PDA

View Full Version : Tax Software - Happy or not?



beck
01-21-2013, 11:59 PM
Hello Everyone!

Just wondering your happiness rating with your current software. Please share what you are using and if it is functioning for you.

Personally I'm involved in the TRX Software conundrum. It is not functioning and flowing the way you would think it should. Looking into jumping ship. This forum is a wealth of experience and your opinions are valued.

Thanks,
Beck


PS: I only have a small client base of about 80. Just 1040 and small businesses.

Koss
01-22-2013, 12:31 AM
We have a small practice also, and we have used TaxAct for several years. We have been very satisfied.

We are consolidating our practice with another firm, so we are probably going to switch in the next year or two. But not because we are unhappy with it. Only because it makes sense in terms of volume, and the fact that the other practice is using something else.

You may e-mail me if you want to discuss details.

BMK

Snaggletooth
01-22-2013, 01:20 AM
And I've seen, used, and demoed other software.

My affinity with Drake goes back to the years when absolutely no one believed software programming could ever keep up with the changes in the tax law (circa mid-70s). The Drake family believed it could and as a result were several steps ahead when the big players moved in.

Customer support is great, and there has been one price increase in the last 15 years.

Software is menu-driven, rather than forms-driven. Thus it differs from ATX in that regard. I used TaxSlayer for a few years, which has great customer support as well, but is not very robust with more complicated entities in various states.

If you want "seamless" transition between GAAP books and tax returns, Ultra is your choice, but about triple the cost of Drake.

manyhappyreturns
01-22-2013, 02:53 AM
I'm jumping ship because TRX can't seem to get a working software anywhere close to ready, and we are in the 11.9999...th hour, I believe. I've downloaded numerous demos and read a lot on several forums, and interestingly enough, I've narrowed my choices down to Drake or TaxAct. I'm leaning toward Drake, though, even though it is more expense, because it is easier to navigate and seems more comprehensive in handling lots of different situations. I do individuals only, including sole proprietorships, and I will be doing probably 150 or so returns, depending on whether or not I lose business from this late start due to software snafu.

geekgirldany
01-22-2013, 04:52 AM
Happy Drake user here. I love their customer support and their software is very good. I was a Taxwise user for over 10 years if not more. When they sold out the CCH their support went down the tubes. They also would not listen in regards to a certain problem that would show up year after year. I never thought I would get use to Drake because I was use to forms based software... but I did. First year it was a little slow but after that I know the screens verily well. Still do not know where to change various options I would like. So I generally always call them every year to help because I forget :)

Traveling EA
01-22-2013, 05:39 AM
I switched from Proseries to Drake this year. There were forms that Proseries did not have available, but I needed in order to e-file. Proseries also nickled and dimed everytime there was something you needed.

Uncle
01-22-2013, 06:19 AM
I have been with Drake for the past 7 years, after using 4 other programs. I do ~800 returns and I am satisfied. Twice I have found errors in the Hawaii module and called support. Both times, Drake downloaded a corrected version within 24 hours.

Christopher Mewhort, EA

JoshinNC
01-22-2013, 06:41 AM
I have access to a competitor's product a cost of virtually $0 and wouldn't think about switching.

Jiggers
01-22-2013, 06:42 AM
I switched from Proseries to Drake this year. There were forms that Proseries did not have available, but I needed in order to e-file. Proseries also nickled and dimed everytime there was something you needed.

Been with Drake since the 1993 tax year (1994 filing season) when Best Tax Software went belly-up during the middle of tax season. Worst filing season I ever had with massive amounts of overtime to get the work out on a sorry tax software. Best was the best until that season.

After 4/15 I went to a meeting and Drake was one of the vendors. I picked up a trial copy and finished up all my extension on it instead of Best Tax Software.

Been with them ever since.

Matt Sova
01-22-2013, 09:27 AM
For me there is no better software than UltraTax. We use all the Thomson Reuters Creative Solution suite of software and the integration saves us a ton of time and file cabinet space. This year we switched to their SaaS version and so far, we have been very happy with it.

spanel
01-22-2013, 10:15 AM
Extremely Satisfied...

I switched from TaxWise.. They still dont have IL out yet.. Taxslayer has had IL since the 14th.. YAY!! Glad I made the Switch.

Chris

Dusty2004
01-22-2013, 10:25 AM
With all the packages I have tried there is no comparison. I don't what to have to "tweak" the returns like I had to do with Drake. I want it correct when I am done with it not have to check if the software did it right.

Dusty

Roberts
01-22-2013, 10:45 AM
I have used TRX products the last few years and jumped ship about 2 weeks ago. When Doug Hughes was going onto the ATXCommunity forum and using the posts to determine which problems needed to be fixed - I knew right away they were never going to be close to providing a finished product. If they aren't ahead of their customers in identifying the problems with their product, how are they going to be ready when e-filing season hits? Plus, their product his horrific. The worksheets are horrible and I knew right away it wasn't a product I'd want to renew next season so I decided quickly to make the jump.

Software has to work the way your brain works. If it doesn't, you'll struggle all season. Drake is that way for me. I'm sure it's terrific software but it doesn't work for me from the DEMO I used. Wow, their customers do seem to love it though.

I've switched to OLTPRO and am satisfied with it so far. It's a forms entry approach and I prefer that over anything else. The season has just started so we'll see if the software holds up but as of right now, it works great. The renewal price is very attractive for a small tax business. It's $700 the first year, $500 to renew if you do so early. That includes 1040 software with all 50 states, business software and all e-filing.

One goofy thing with OLTPRO - they give you a CD to load the program but it's horrific at loading. My computers didn't recognize the install or the CD very well so it took me a while to get it to load. The Demo and the actual software were that way. Once you get it installed though - no problems with updates as they install automatically.

You can customize the graphics of the software so that it shows YOUR corporate identity. I like that.

John of PA
01-22-2013, 10:45 AM
I just switched from Lacerte to Drake. I love Drake and would not go back to Lacerte if they let me use it for free. I would suggest using Ultra Tax (the best package out there) if you can afford it. If Ultra Tax is not in your budget, Drake is by far the best value out there. Ultra Tax and Drake clearly stood out as the 2 best packages in the AICPA survey (Ultra Tax for high end, and Drake for smaller firms). I have yet to come across anything that Drake cannot do that Lacete could.

gman
01-22-2013, 10:46 AM
Taxworks is struggling to get a working product out. Your on hold for at least 30 minutes when you call. Make may a change next year.
Really wish it was up and running correctly

equinecpa
01-22-2013, 11:04 AM
ATX user-not satisifed. I don't like the direction CCH is taking this software. I tried Drake one year but couldn't get used to the input method. I made a huge mistake on a return due to that. I don't know where to go next year? I do numerous individual/business returns in many states so I need a good forms based software that is priced as a complete package.

alaska
01-22-2013, 11:14 AM
Im using Proseries Pro. I like it well enough to not change- I HATE change.

GradyFinance
01-22-2013, 11:42 AM
Drake user for 13 years. Taxwise for 6 years prior. Would not change from Drake if you paid me. Awesome Cust Svc and great software.

JohnH
01-22-2013, 12:11 PM
I just spoke with Drake again today. Based on the ongoing conversations on the ATX Forum, I'm losing confidence in CCH's ability to get things right. I already have the Drake conversion info and will probably pull the trigger in the next 24 -36 hours.

Sure am glad I followed past practice and didn't bite on the early sign-up discount. The small amount of savings isn't worth being locked into a vendor before their software has a chance to prove itself.

veritas
01-22-2013, 12:38 PM
and I am less happy every year.

beck
01-22-2013, 02:57 PM
I really appreciate all your input and thought processes for what software is working for you guys. It also seems that many other people are interested in this thread based on the number of views.

It seems like there are many Drake lovers out there (possibly larger client bases to offset the cost?).

Keep your input coming!

Thanks,
Beck

DTS
01-22-2013, 03:32 PM
Two years with Drake and I love it. Switched over from TaxWorks and I wish I had switched years ago!

John of PA
01-22-2013, 06:59 PM
John H, I would not recommend switching cold turkey at the beginning of tax season. There is a learning curve and it WILL take you longer to do each return with the new software than the old until you have a full year behind you. I strongly recommend useing your old software until April 15th. Then switch. The new Vendor will give you thier 2012 package free at that point and you can do your extensions on the new package. Or just practice on your large returns. The conversion programs do not automate the full converson, thier helpful but some critical parts of the conversion has to be done manually, such as loss carryforwards, etc. Also depreciation has to be checked and fined tuned, it's not converted perfect. Hope it all works out for you.

Jen
01-22-2013, 07:13 PM
My first job in a CPA office I used Drake. It is inexpensive, all inclusive for one-price, but has some shortfalls. I didn't realize it had shortfalls until I changed jobs.

My second job in a CPA office I used Lacerte. Talk about a cadillac program. It will virtually prepare the tax return for you. I was pretty much on my own to learn the software, and it was fairly easy. Once I knew a few 'tricks', how to access input screens from the forms page and how to clear diagnostics I found data entry a breeze.

I went out on my own with a very small client base and realized tax preparation software was going to kill me financially. I spoke to the sales rep quite frankly about it (I was licensing Lacerte because I knew it was top notch) and to my surprise he told me there was another Intuit product that might suit me.

Intuit Tax Online is a cloud based software which has data entry screens similar to Lacerte. In fact, Lacerte technicians developed the cloud based program. Pay-per-return bundles can be purchased in various quantities of returns. I purchased 50 1040's for $499, federal and all states. I purchased 10 business returns for $249.00. ITO allowed me to make a profit my first year on my own.

ITO doesn't have all the bells and whistles Lacerte has, but is much less expensive and does just as fine a job on the tax return. It is new in development, and I spoke for over an hour at a trade show with the program manager. He was thrilled to have feedback from a user who understood Lacerte and what they were trying to accomplish with ITO.

I definitely recommend ITO. Also, you can prep your return with ITO for free... you do not pay until you file and/or print the return. So if you have ever used Lacerte and liked it, try ITO... you may find you can save bundles of money.

Peachie
01-22-2013, 07:28 PM
[QUOTE=beck;146525]Hello Everyone!

Just wondering your happiness rating with your current software. Please share what you are using and if it is functioning for you.

Personally I'm involved in the TRX Software conundrum. It is not functioning and flowing the way you would think it should. Looking into jumping ship. This forum is a wealth of experience and your opinions are valued.

Thanks,
Beck


Could you highlight some of the issues you are having with the software? Thanks.

Peachie

Lion
01-22-2013, 07:38 PM
I love ProSystem fx. I buy it pay-per-return to keep the cost down a bit. But, it's worth every penny. Great software, great support, products that work together. I tried them all. Ultra Tax is good too, but I still prefer Pro fx.

manyhappyreturns
01-22-2013, 10:11 PM
It may not be advisable to switch tax software just when tax season is starting, but I had no choice. TRX's new program is not only totally different from TaxWorks (which is the program I got through them the last 3 years), it's not functional at this point. So no choice but to learn a new program, so I bought Drake today and couldn't be happier. What a relief!! I demoed several programs and read a lot of forum posts (here and on 3 other tax forums) while waiting for updates and improvements to the program TRX sent me, and finally settled on Drake for a number of reasons. Tomorrow I will do conversions, which they say they can do from TaxWorks. This is exciting!! I feel like I'm finally moving forward, and with no time to spare. Now I don't have to worry about getting calls from clients wanting to come in. In fact, now I can welcome them because I have something to offer them!

kpangelinan
01-23-2013, 04:50 AM
Lot's of good comments on this thread and am in agreement with most of them.....I've used Drake the past 2 years and was with TaxAct for the previous 13......TaxAct was simple, easy to use and incredibly cheap (probably why I stuck with them for so long). But as my practice grew in complexity, the 2nd Story Software company was unable to handle ALL of my S-Corps and C-corps with their respected states as I prepared returns in many states. They also didn't have software for non-profits (990's) or estates (1041). Because of this, I was using ATX's PPR system as well as some other PPR services to piece together what I need for my entire practice. THAT got expensive. Drake does them all for me now.

I switched to Drake and you couldn't pay me to even try another company.....if I was to consider switching I would look at Lacerte or Proseries.

One of the intangible costs outside of the money spent to purchase Drake is their customer service (virtually none with 2nd Story Software while they focused on their online business). Every (and I mean every) time I've called Drake in the last 2 years, I've had a live person pick up after 2 or 3 rings and believe it or not, the call is received here in the United States. Customer service is something I can't live without these days.....one software glitch (I have to research myself) can cost me the amount of 5 years the cost of another software program.

I do like Drake's extensive error checks as well.

John of PA
01-23-2013, 08:56 AM
I want to comment of the happy Lacerte user who posted. I used Lacerte for 17 years. I find Drake much easier to find "where to input" certain items. The Lacerte "jump to input" feature, which is supposed to help make up for thier confusing input screen locations does not work for every field. For our state, PA, Drake is far superior in the PA and especially local tax returns. I did appreciate Lacerte's emphais on automatically processing certain functions (which Drake does not do as much, so you have to work a little harder in Drake). ex: EIC workhseets, Lacerte will answer all the yes/no questions for you with the right answer that allows the EIC. Drake makes you answer each question yourself. Of course, Lacerte propmpts you with a diagnostice to make sure you check over the questions. another ex: A recent return I did on Drake I spent time researching why Drake did not allow the EIC when the prior year, Lacerte did. The income was very close to being the same each year. It turned out, after checking THE TAX BOOK that when you turn 65, you no longer get the EIC unless you have a dependent. The taxpayer had just turned 65. Lacerte would have given me a diagnostic telling me the EIC was not allowed becasue of age. In general, Lacerte's diagnostics are supererior to Drakes. Overall, once I got used to Drake, I found that it gets the job done a a fraction of the cost.

thomtax
01-23-2013, 09:36 AM
I started with Drake 14 years ago and have been very satisfied with it. As mentioned, 99% of the support staff is very helpful. As usual, there will always be a clunker once in a while, but I just make it short and then call back and get a real support person.

And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, here is the "other side of the story":

I will point out to all those who are bragging about not being a price increase in X number of years, that while technically correct, is not the whole story. For a long time RIA was provided, free of charge, as a tax research tool. It went away. Last year, The Tax Book was provided for research, free of charge. This year it costs, I believe, $89 to use The Tax Book.

For years, there were about 4 CPE courses that were provided, free of charge to its clients. This year it costs $40 per course to take these same courses. So while the base price has stayed the same, all the extras have been pared away and if you use any of them, the price has increased.

To be clear, I use Drake and plan to continue to do so as I feel it is a great product. I just feel everyone should know the complete situation.

LT

beck
01-23-2013, 12:12 PM
Could you highlight some of the issues you are having with the software? Thanks.

Peachie


Hi Peachie (btw....I love that username),

TRX Software has had so many issues and an embarrassing lack of communication. I am providing a link to a very lively discussion board that you can check out in your spare time to fully understand the problems:

http://www.atxcommunity.com/forum/7-trx/


Personally, I decided for my small practice to go with TaxAct (since I'm used to form input). Burton has been a big help to me with providing information regarding TaxAct. I'm a little leary of changing software so close to seeing my clients, but you gotta do what ya gotta do.

Thx,
Beck

taxtimeagain
01-23-2013, 12:38 PM
I have been a Taxact user for about 8 years now. I have been very happy with it. So far it meets all my needs.

Roberts
01-23-2013, 01:20 PM
I used TaxAct for 2004, my first year in the business. That year I also purchased 5 previous seasons of Taxact because a new client hadn't filed in many years. Wow - I loved it for what it was.

Online it was deemed a piece of junk that no real professional would use so nobody admitted to using it. (oddly, NOBODY talks about the software I use now!!!)

In the past year it's been amazing to see all the professionals come out of the woodwork proclaiming their usage (and happiness) with Taxact. There was always 1 person that admitted to using but now it must be a dozen on these forums. Love it.

I've moved on from TaxAct but it's nice to know they are still holding up in this market.

ruthc
01-23-2013, 02:20 PM
I also have been using TaxAct for a few years. I purchased it because I do have a very small tax business and really couldn't afford the high prices software. I find it very, very good for my needs. I didn't even purchase their support package which is very cheap. If I have any questions I do it via email and they respond very quickly. I would recommend it to anyone.

ToledoEd
01-23-2013, 02:37 PM
This is our third season with Drake and we have been very happy with it. We were with Tax Vision for a few years before and were unhappy with customer support and the fact that Ohio was never ready to file unitl February or later. With Drake the states are ready to go by the middle of January.

manyhappyreturns
01-23-2013, 02:45 PM
I finally took the plunge yesterday to buy Drake software because I was one of those poor souls who bought into TaxWorks through TRX and got a big surprise in the mail in mid to late December. The surprise was a non-functional software, and most of us hung on for awhile hoping they would fulfill their promise to get it up and running. Well, as of January 22nd, it was still non-functional and by that time I'd had enough, so I invested a bunch more money by buying into Drake yesterday, and by noon today I had my first tax return done. So at least now I'm moving forward, even though the first few clients will be paying my credit card bill for the software I wasn't supposed to have to purchase this year. But I am so glad I did. What relief! Drake is not only quite easy to navigate, when you call tech support, a human being answers and actually is able to help solve my issue! I don't have to put my phone on speaker mode and listen to irritating "easy listening" music while waiting 30-40 minutes for somebody to help me. In addition, I can convert through Drake all my TaxWorks clients, and I can download previous year programs for when I get one of those "I haven't done my taxes in years and my wages are being garnished, so I need to get caught up," calls.

Now I'm looking forward to tax season, not dreading it and hoping nobody calls . . .

Peachie
01-23-2013, 06:14 PM
Hi Peachie (btw....I love that username),

TRX Software has had so many issues and an embarrassing lack of communication. I am providing a link to a very lively discussion board that you can check out in your spare time to fully understand the problems:

http://www.atxcommunity.com/forum/7-trx/


Personally, I decided for my small practice to go with TaxAct (since I'm used to form input). Burton has been a big help to me with providing information regarding TaxAct. I'm a little leary of changing software so close to seeing my clients, but you gotta do what ya gotta do.

Thx,
Beck

Don't go away. I will read the link you provided and come back tomorrow with my comment. I am not sure we are using the same prooduct. My product is TRX Pro 1040. We may be using different programs. So, give me a while. Thanks for responding.

Bert73
01-23-2013, 06:35 PM
I started with Drake 14 years ago and have been very satisfied with it. As mentioned, 99% of the support staff is very helpful. As usual, there will always be a clunker once in a while, but I just make it short and then call back and get a real support person.

And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, here is the "other side of the story":

I will point out to all those who are bragging about not being a price increase in X number of years, that while technically correct, is not the whole story. For a long time RIA was provided, free of charge, as a tax research tool. It went away. Last year, The Tax Book was provided for research, free of charge. This year it costs, I believe, $89 to use The Tax Book.

For years, there were about 4 CPE courses that were provided, free of charge to its clients. This year it costs $40 per course to take these same courses. So while the base price has stayed the same, all the extras have been pared away and if you use any of them, the price has increased.

To be clear, I use Drake and plan to continue to do so as I feel it is a great product. I just feel everyone should know the complete situation.

LT

Thanks for the explanation, I wondered why some of the "extras" were not showing up on my end after I switched to Drake in November. I had read a few posts from Drake users from prior years loving all the little extras (Especially the free CPE courses). But after calling support when I was setting up the software and being amazed at them answering on the second ring, I was already impressed. I love how the whole program flows, it works for me.

Now, I know I seen it somewhere....before the night is over I will find out... how to flag certain forms for "all clients". (Such as the 7216, I want that warning at the end, if this form was not filled out.) But then this is not the programs problem, but the user.

So far so good!

oceanlovin'ea
01-23-2013, 08:08 PM
I have been using TaxslayerPro for 11 years now. No problems this year so far. Everything is up and running just fine. I do around 150 returns a year plus about 6 or 8 s corps. They have been able to handle anything I have needed.

I realize for some larger practices and s corps or corps that are bigger companies you may feel you need a more comprehensive program. But you can always try them out and see. Price is good and support is great.

If I ever changed it would probably be to Drake. I liked their program but am too satisfied with TaxslayerPro to pay more money.

Linda, EA

John of PA
01-23-2013, 08:32 PM
Other money issues with Drake is they are really pushing thier Grunt Works (for an added fee) which is a scanning service that automatically populates your data entry screens from you sending them your scanned documents. It has the highest accuracy rate in the industry and is NOT offshore but in the USA. Also Secure File Pro, Drake is pushing which is a web portal that a client can visit to check any messages from you, print copies of thier tax returns or thier organizer, a neat idea but is costs hundreds of dollars. I suppose the Drake users who don't need these extras, benefit as long as Drake continues to not raise thier price. If these extra fee services do well, hopefully Drake wiill continue to hold the line on price increase (unlike thier competitors).

John of PA
01-23-2013, 08:38 PM
Another free extra with Drake is their Client Write Up Software. While I use Quickbooks, I love using Drake CWU simply for printing blank forms, all the payroll forms, 1099's etc. are on it, and of course, blank tax forms can be printed from Drake's tax software. I just thought I would throw this in as it allowed me to discontinue my use of STF Superforms whcih Bloomberg BNA just bought out and raised the price. Goodby Superforms, Hello Drake.

John of PA
01-24-2013, 08:40 AM
In all fairness I must add that STF Superforms is a very good top of the line forms package for fill and print, and I am going to miss it.

Peachie
01-24-2013, 12:32 PM
Hi Peachie (btw....I love that username),

TRX Software has had so many issues and an embarrassing lack of communication. I am providing a link to a very lively discussion board that you can check out in your spare time to fully understand the problems:

http://www.atxcommunity.com/forum/7-trx/


Personally, I decided for my small practice to go with TaxAct (since I'm used to form input). Burton has been a big help to me with providing information regarding TaxAct. I'm a little leary of changing software so close to seeing my clients, but you gotta do what ya gotta do.

Thx,
Beck

I'm back. Other than maybe not having your same program, I just finished my tax return. I was alarmed at first, as you were, but I figured out most of the things that comes with a new platform. Yes, mine is different from last year as well. I could not reach customer service, so I decided to tackle it myself to try to figure it out. I think I succeeded. Will you e-mail me at peachie1000@hotmail.com so I can discuss? I know you went with another pregram, in the meantime. One other thing, I did two updates last night (11 and 12) and also re PROFORMED my return and info that seemed missing initially, was there after the updates. Hope to "chat" soon.

Peachie

ToddFogelberg
01-24-2013, 06:25 PM
This is my 3rd Season as an independent on Drake. Can't think of any complaints. Their tech support is simply amazing after 20+ years of HRB's dreadful support, I feel as though I have arrived in heaven. Block charged us efile fees for many years, of course with Drake, efile is included in the package.

geekgirldany
01-24-2013, 07:03 PM
One thing I did not like about Drake this year is that they did not include TTB. I had to pay for it separately through them.
Which is okay because there was a discount but I would have bought the Web Library Plus from TTB site. All tapped out on research materials for the year. Drake might have sent an email about it but do not remember it.

Bonnie
01-24-2013, 09:41 PM
Tax Slayer Pro is definitely best value for me. When I started my own business 6 years ago it was recommended and after trying a sample decided to give it a try as it was most affordable and just getting started I didn't have a lot of extra cash to invest. I do about 200 returns, one person opperation. Mostly all 1040's but have done a few small businesses over the years. Having a military base of customers I do many different states and have had no issues other than maybe a couple that were resolved quickly. Customer support is awesome. They also now provide Tax Book free to me and provided all my CEU's for 2012 free. So for me there was never any reason to look elsewhere. I'm a very satisfied customer and when I look at prices of other software they are all higher. In my opinion you can't beat Tax Slayer. Also this season the IRS is using their software for testing so some of the returns filed thru Tax Slayer have already gone to IRS and will be approved prior to 30th.

Super Mom
01-25-2013, 08:17 AM
I am happy with ATX, I have had some tech support issues over the years, but they have always eventually been resolved. I am also a small preparer and find there smaller 1040 package and I add on business packages to that. The number of efile for free that you can do with that package is enough for me, so that's a perfect fit for me. I've tried TRX and went back to ATX, is MUCH better software I think. I was told is the same, but is NOT! I have used ATX for several years now. Drake is too expensive for me, I don't have a big enough business to justify that expense, although that would be my choice over ATX if it fits for you. Good Luck!!

WTorres
01-25-2013, 08:48 AM
Hi. I am new to this forum, but I have been reading the post for a few years now. There is always a lot of helpful information on here.

I have been using TaxACT for 5 years now. I don't have a lot of clients so this works great for me.

thomtax
01-25-2013, 12:22 PM
One thing I did not like about Drake this year is that they did not include TTB. I had to pay for it separately through them.
Which is okay because there was a discount but I would have bought the Web Library Plus from TTB site. All tapped out on research materials for the year. Drake might have sent an email about it but do not remember it.

I did not see anything about it. It's just sort of one of these things that it seems if you don't know about until later, you might not fuss.

beck
01-25-2013, 02:20 PM
All this input is amazing. I personally appreciate how all posters to this thread are being very professional regarding their opinions and not bashing other software. Thanks for the thoughts and positive energy.

Thx,
Beck

taxxcpa
01-25-2013, 03:08 PM
Other money issues with Drake is they are really pushing thier Grunt Works (for an added fee) which is a scanning service that automatically populates your data entry screens from you sending them your scanned documents. It has the highest accuracy rate in the industry and is NOT offshore but in the USA. Also Secure File Pro, Drake is pushing which is a web portal that a client can visit to check any messages from you, print copies of thier tax returns or thier organizer, a neat idea but is costs hundreds of dollars. I suppose the Drake users who don't need these extras, benefit as long as Drake continues to not raise thier price. If these extra fee services do well, hopefully Drake wiill continue to hold the line on price increase (unlike thier competitors).

A large part of Drake's income used to come from the RAL business, so they are trying to replace that lost income with other products such as Grunt Works and Secure File Pro. They may even eventually come up with something I might want to add.

jimenright
01-25-2013, 03:32 PM
I have TRX Pro. It is in very bad shape and almost not usable. I have been using TRX for about three years and it has worked well for me.

I am going to try to use it since I have already paid for it. They have been doing updates every few days. Maybe in a few weeks it will be in reasonable shape.

joanmcq
01-25-2013, 03:42 PM
I've been using ATX since 2002 and have the older software from doing unfiled returns in my earlier years. A lot of people have been reporting issues this year due to the total revamp of the program, but I haven't had any. I like the forms based entry, and the inclusion of every form known to man. The MAX package includes unlimited free efiling too. I test drove Drake, but it had a computational problem in the CA module, and it wasn't as flexible as ATX - I can add 'business' forms to an individual return, which is necessary if you are filing a CA SSMC or a 5471 for an individual. If you are doing straightforward returns, Drake isn't a bad product.

I've used Lacerte when working for another CPA, have walked people through cancellation of debt on Proseries (advice-delete worksheets and put the numbers HERE), so I am aware of limitations (and benefits) of other software and haven't found a reason to switch. The price is good too.

manyhappyreturns
01-25-2013, 03:51 PM
I have TRX Pro as well, and even though I loved the TaxWorks program, it's a thing of the past. I finally jumped ship a few days ago by purchasing another software, because there was too much at risk to be waiting around for TaxExact to be functional. TRX has had several months to get this functioning and here we are well into tax season, and it's still not right. They have made vast improvements in the last few updates, so I'll give them that, but there are still major problems with it, and I couldn't afford to wait any longer. While I waited for updates from TRX, I downloaded several demos of other software, and there are good ones out there for a wide range of prices. I paid $1395 for Drake a few days ago and couldn't be happier. It was a small price to pay knowing I would lose more than that in preparer fees due to not being ready to do returns. TRX says they'll be functional by Jan 30th when the IRS starts accepting returns, but because I not only couldn't totally count on that, I also can't meet with everyone who wants to file right away all on the same day. I'm the only preparer in my office and there aren't that many hours in a day, so the plan is to have everyone's return ready to efile on Jan 30th, not prepare them all on that day. Besides that, there are some people who have already gotten their refunds from my state, and it wasn't till yesterday that TRX started having state programs at all.

Edward
01-25-2013, 10:21 PM
For joanmcq: You mean you are not having any problems with ATX for 2012. Wow, when you look at the official ATX board EVERYONE is having problems. How did you pull this off. Are you using Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8. If you've read some of the recent posts on that board, it appears that ATX has a real serious problem. I'm amazed that you had no problems.

Black Bart
01-26-2013, 07:32 AM
For joanmcq: You mean you are not having any problems with ATX for 2012. Wow, when you look at the official ATX board EVERYONE is having problems. How did you pull this off. Are you using Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8. If you've read some of the recent posts on that board, it appears that ATX has a real serious problem. I'm amazed that you had no problems.

but nothing bad so far except slow rollovers and a few crazy things like the update messages ("UPDATE SUCCESSFUL" followed by "94% of 100% loaded" and "106 of 94 forms loaded" and "94 of 106 forms processed"). Running one XP and one Win 7. But, have only done W-2 and interest income so far, so I'm crossing my fingers and whistling past the graveyard thinking about the Cs, SEs, and especially the 4562 stuff coming later.

These guys talking about Drake's "second-ring" support just kills me -- you can hang on with ATX 'til the twelfth of never. We called Wednesday about a minor (good thing) glitch and threw in the towel after half an hour (I know, I know -- you can't give up before 1 1/2 hours, but it wasn't that serious).

Peachie
01-27-2013, 11:42 AM
I have TRX Pro. It is in very bad shape and almost not usable. I have been using TRX for about three years and it has worked well for me.

I am going to try to use it since I have already paid for it. They have been doing updates every few days. Maybe in a few weeks it will be in reasonable shape.

You and I are using the same program Jim. I realized last week that we've been given an entirely different program than the one we purchased previously by Red Gear. Seems to me like bait and switch tactics, but I renewed early and choose not to start all over, though somehow, that's exactly what we are doing. Once the updates are installed, it gets better.

I have done my tax return and my first client is scheduled for Friday. I'll see how this works out. The States are still not available for download, so I hope all will be in place by January 30.

I am almost sure I will be choosing a new product after this year. I am evaluating TAXACT now and it seems to be one I can live with. It's a bit more expensive than TRX Pro, but my peace of mind, and that of my clientele, is more important than cost now. I don't need a high end program like DRAKE or TAXSLAYER (which I used for 10 years), so I'll not evaluate these.

Yes, we will probably suffer some this season. We have to find a way to make the program work for us though. Good luck.

Peachie

Bill Tubbs
01-27-2013, 12:39 PM
Had to... in my mind, no choice. I had clients coming Friday (ended up with a few cancellations due to weather, but still got 5 done), and it was taking 4 minutes to open a return in ATX [there were only 2 returns in ATX] and no idea when/if the speed would be fixed. Opening the same, basic return in ATX2011 took 17 seconds. I had been toying with the idea of migrating to another software because of the sluggishness of ATX (opening a return as well as pulling up the print screen), but they had been promising speed improvements. Had those speed improvements happened, I would have been very happy to stay with ATX.

As far as where I went to... the other CCH product (ProSeries?) was twice as expensive, and I could not download the current-year software (they HAVE to ship it from California -- to the midwest meant either waiting a week (and paying something for freight) or paying $100 to get it shipped overnight -- and having looked into them Wednesday evening meant there was no way to get it installed and figured out by Fri 8:30am). They did have a web version of their program, but I much prefer installing locally.

TaxAct -- I had been a customer prior to ATX. I think I switched from them because of pricing... my customer base was increasing and the e-filing fees with TaxAct were going to be more than ATX's unlimited (plus I had picked up a few business returns too). The deal-breaker there was not being able to convert any ATX returns into TaxAct. Last year I did over 300 returns, including some with a looooong asset list (Form 4562). I would have like the forms-based entry thought....

Drake -- ended up going buying them. A bit more than ATX, but in the same ballpark. Not really forms-based entry (they have a mode that claims to be forms-based, but when you've been used to ATX's and TaxAct's, it really doesn't compare), but I have been figuring it out and am OK with it. Speed-wise, hands-down MUCH better than ATX. The print screen -- I can see a form and mark whether or not I want it to print -- I haven't had a chance to figure out their "Sets" yet or to see if they could default the print selection to those forms that need to be printed, but I'm generating returns, and that's what really matters.

Bill

JohnH
01-27-2013, 01:19 PM
I like your thought process. I'm planning to switch from ATX to Drake this week as well. I realize it's bit risky and will cause me to spend more time comparing year-to-year results. But right now the choice seems to be between doing that versus monitoring ATX for glitches. At least the former task is building on the future with a known product offering solid customer support.

ATX just isn't delivering, and after seeing all the complaining on the forums, I've lost confidence in their ability to deliver a viable product. Maybe they will magically solve all their remaining major problems with the next update, but I doubt it. There are just too many "work-arounds" being proudly discussed among the ATX cheerleaders right now. We don't need "work-arounds" - we need a stable product which does the job we were promised it would do.

joanmcq
01-28-2013, 12:44 AM
I just efiled my first return with ATX. So we'll see how it goes. Aside from inadvertently locking myself out of the program last night, things haven't been too bad. It did take a while to figure out the 'print packets' feature, but once I did, it's an improvement over previous year's constant unchecking of boxes. I will need some kind of work around if they don't fix the mailing slips, but I won't have any returns that can't be efiled for another few weeks.

taxxcpa
01-28-2013, 06:12 AM
Drake -- ended up going buying them. A bit more than ATX, but in the same ballpark. Not really forms-based entry (they have a mode that claims to be forms-based, but when you've been used to ATX's and TaxAct's, it really doesn't compare), but I have been figuring it out and am OK with it. Speed-wise, hands-down MUCH better than ATX. The print screen -- I can see a form and mark whether or not I want it to print -- I haven't had a chance to figure out their "Sets" yet or to see if they could default the print selection to those forms that need to be printed, but I'm generating returns, and that's what really matters.

Bill
The client set has all of the forms the client needs to see. The Federal set has the forms you would need to mail if you were paper-filing it. The preparer set has a few extras.

I send the client the forms he needs and include the "compare" form so he can compare the current year to prior years--which might alert him that something is missing.

John of PA
01-28-2013, 04:43 PM
A few thoughts from some of the above posts. Drake's bank products range from RAL's, to a web portal where the client can pay the balance due in a more user friendly manner and your fee come right out of the payment, also a web based credit card system, no monthly fees, no equipment, but a higher % fee, around 3%. I do not use the bank products becasue of all the paperwork envolved, but when I was at the Warren Drake seminar (Phil's brother) (better know as the Warren Drake show) in Ohio in Dec., there were many high volumne inner city tax service that used and liked the bank products. Also the comment about the SETS tabs, I don't use them, I totally work with the "all forms" tab and ignore the other tabs (STATE SET, CLIENT SET, GOVT SET) and I find that simplier. Many Happy Returns.

Uncle Sam
01-28-2013, 05:41 PM
Except for 2 posts on this thread - I haven't heard discussion on Ultra Tax.
It's just been a comparison of Drake, ATX, TRX, Proseries, TaxWorks, TaxSlayer, that seem to have
dominated the discussion.

Yes - it's probably more expensive than the others. But in order to obtain a quality product you need
to pay for the features it provides. I've been with Ultra Tax since they bought out Microvision and have
been extremely satisfied. Their tech support is excellent and whoever you talk to will walk you through
the problem for as long as it takes - that's primarily why I stay with UT -and you're not talking to tech
support in a foreign country - it's right here in Dexter, Michigan.
The ease of going in and out of screens, converting from input screens to forms screens, its automatic
recalculation of input adjustments, etc.
The proforma program was sent out just prior to Thanksgiving. The program is up and running, even though
you can't e-file yet.

So if you want only to save dollars - go ahead and jump to the cheaper priced programs.
As I always believed - the smaller cheaper priced companies are eventually going to get bought out by the
big giants - so the savings isn't for long.

Matt Sova
01-28-2013, 05:55 PM
I could not agree with you more Uncle Sam. The integration with all the other CS programs makes the cost of UT go down with the efficiencies you get from the integration. If you are charging what you are worth then top of the line software is the only way to go.

JohnH
01-28-2013, 07:01 PM
I used Ultra Tax for several years, also having come over from Microvision, and I agree UT was a fantastic program. I changed to ATX when my UT price jumped to about $6K, but it happened that I was simplifying at that time. If I were still working at the volume and complexity of returns I was then, I would probably have stayed with UT.

Right now I'm bailing out of ATX and switching to Drake.

Ross
01-28-2013, 09:04 PM
I started using TaxAct back in 1994 when they were called Parson's Personal Tax Edge. In 97 & 98 I had to use Pro Series. Parson's was no longer available. Then in 1999 the makers of Parson's came out w/ TaxAct. I was sure glad to see it again....it was a few hundred dollars less than Pro Series and more user friendly. TaxAct does everything I need it to do. I prepare 130-140 returns out of my home as a side job. I work full time as a controller for a small oil company. I have been using TaxAct's business returns to prepare three 1065s and one 1120s for my day job since 2007. They work just like the 1040 program and are priced right. For a small 1040 practice, you can't beat TaxAct. A week or so ago they had a 1040 special; $479 for all states and unlimited e-filing. I had pre-paid $559. I called them and they refunded $80 to my credit card :).

peggysioux
01-29-2013, 11:06 AM
I just made the switch from TRX Pro to Drake. There is no way TRX is going to have all the bugs out of their software by tomorrow. I, unfortunately, purchased the software in May and am hoping they will refund my money. The catch is TRX states their software is up and running and as long as "up and running" they are not required to refund our money. What they "state" and what is actual is a big difference. What a nightmare - tax season upon us and having to learn a new tax program. Oh well, wishing everyone a good tax season!!