There are also online options. Orange Door, based in San Bruno, Calif., markets its Express Plan as part of its all-Internet-based lineup. That is priced at $300 for the initial license plus $10 per return. That's more suited to preparers with medium volume, says Gabriel Lau, the company's corporate business development officer.
For those with small volumes, Orange Door recommends pricing that is completely based on volume, which ranges from $10 to $20 per return. Otherwise Orange Door's products are priced towards higher at $2,500 for all individual and state returns.
Some paid preparers have been tempted by the much less expensive products such as TaxSlayer, even though it's designed for the consumer, not the professional. Its Extreme Edition is priced at $9.95 per return for preparation and efiling.
TaxAct, marketed by Second Story Software of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is also inexpensive, but offers both consumer and professional versions. Its TaxAct Preparer's 1040 is priced at $99, but at that price, support is not included. The Enterprise Edition, which costs $169, adds unlimited phone and email support along with other features such as a document manager, online backup and the ability to create administrator and user accounts.
"A lot of our preparers are smaller firms," says spokesperson, Jessi Dolmage. And for those businesses, "We're the more affordable solution," she continues.
The company plans to launch a new website for its professional software in the next few months.