Enoch
CEO/Founder
May 19, 2021
10
min read

One of the great things about working on software that integrates with different tax software is that you learn all about the tax software in the market, and what's great about them, what' sucks about them. After some time using each of the tax software, reading through the guides, and testing them, I thought it would be valuable to provide an unbiased view on these tax software, and put together how to decide to stick with which one. Keep in mind that this guide is written on May 19th, 2021 — it might become outdated, but I will keep them updated from time to time.

First, we'll take a look at the annual survey done by the Journal of Accountancy where they received responses from about 2000 AICPA members. According to the survey done by the Journal of Accountancy last year, an interesting pattern emerged among accountants and tax software they use.

Drake Tax was the most popular among firm with one preparer at 27.7%, and Pro series came in second at 21.5%

UltraTax CS from Thomson and Reuters was first - at 26.9% while Lacerte from Intuit came in at 20.6% for the firms with 2-5 preparers

UltraTax CS came In first again at a very high 33% among 6 to 20, and Lacerte and ProSystem each taking around the same at 23~24%

In terms of usability, all the tax software excelled (>4.0/5.0) in all areas like How easy was the update/installation process, How easy was the software to use, How well did it handle update during tax season, How well did it handle transfers of data within returns (except Axcess Tax at 3.8), How easy was electronic filing, How well did it handle multistate business returns, Rate your software's conversion package (Axcess came in at 3.6)

However two categories of rating that came out pretty low were: How well did it integrate with your accounting and other software — and all of them either scored quite low, ranging from 2.8 through 3.7 with UltraTax CS coming on top. Same for "How easy was it to import data?", which all ranged from 3.0 ~ 3.7.

This is understandable because these tax companies like to keep all their software purchases within themselves (and not many incentives to integrate) as more and more 3rd party software excels in doing things like gathering client data, or client communication. Anyways, I've compiled a list for you to check out:

Your mileage may vary but based on our usage:

ProSeries

Pros:

  • Easiest to use/learn compared to others in the list
  • Reliable rarely crashed

Cons:

  • Poor support compared to others
  • Pricey
  • Poor integrations with other modern software.

ATX

Pros:

  • Reliable, crashed only a few times.
  • Very easy to use
  • Comprehensive number of forms
  • Great price
  • Best in tax research

Cons:

  • No Cloud-based support
  • Worst for out of all these tax software in terms of integration with other software.

Drake

Pros:

  • Incredibly cheap compared to the other tax software in the market.
  • Service is great, all the support people are based in the US.
  • Offers hosted solutions

Cons:

  • Crashes quite often - there's a crash almost every other day using the software. Lot's of updates every day.
  • Bad integrations with other modern software. Drake has their own versions like SecurePro, but not that great.
  • Not as comprehensive in terms of forms supported compared to others in the list

UltraTax CS

Pros:

  • Supports many complex forms
  • Cloud-based supported through Citrix for pricier plans
  • Has a lot of the bells and whistles add-ons such as firm management,
  • Decent tax research in the package

Cons:

  • Expensive if you are just starting out. Starts at $2,500/year just for single-user, and support up to 100 individual returns and 25 business return
  • Poor integrations with other modern software.

Posts you may like