparer
Bloomberg BNA offers a variety of tax and financial information tools and resources, as well as software and online services for estate tax compliance, gift tax compliance, and estate planning – BNA 706 Preparer and BNA 709 Preparer.