Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 18 seconds

Generally, the price of tax preparation software goes up. While some practitioners must look packages with lots of states and forms, there are many with simple needs that can do with much less in software power.

For example, Intuit's ProSeries Basic combines a base price of $479 for fifty 1040 returns and 50 returns for individual returns across two states, and the ability to add returns on a pay-per-return basis. CCH's TaxWise is offered in pay-per-return pricing that starts with $450 for an annual license and non refundable fees and $20 for each federal 1040. Its sister ATX has a 1040 product priced at $480 for all federal 1040 forms and supporting schedules and up to three1040 states.

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.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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