There have been many changes to 1040 tax software over the last year. In preparation for the 2018 tax season, are the latest developments.

Drake Software Offers Optional Hardware to Serve Remote Clients

Drake offers an optional digital signature pad to esign forms and bank applications. A 2D barcode scanner allows importing W-2s or K-1s with 2D barcodes. “Some of the more notable improvements we’re working on will make it easier for preparers to serve the remote client and provide a smooth appointment-free filing experience,” said Jamie Stiles, president of Drake Software. “Streamlining the process of securely transferring documents, communicating with the client, and completing return preparation, including signature and payment, are areas we are focusing on.”

Lacerte from Intuit ProConnect Offers Dual Monitor Support

“[With dual monitors], Lacerte users can speed up their workflow by eliminating the hassle of toggling between input and output screens,” said CeCe Morken, executive vice president and general manager, ProConnect Group of Intuit. “Users set up one monitor as the input screen and see the data flow on their second monitor to validate where it is represented on a tax form.” Lacerte provides automated calculations for depreciation, amortization and debt forgiveness. An optional form reviewer tool allows a CPA to check and edit data before importing. Clients can pay tax prep fees out of their refund. Another option is eSignature which includes a function to collect client payment at the same time. Other add-on options include the Lacerte Tax Analyzer and Lacerte Tax Planner.

ProSeries from Intuit ProConnect Has Fixed Asset Manager Import

“ProSeries’ most-requested feature allows customers to lock returns from being changed once filed, and open previous year returns without mistakenly changing them,” said CeCe Morken, executive vice president and general manager, ProConnect Group of Intuit. A missing client information tool solves tracking down client data by pinpointing input fields with missing information and then sending an email to request data from the client.

A K-1 data import feature transfers data to individual returns. Other features of the Professional version include Quick Entry Sheets, Split Married Filing Joint, Client Checklist, Client Specific Billing Options, Client Advisor with 71 Planning Suggestions, a Tax Planner, Task Scheduler, Client Snapshot and Import from QuickBooks, Quicken and TXF files.

TaxAct Professional Editions Have Additional Security Options

With TaxAct Professional CPAs can organize their client list with Client Manager and track and review what’s occurred within a client return. Professional Reports may be used to track the status of clients’ e-filed returns. There are client letter, invoice and mailing label templates and optional cloud networking. CPAs can backup client returns on TaxAct’s secure servers and save scanned documents with client returns in the Document Manager.

UltraTax CS Increases E-filing

For tax year 2017 Thomson Reuters announced “new electronic filing capabilities for at least 18 filings, spread across a number of states and localities, further limiting the number of returns which practitioners and their clients must file on paper,” UltraTax CS said Jordan Kleinsmith, manager for tax innovation for Thomson Reuters. With UltraTax CS professional tax software up to four separate monitors may be used to view input, forms, prior year input and diagnostics. The forms synchronize with one another, so as a CPA navigates to the Itemized Deduction entry, UltraTax CS navigates to show the Schedule A and last year’s Itemized Deductions entries.

CCH Axcess Tax and ProSystem fx Tax Implement IRS Fraud Prevention Initiatives

“As part of the IRS/ State Tax AgenciesPrivate Sector Industry Security Summit partnership we’ve implemented tax-payer and tax return preparer safeguards,” noted Jill Deems, product line manager, tax, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Improvements for 1040 tax prep include: Jump to Supporting Statement – In Tax Forms view where users will be able to view “see statement” or an icon on any line that includes a statement. Additionally firms can now e-file Form 1040-NR, the U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, according to Deems.

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