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2018 Review of Drake Tax

Drake Tax from Drake Software is well-suited for small to mid-sized accounting firms that process both individual and business taxes for clients. As a consistent winner of CPA Practice Advisor’s Reader’s Choice Awards annually since 2004, Drake ...

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Drake Tax

From the 2018 reviews of professional tax preparation systems.

Drake Tax from Drake Software is well-suited for small to mid-sized accounting firms that process both individual and business taxes for clients. As a consistent winner of CPA Practice Advisor’s Reader’s Choice Awards annually since 2004, Drake Software has consistently maintained an excellent reputation in a very crowded field of excellent software products. Drake Tax can be installed as a desktop/network solution or accessed as a hosted desktop application. Also available from Drake are two web-based solutions that provide firms with the ability to prepare 1040 returns online. Drake Zero is for a stand-alone location, and Web1040 is for firms with upwards of 20 physical locations.

Drake Tax now offers a data entry toolbar which includes a calculator function, reminder flags, as well as the ability to navigate between screens. The product also now prints 12 different taxpayer forms in Spanish, including Forms W-4, W-7, 2350, and 13844. Off-site cloud storage is now available for firms that wish to store vital documents in a secure location.

Drake Tax offers consistent features and functionality across all tax packages, including automatic data flow, with auto-fill capability. The product also contains a variety of shortcut keys and macros to reduce the number of keystrokes necessary.

Drake Tax currently supports more than 6,000 federal and state tax forms and schedules including 1040, 1040NR, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120-S, 1120-H, 4720, 5471, 1118, 3115, 706, 709, 990, 990-PF, as well as all required states. The product offers unlimited e-filing capability, with users able to file related state returns with the federal return or can file state returns separately if allowed. E-filing is supported for individual, partnership, business, fiduciary, and tax-exempt organizations, and Drake Tax will now file FBAR returns as well.

The Lookback feature in Drake Tax allows users to view previous year amounts, displaying both prior fields used as well prior year totals in each field. Users also have access to various help resources and instructional videos from all data entry screens.

Drake Tax offers seamless integration with SecureFilePro, a file exchange web portal that allows easy, secure exchange of confidential source documents and completed tax returns. New SecureFilePro features include the ability for users to upload photos from their mobile device, send and receive messages through the portal, receive a prior-year tax summary and electronically sign their tax return from a mobile device or home PC. SecureFilePro works with any Internet browser and allows users to simply upload documents to the portal, where clients can access them as needed. In addition, SecureFilePro integrates with Drake Documents, allowing users to share a complete client folder, if necessary. Drake Documents is structured much like a physical file cabinet, with drawers and folders to better organize documents. For those looking to extract data from documents, Drake Tax also integrates with GruntWorx, which is available in four versions and offers OCR data extraction technology to label and index documents accurately. The product also integrates with E-Sign, which allows clients to sign documents using the signature pad, with all signatures attached to each return.

Drake Tax also integrates with Drake Tax Planner, enabling users to create a variety of tax scenarios for their clients. Those purchasing Drake Tax can also add on the Drake Accounting module, which includes bookkeeping, payroll, Crystal Reports, W-2, and 1099 forms. Conveniently, Drake Practice Management features are integrated into Drake Tax. The product also offers integration with TicTie Calculate, which allows users to add customizable tickmarks to PDFs, along with hyperlinked cross references to other pages in the document.

Drake Tax offers users a number of help resources including a Desk Reference document, a Quick Start Guide, the Drake User’s Manual, and a Quick Reference Guide, as well as extensive in-program help. Users can also access the Drake e-Training Center for access to numerous training options as well as continuing education classes. A variety of videos are available for new users to reference, with several in Spanish. Users can access product support via email of toll-free telephone support, with extended support available during tax season.

Drake Software is well suited for small to mid-sized firms and offers both individual and business return preparation and e-filing capability. For those that only process 1040 returns, Drake Software offers Drake Zero (single location), and Web1040, for upwards of 20 sites. Both applications are online and mobile friendly, with users able to access either application with a smart phone or tablet.

Drake Tax Unlimited is Drake’s all-inclusive tax program and is available for $1,395 if purchased by Sept. 30. The Power Bundle includes Drake Tax Unlimited and Drake Accounting and is currently priced at $1,495 if purchased by Sept. 30. There is also a pay-per-return option available for $330 for 15 returns. Drake Tax includes free online training, and live support.

2018 Rating: 5 Stars