5 Features to Look for When Choosing Tax Software

As a tax preparer, it is your responsibility to file taxes efficiently on behalf of your clients. What you need is a robust tax preparation software that will allow you to do your job effectively with room to scale. Whether you’re unsatisfied with your current tools or simply want to explore your options for your new tax business, knowing a bit about the software you’re purchasing will help ensure that your investment is worth every cent you spend on it.

To help you out, here are five features that you should be looking for in a tax preparation software.

  1. Platform CompatibilityDepending on your specific requirements, you will want to opt for a tax preparer software that will run well on your computer. One consideration is whether you want to use a browser or a desktop-class application.Online tax software can be useful if you want the convenience of operating on different devices in different locations. Web-based tax software operated via internet browsers is usually compatible across platforms—whether you’re using Windows, MacOS, Linux, or even Android and iOS. All you need is an internet connection and any device available to work on your client’s income tax returns.If you want to use a desktop-class tax preparation software, then the obvious drawback will be that you’ll be limited to using one computer. That being said, some desktop versions will have all the major forms and functions built-in. This will allow you to work even without internet access for a while, which is useful in power outages or internet failure. However, you will still need internet access to submit the tax return requirements online—so consider its utility offline, too.
  2. Ease of UseSince taxes are already complicated affairs, your software needs to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible. As a tax preparer, you’ll want software that will allow you to go through tax returns faster, with minimal learning to utilize all functionalities properly.Ease of use can be achieved through good design, free and unlimited software training, and walkthrough features, such as “Guide Me” modes. A good way to measure ease of use is by ensuring that even a relatively newcomer in the tax filing process can use the software to do the job with minimal mistakes.
  3. Robust FunctionalitiesA good tax preparation software will give you access to all the tax forms, allow you to prepare gift and estate taxes, and offer unlimited state returns from all 50 states. Other features that you should be looking for in tax software for preparers are document managers, quick tax estimators, audit protection, refund calculators, and a mobile app.
  4. Reasonable Pricing Some taxation software providers will lure you in with incredibly low fees, for a barebones software that will charge you more if you want to use the features that you actually need.Unfortunately, these results in businesses having to overpay in extra fees to attain features that should have been included in the first place! To avoid this, look for reasonable pricing that brings true value to your business—not deceptively cheap prices that will end up costing you more in the long run!
  5. Strong Data Security Features In the United States, business tax returns are not public documents. This means that financial documents, such as income tax returns, should only be seen by you—as your client’s representative—and the Internal Revenue Service.In this area, web-based tax preparation software can be safer than desktop-class tax software that stores your information in a physical drive that can be stolen rather easily. This is because cloud-based data security protocols are more robust, and use sophisticated data protection at the data center level that contains your data.That being said, using online tax software can still be compromised if you use public computers, such as those found in coffee shops, printing stores, and inadequately regulated offices.
Conclusion

When it comes to tax preparation software, it always pays to do your research. As a business, you will want the option to handle everything from the simplest tax return to the most complicated tax filing possible. By looking for these five qualities in a tax preparation software, you should be able to make informed decisions and achieve your goals for your tax preparation business.

Are you looking for tax software to help streamline your tax preparation process? Keystone Tax Solutions provides the best professional tax software for tax preparers in the United States. Our professional tax preparation software is 100% web-based and is designed to grow your tax preparation business. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!

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