Almost every year, professionals who work with taxes face the challenging task of keeping abreast of amendments in state and federal tax laws. As a tax preparer, you need to adjust and carry out the filing accordingly, regardless of the changes you need to stay updated on. However, the pressure to fully understand the updates and efficiently prepare the returns can be burdensome.
Consider using tax software to make tax preparation more manageable. In general, the right tax software can automate the tax preparation process, making your job easier by performing a variety of tasks. These tasks include informing you of the most recent tax law updates, providing quick access to updated forms and client portals, and offering preparation assistance. Hence, finding the best tax software for preparers is critical, whether you’re a new or seasoned professional in the industry.
When searching for the best tax software, you need to think about the requirements related to preparing individual and business tax returns and check whether the software meets those needs. Here are some useful tips that you can follow to find the right professional tax software.
1. Determine The Price Range
One of the important considerations during the selection process is the price of the tax software. Even if you have the budget, aim for an affordable option.
A product that causes you to raise your service fees just to maintain a profitable position may have unintended consequences, such as loss of clients. Most tax software pricing packages typically depend on enterprise size, so you might find a suitable one that can cater to all your tax-related preparation prerequisites.
The price range for most tax software is determined by the number and type of tax forms and documents that the software can file, additional features, such as organizational and accuracy capabilities, and the level of human support required.
2. Confirm If The Software Keeps Up With The Latest Tax Developments
Almost every year, there are changes in the laws to keep up with. Therefore, the tax software should always stay up-to-date. You should set the software to update automatically every day, particularly during tax season.
As a safety precaution, make sure that the tax software notifies you of whether the version of the forms you’re going to use is the latest. Additionally, it should prompt you to update the software before letting you use outdated forms.
3. Find Out The Features The Software Offers
If you want reliable tax software, go for one that boasts all the features of modern software that’s capable of handling various functions. For instance, it should be capable of preparing and filing both state and federal returns for different clients, such as business proprietors, contractors, freelancers, or individuals.
The tax software should make your work easier with the help of useful features, such as e-filing management, electronic file sharing, easy data input, client management tools, and electronic signatures. Other convenient features the software should include are seamless integration of tax forms, refund estimators, integration among federal and state returns, and third-party add-ons with relevant applications, such as accounting and data import products.
Moreover, the tax software should be capable of automating some data entry tasks, like importing data from Excel or QuickBooks, extracting data from source documents utilizing scan-and-fil technology, and downloading tax data directly from financial institutions.
4. Learn About The User Experience
The platform should be simple to navigate and allow you to upload and import documents seamlessly.
Dealing with tax returns can be complex. So, the tax software you choose should allow you to seamlessly transition between forms and have a quick-to-access navigation bar that lets you execute basic functions, like e-filing, printing, and so on.
The software should also offer an interface with a readily accessible menu. In addition, it should ideally be on the side of the screen, allowing you to switch between forms seamlessly, so you should be able to return to the form you’re working on quickly.
5. Check If Customer Support Is Provided
Even if you consider yourself proficient at preparing tax returns, it’s not unusual to face a unique situation new to you. Thus, a good tax software provider should give you the right support. You need to determine if the tax software provider offers email, chat, or phone support in case you have questions.
The majority of software will come with embedded tools that’ll serve as your guide. Most have a FAQ section or a knowledge base with articles, and some even have video tutorials or user forums to help you with any questions you might have.
There should be support with technical knowledge of the software or the tax code as well. Some reputable companies provide email, phone, and text support and even extended hours of service, especially during the peak of the tax season.
6. See If The Software Allows Access To A Variety Of Tax Forms
Regardless of the price and customer support, the tax software you pick won’t be a practical choice if it fails to provide you with the necessary forms. Remember that access to essential documents is a crucial consideration, especially if you’re working with clients from different areas, such as states or neighborhoods. Whether you cater to a few or a lot of clients with out-of-state requirements, the tax software must be capable of producing essential forms automatically, including state and local documents, that you might be unfamiliar with.
Most find it ideal to seek assistance from state and local authorities who can help you gather information about the forms that are needed to file and the tax preparation process you need to follow. However, this isn’t always a good idea. The most suitable approach is to make the most of reliable software that can offer you the necessary forms and instructions.
Tax software continues to change, getting better every year. But it’s important to select the right one that meets your needs. So, take the time to explore your options and evaluate them. With all these tips, you’ll find the best software.