2020 Professional Tax Software
Comparison Chart

As a tax preparer, you may want to know what's the best professional tax software for you? To save you research time, this tax software comparison chart offers a quick look at each major product’s key features. Additional product reviews follow below.

Customer satisfaction has been vital to the success of UltimateTax. Providing satisfaction entails giving customers what they need. You deserve to be equipped with the information required to make the appropriate purchasing decision.

As the customer, you want to be properly informed of all possible options before choosing to go with one tax software product.

This professional tax software guide will help you compare these options. Consult it to make the right decision in selecting the best tax software matching your needs as a preparer.

The guide strives to offer you a fair and honest comparison of tax preparation business software. If you feel that any information needs updating or correcting, click here to leave your comment. Your feedback as a preparer is highly welcome.

List of Professional Tax Software in No Particular Order

Software Price Data Entry Style
Form | Interview
All States Included
*No up charge
All Federal Tax Form Included Unlimited 1040 E-file Corporate Returns
UltimateTax PPRGo to page Read Review $199
UltimateTax Online 1040Go to page Read Review $588
UltimateTax Desktop 1040Go to page Read Review $688
UltimateTax Desktop 1040 + CorporateGo to page Read Review $888
ATXGo to page Read Review $4,485
CCH ProSystems fx Read Review requires call with salesman
TaxWiseGo to page Read Review $2,739
Federal Direct TaxGo to page Read Review $2,499
Intuit ProSeriesGo to page Read Review $2,602
UltraTaxGo to page Read Review $2,500
Drake SoftwareGo to page Read Review $1,695
UltimateDRGo to page Read Review $999
TaxSlayerGo to page Read Review $1,495
CrossLinkGo to page Read Review requires call with salesman
TaxActGo to page Read Review $1,600
MyTaxPrepOfficeRead Review $1,095
Olt ProRead Review $749

Prices reflect January 4, 2021.

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Evaluating The Professional Tax Software Products

Our in-house team has hands-on experience with many of the tax software programs listed here, and tested the others. This experience has informed the comparison guide. While individual preferences may differ, the team has come to a consensus on the main criteria for evaluating tax professional software:

Robust Features: Does the software provide all of the essential tax prep features? Does it provide tax return e-filing, all vital forms and schedules, all state modules, status reports and multi-user access?

Platform Availability: Is the professional tax preparation software available on a desktop setup, a web-based platform—or both?

Ease of Use: Do you find the tax software easy to install and easy to use? Are the program settings and functions clear and accessible?

User Experience: Does the software make electronic tax preparation a relatively simple and intuitive process? Will it help you find and fill out the correct forms?

Time Saving & Cost Saving: Does the software facilitate completion of a tax return in a timely manner? Is it possible to file multiple returns or access various forms without paying additional fees?

Return Validation: Does using this professional tax software help you mitigate errors? Are there diagnostic tools that will tell you whether your filled-out form is correct and complete?

Customer Support: Is tax pro advice and user assistance readily available? In what ways is support provided? Can you access an online help database to search for information?

Trustworthiness: Does the product offer reliable data security in the online transmission and storage of user information?

Service Integration: Can you use the software to collect IRS refunds via bank products to earn additional revenue? What bank products are supported? What other services are supported?

A Word About Price Comparison

One metric left to discuss is: Affordability. Practically every one of these products will tick all the required boxes⁠. Does that point to pricing as the main factor differentiating the various options?

Keep in mind that pricing variations arise from companies targeting separate categories of users. Low-priced tax software options are aimed at new tax preparers, boutique agencies and cost-cutting businesses. Mid-priced offerings serve mid-sized offices, while enterprise editions cater to high-volume tax preparation businesses handling corporate clientele.

Up-market products may include features not offered by the lower priced options. These premium features might not be essential to all tax preparation services.

Branding is also a key factor in pricing. An established firm such as Intuit can have the market advantage to support higher prices.

Thus the determining factor is not price alone, but value for price. You’re looking to get the best value tax software available⁠—one that will satisfy your precise needs at a price point you can be happy about.

One more thing to keep in mind: it can be a good idea to purchase your software long before the tax season begins. Many products are available at a discounted rate if bought several months before the tax season. The prices on this comparison chart are based on the MSRP of the products. You may be able to find them at a lower price point.

Professional Tax Software Reviews

UltimateTax

Price Range: $199 - $888 / $588 (online)

UT LogoSummary: UltimateTax offers cost-effective, feature-rich products at affordable prices⁠—including the most affordable corporate bundle.

The UltimateTax family of products caters to a wide range of users, from new tax preparers to industry veterans. This includes a mobile app, newly launched in 2020. Though they differ in a few key aspects, all UltimateTax software versions are very similar in how they operate and function.

UltimateTax makes it easy for you to learn the software and get it to work for your needs. It is a feature-rich program that is very competitively priced in several market brackets. UltimateTax includes all state and federal forms.

Data entry is accomplished via form input or interview mode. New tax preparers will benefit from the latter mode, which guides you through the process of gathering the essential information needed for an eligible tax return. Interview mode provides additional ease of use, facilitates a better tax prep experience and enhances your rapport with clients.

At $199, UltimateTax Pay-Per-Return (PPR) is the one of the most affordable professional tax software products in its category. It is best suited to tax preparers who handle fewer than 30 returns a year.

Landing Page ScreenshotUltimateTax PPR supports both e-filing and paper filing. (You must have an EFIN to e-file returns.) Either option enjoys the same rate of $15 for every return filed. It also supports corporate return e-filing upon customer request, with a small additional charge for every return.

Its user-friendly Smart Diagnostics can be used to check calculations in order to minimize tax form rejections and save time.

The software runs as an online application. You can access it from any standard web browser. UltimateTax Pay-Per-Return can operate on a desktop, laptop or even a tablet.

Those wanting unlimited e-filing at no extra cost can opt for either UltimateTax Online 1040 ($588) or UltimateTax Desktop 1040 ($688).

UltimateTax Online 1040 is perfect for the on-the-go professional. You don’t need to install anything. Access the online tax software from anywhere, file unlimited 1040 returns electronically, view real-time progress reports, and grant program access to as many as 3 users.

Current trends indicate that the industry will be adopting cloud-based tax software for professional services on a more widespread scale in the near future. The UltimateTax company is looking forward and gearing up to meet this demand. It is committed to providing as much development and support to online platforms as well as to desktop products.

UltimateTax Desktop 1040 can be installed on multiple workstations within a pre-existing network environment. An unlimited number of users can have access to UltimateTax Desktop 1040 in your office.

For tax preparers operating on the enterprise level, UltimateTax Desktop 1040+ Corporate grants you the ability to file unlimited corporate returns electronically. This version will serve many CPAs and EAs very well.

It might not include all possible features that can be found on competing products with a Corporate focus. But with an MSRP of $888, UltimateTax Desktop 1040+ Corporate is the most affordable corporate returns package on the market. It is certainly the lowest price option that allows for unlimited corporate e-filing.

UltimateTax places a strong emphasis on customer support, offered through its 365 Service. An in-house team provides year-round technical assistance at no additional cost to UltimateTax users. You can contact a help agent via phone, email or live chat. All customer support agents are based in the USA.

You can get bank product options that let your firm process IRS refunds faster for clients and earn additional revenue through rebates. It has partnered with EPS Financial and the Santa Barbara Tax Products Group (TPG) to offer you this service. (For customers in the states of Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland and New York that prohibit standard bank products, UltimateTax offers a FeeCollect option.)

For your information, UltimateTax works in partnership with TaxWise for tax calculations and e-filing functions. The UltimateTax software adds several proprietary features, including 365 Service and the easy-to-use Launchpad workflow optimizer.

TaxWise

Price Range: $599 - $2,739 (desktop) / $299-$1,729+ (online)

Taxwise LogoSummary: Offers bilingual accessibility and a host of instructional resources (including live and on-demand webinars).

TaxWise not only provides tax preparers software, it seeks to equip you with additional knowledge through live stream sessions and on-demand tax pro webinars.

If you compare TaxWise with UltimateTax, you’ll find that both tax software programs offer similar features: form-entry and interview modes, local or network installation, interface customization, diagnostics, online tax preparation and bank product integration.

Taxwise ScreenshotTaxWise is not priced as competitively as UltimateTax, even though the products share many of the same features. For example, the TaxWise Pay-Per-Return version costs $599, substantially more expensive than the $199 UltimateTax Pay-Per-Return software.

TaxWise does offer comprehensive Spanish language support, providing over 60 forms and schedules in Spanish. Bilingual customer support is available.

Another nice TaxWise resource is its Tax Help menu that gives you access to research and educational materials, including Line Explanations, Practice Aids, IRS publications, the U.S. Master Tax Guide, a Forms Library and an online community forum. But some materials are only available to buyers of the premium-price TaxWise Power software.

If they wish to learn more, users can attend the TaxWise live webinars that cover trends and other hot topics in the tax industry. A select number of webinars are also available via on-demand access. Some of this information is accessible on the TaxWise YouTube channel as well.

TaxWise comes in three versions: TaxWise Pay-Per-Return, TaxWise ProFiling ($1,199) and TaxWise Power ($2,739).

Pay-Per-Return gives access to all types of tax returns, but not many other services. ProFiling offers a more complete service package, but is limited to standard federal and state individual returns. TaxWise Power includes a comprehensive service package, all types of returns and top-level tax research support.

All TaxWise products may require an additional fee for the electronic filing of returns. An EFIN is required for this.

If you’re looking for a cloud-based application, check out TaxWise Online, which is available in several price tiers. Online Essentials ($299) supports a single user. Online Pro ($1,219) and Online Pro Mobile ($1,729) both support up to three users. Online Enterprise Mobile serves up to ten users. Its price is not stated⁠—you have to contact Wolters Kluwer for that info.

A small additional fee (not specified) covers e-filing of federal, extension and state returns. The Pro and Enterprise packages charge a $59 processing fee.

Customer support is available via a Solution Center on the Wolters Kluwer web site. The center hosts a troubleshooting knowledge base, video library and “ask the community” section. You can also chat with a virtual representative or call the customer support desk.

TaxWise offers bank product integration with the following partners: Santa Barbara Tax Products Group (TPG), 3Fund, Republic Bank, River City, Refund Advantage and EPS.

Drake Tax Software

Price Range: $330 - $1,695 (desktop) / $99 per mo. + software license (online)
UltimateDR price: $999-$1,099

Drake LogoSummary: Focuses on speedy tax preparation via automatic form filling and offers multiple tax-year analysis. Plays well with Drake Accounting software.

Drake Software offers a professional tax management suite that caters to small and medium-sized accounting offices. It is offered on two platforms: Drake on the Desktop and Drake in the Cloud, their web-hosted version.

The desktop version comes in a Pay-Per-Return option priced at $330 with a $22 charge per return filed with the IRS. The Drake software also has an Unlimited option supporting unlimited e-filing, priced at $1,595. You can add on the Drake Accounting Pro software for an additional fee, or purchase a joint bundle for $1,695.

Drake ScreenDrake in the Cloud costs $99/month per user, plus the cost of the software license for Drake Tax, Drake Accounting or the joint bundle.

The software supports the following tax forms and schedules: 1040, 1040 NR, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 1120H, 706, 709, 990, 1041.

Drake Software likes to tout its time-saving data flow capabilities. Its tax software automatically calculates returns as you enter information. You can set up shortcut keys and macros to speed up tax form filling.

The program simplifies many tax prep jobs. For example, it can automatically export K-1 tax information to Form 1040, as well as export parents’ tax information on Form 8615 to a child’s Form 8615.

The speedy automatic calculations will quickly inform tax practitioners whether a return is eligible for e-filing. The built-in estimator will give you the amount of a client’s IRS refund.

For faster e-filing, Drake Tax users can instantly approve completed returns via built-in PIN and consent screens. The e-filing function lets you attach PDF documents to tax returns.

You can further speed up tax preparation using optional hardware add-ons. These include an e-signature pad and a 2D barcode scanner. The signature pad can simplify electronic tax filing by letting clients digitally sign returns. The barcode scanner enables importing data from W-2s or K-1s with 2D barcodes.

The Drake Tax suite includes a few key analytical tools. One popular feature allows you to compare taxes year to year on a single worksheet. The tool can analyze multiple tax years in one go.

Should customers have problems using the tax preparation software, they can avail of support via phone or email. You can also tap the Drake web site that hosts an easy-to-use knowledge base of troubleshooting information.

Drake Software provides some Spanish-language support to its customers, though it is not as robust as what TaxWise includes. Drake Tax offers 12 taxpayer forms in Spanish.

Bank product integration does not appear to be a feature of Drake Tax at this time.

Drake Tax Software is purchasable through the official Drake Tax site. You can also purchase Drake through UltimateTax for a much lower price.

Drake is offered under the UltimateDR package at $999. That gives you unlimited e-filing of individual income tax returns. For an additional $100, you can add support for corporate returns and other features to help your tax preparation business serve corporate clients.

CrossLink

Price Range: Not available. Requires long phone call with sales representative.

Crosslink logoSummary: Appears to be a good all-rounder tax preparation solution, but there is limited online documentation of the software features⁠—try the demo on their website before you purchase.

CrossLink focuses on providing a professional desktop solution for high-volume tax return preparation. As of this year, the CrossLink 1040 software includes both form-based and interview-style data entry modes.

CrossLink 1040 features an attractive interface that should appeal to the tech inclined. The desktop program emphasizes efficient tax form preparation aided by electronic tools to keep your work accurate and up-to-date. Point-and-Shoot Error Correction™ leads you straight to input errors for convenience.

Crosslink ScreenIf you have an EFIN, you can use the program for e-filing. Its Work-In-Progress Screen can provide instant status checks on e-filed returns. View IRS acknowledgements and rejections promptly.

CrossLink 1040 supports automatic tax calculators that can handle all states, all city tax returns and home-based business filing for Schedules A, C, E, F, and K-1, plus Forms 2106 and 4835.

CrossLink Business is a more advanced software option that is fully integrated with CrossLink 1040. It is touted as a complete solution for processing a high volume of tax returns.

Its features include an easy-to-use management dashboard that streamlines multi-office tax preparation. You can set up sub-sites that can all be supervised from a single location. You can view all returns processed to help your tax preparation business maintain quality assurance.

CrossLink Business also supports electronic signature pads and handheld scanners. You can scan tax documents and associate them with the client’s return within the software. This makes it possible for your firm to run a paperless office.

CrossLink Business features QuickBooks and Xero integration. The official site states that it supports bank integration but provides no further information regarding bank products.

If you are looking for a cloud-hosted service, you can opt for CrossLink Online. It has many of the features of CrossLink 1040 and can be accessed via web browser, tablet or mobile device.

CrossLink provides technical support through phone, fax and email.

Intuit ProSeries

Price Range: $539 - $2,602 (desktop) / pay-per-return (online)

ProSeries LogoSummary: ProSeries Basic appears too limited in features, while ProSeries Professional offers a comprehensive option targeted at QuickBooks offices - although the time savings from integration are not significant.

Intuit is an established company whose accounting software QuickBooks is widely used. A tax pro will be able to transfer data directly from the QuickBooks desktop program to the ProSeries desktop version. And one using QB Online will be able to transfer data to the ProSeries online version. But data verification will still be necessary in both cases, which can take a fair amount of time. By itself, this feature is not enough to place ProSeries ahead of other tax software options.

Intuit ProSeries comes in two desktop-only versions, ProSeries Basic and ProSeries Professional. ProSeries Basic is quite limited (as detailed below). Tax preparers will get more out of ProSeries Professional, which offers QuickBooks integration, cloud-based data hosting, support for multi-user access and a Schedule K-1 import feature. Both ProSeries versions support tax return e-filing if you have a registered EFIN.

ProSeries ScreenProSeries Basic only provides Form 1040 filing. Most tax preparers will find this inadequate for servicing the needs of a diverse clientele. Indeed, almost one-third of ProSeries Basic customers (29%) singled out its lack of forms as a serious inconvenience, according to a 2017 CPA Journal survey. As many as 207 survey respondents said that they switched from ProSeries to a different taxes software for professional purposes⁠—with the majority going to UltraTax or Drake.

ProSeries Professional is the more robust option, including over 3,500 tax forms and schedules. It is available in four pricing tiers, including Pay-Per-Return (which charges $45 per 1040/1040 NR filing and $43 per state return) and 1040 Complete (allowing unlimited 1040 returns but charging $45 per 1040 NR return and $43 per state return).

The MSRP for ProSeries Pay-Per-Return is $539, while for 1040 Complete it is $2,602. The MSRP is not stated for the other two pricing tiers, Choice 200 and Power Tax Library. You have to call an 844 number and speak with a sales representative to get pricing info.

For your information, ProSeries Choice 200 is offered only to new customers.

ProSeries runs on the desktop. Intuit’s new product ProConnect Tax is a cloud-based professional tax preparer software for web browsers and mobile platforms. According to customer reviews on TrustRadius, ProConnect Tax demonstrates accuracy and ease of use, but the software has a clunky interface and it is not a good fit for processing a high volume of returns.

ProConnect lets you use the software and pay when you file. You have a choice of several pay-per-return packages, offering different fees depending on volume. There are packages for individual returns and for business returns.

ProSeries and ProConnect users can rely on Intuit’s solid help and support resources. The website hosts a Customer Help Center providing useful information on ProSeries. It offers FAQs, articles and ProSeries tutorial videos. You can also seek help from a live community of ProSeries users.

Telephone, email and chat support options are also available, with customer support costs bundled into the ProSeries software pricing.

TaxSlayer Pro

Price Range: $1,195 - $1,495 (desktop) / $1,395 (online)

TaxSlayer logoSummary: Comprehensive e-filing and bank product support on desktop, but limited corporate tax software features on its online version.

TaxSlayer Pro is packed with the features you would expect from professional tax software: multiple tax forms and schedules, all state tax returns, e-filing, error checking, cloud-based reporting, IRS refund estimation, unlimited customer support and a wide range of bank product solutions.

TaxSlayer ScreenThe tax prep software is available in three versions: Classic, Premium and Web. All versions support free unlimited 1040 e-filing for preparers with an EFIN. Classic ($1,195) and Premium ($1,495) provide for individual and corporate tax return filing. The Web version ($1,395) has more limited corporate options (you are directed to call for details).

Buyers of the Web and Premium versions also get support for digital signatures, access to a client portal and use of a mobile app called TaxesToGo. TaxSlayer Pro Web is the only version with Spanish-language support and the only one compatible with Mac OS.

The Web software is cloud-based, making it accessible even when you are not in the office. You can use it from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection.

The TaxSlayer Pro website hosts a searchable information base with solutions to problems related to their desktop and cloud-based software. Customers can also check out instructional videos and help articles, or access complimentary email and live phone support.

TaxSlayer Pro offers several bank products including Republic Bank, EPS Tax, Refund Advantage and Refundo.

TaxAct Professional Edition

Price Range: $140 - $1,600 (desktop)

TaxActSummary: Scalable software bundle pricing lets you pay only for the user licenses and the federal and state returns you need⁠—though this adds an extra layer of complexity to your decision-making and purchasing.

TaxAct software for professionals has undergone some much-needed changes since its last review. Data entry now supports both standard form entry and the Question & Answer method (basically an interview mode for eliciting responses from clients).

You can also use software Assistants to guide you through the process of filling data entry fields. These include a topics assistant and a stock assistant. An import wizard provides a tool for quickly transferring data from another application, speeding up task prep.

TaxAct ScreenTaxAct Professional features include e-filing, tax planning calculators, professional reports and a client manager. Technical support is available through phone and email. Information is also provided via a web-hosted tax pro knowledge base.

You can choose to purchase the low-cost Pay Per Return option at a competitive price of $140, which grants you a single user license and a single federal edition (1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S or 990). The tax software is scalable, meaning that you can purchase additional federal editions you need at $140 per edition. State editions are sold separately.

Under the Pay Per Return option, you pay an additional $15 per e-filed federal return and $35 per state.

You can enjoy unlimited 1040 e-filing if you purchase the TaxAct 1040 Bundle, which also includes all state 1040s. The base 1040 Bundle ($640) limits you to a single user license, but you can purchase an enterprise edition ($755) that adds multi-user networking, online server backup and a cloud storage option

If you want to file other types of tax returns, you can purchase their Complete Bundle. It supports unlimited e-filing of 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120S, 1120 and 990 federal returns and all state returns. Once again, the base bundle ($1,250) limits you to a single user license, while the complete enterprise bundle ($1,600) includes multi-user networking, online data backup and cloud storage.

TaxAct Professional features bank product integration with the Republic Bank refund transfer program.

Customer service includes email support and phone support (319 area code).

Olt Pro

Price Range: $749 (desktop) / $399-$649 (online)

Olt LogoSummary: Olt Pro specializes in supporting cloud-based professional tax software for preparers, but it needs to be more user-friendly. Not ideal for a high volume of corporate returns.

Originally a web-based tax preparation service portal, Olt Pro has since developed a comparable desktop version. Its suite of tax pro applications is priced at the affordable end of the market.

Olt Pro 25 Return is priced at only $399 and is available as a web application only. Geared toward tax preparers handling a low volume of returns, this package only allows you to e-file up to 25 returns with the IRS. Individual 1040, 1040NR, 1120, 1120S, 1065, 1041, 2290, 990, 720, 8849 along with all state tax returns included. E-filing is free.

Olt ScreenYou also get free customer support and a multi-user setup, so this package certainly has attractive features. But the limit on returns is too severe for most tax preparation businesses. It is up to you to decide whether this undercuts its value for your tax business.

Their flagship product appears to be Olt Pro Web ($649), also web-only. It is practically the same package with the addition of unlimited returns. It also includes the same business tax forms as are in the desktop application.

The web service is very fast with a clean, spare UI. This minimalist interface is quick-loading but lacking in guidance features. During the data entry process in form mode, you can be presented with a large number of options. It can be confusing to a new tax preparer. If you are a seasoned tax pro, this might not be an issue.

An alternative interview mode for data entry provides a more client-focused approach that will appeal to some tax software professionals. It does take more time to complete a tax return using this mode, though. As long as it takes to consult with your clients and elicit accurate information.

Overall, this web-based tax preparation software is fast and feature-heavy, but can be confusing and awkward to use. It could stand to be more user-friendly.

Olt Pro Desktop ($749) is basically a desktop version of Olt Pro Web with a few additional features: auto backup, networking capability and import/export functions. It can only be installed on Windows machines.

Customer service includes toll-free phone support, remote support (online), and email support.

Olt Pro does not appear to support any bank products.

ATX

Price Range: $597 - $4,485 (desktop only)

ATXSummary: Tax professionals software that provides a large number of IRS forms and schedules including most business tax forms. It lacks an online application.

ATX by Wolters Kluwer has a very comprehensive tax form library that includes around 6,000 tax compliance forms. It has most business returns, making it an attractive product for someone servicing a large number of business or corporate clients.

Its tax pro library is supported by research resources to help you find information quickly. These include the U.S. Master Tax Guide and (on select packages) the AnswerConnect service.

One new ATX feature this year is software integration with QuickBooks Online, allowing you to import data to 1040 Schedule C, 1065, 1120, or 1120S forms.

ATX ScreenThe software is available in a variety of packages. ATX Pay-Per-Return is the most affordable one at $597, though it requires additional payments for filing returns. It charges $32 per individual federal return and accompanying state return, and $57 per business federal and attached state. E-filing is supported if you have an EFIN.

The next option is the ATX 1040 Package with an MSRP of $799. This package is limited to three states and 75 free e-filings.

ATX Max ($1,880) is their most popular package. It includes all state and federal returns along with unlimited free e-filing. You also get in-line help options on the tax form entry screen. Great for ease of use.

You can fill up the tax form using the direct entry method or the alternative interview method, a feature now present in ATX as of this year.

The high-end ATX packages include Total Tax Office ($2,729) and ATX Advantage ($4,485). The Advantage option adds on concierge care and conversion services.

ATX customers can call a tech support line or email for help and information. Additional fees are not charged for customer support.

Bank product integration allows tax preparers to help clients claim IRS refunds more quickly and collect your fees directly from such refunds. ATX supports integration with the Santa Barbara Tax Products Group (TPG) and 3Fund.

One thing ATX is lacking is an online or mobile version of their professional tax software. You will be tied to a desktop if you go with ATX.

MyTaxPrepOffice

Price Range: $495 - $1,095 (online)

MyTaxPrepOffice LogoSummary: Cloud-based system suitable for mobile workers and for in-person consultations with clients.

MyTAXPrepOffice offers a web-based tax software for professionals that runs on your web browser. You can access your MyTAXPrepOffice account from your workstation, laptop, tablet or mobile device.

There is no desktop-based application. But the tax software does have an offline mode so that you can work on a project even when you are not connected online. Once you connect, MyTAXPrepOffice will sync with the cloud. This will update your project with any offline amendments.

MyTaxPrepOffice ScreenMyTAXPrepOffice has a customizable widget-based dashboard. You can alter the layout and color settings for ease of use. You can select the widgets you want displayed. Available widgets include Recent Returns, E-File Summary, E-File Status, Rejected Summary, News Summary, Financial Products and Appointment List.

The primary focus of the software is tax preparation, of course. It offers free unlimited e-filing on all MyTAXPrepOffice plans. These include Individual Pro ($495), Essential Plan ($795) and Unlimited Plan ($1,095).

Individual Pro supports a single user account, while Essential is good for only two users. You can add extra users at $20 per account. The Unlimited Plan supports unlimited user accounts.

With the Individual Pro plan, you get 5GB of data storage on MyTAXPrepOffice servers. On the Essential plan, you get as much as 10GB of storage. Additional storage space can be purchased at $20 per 5GB. The Unlimited Plan supports unlimited storage.

As for which returns you can e-file⁠—Individual Pro is for individual 1040 returns only, with all states included.

Essential is the most popular plan. It supports individual and business returns, including Form 1065, 1120, 1120S, 1041, 990, 706 and 709. All states are included.

Unlimited offers the same income tax and business tax forms. It also adds multi-office management capabilities.

Form filling can be accomplished using a direct form entry mode or an interview mode. If you need help preparing a return, you can consult the user-friendly Guide Me feature that explains specific form requirements in detail.

The software can be used with a Signature Pad app. This lets you obtain client signatures on documents electronically.

One major issue with MyTAXPrepOffice in the past was the lack of a client portal. That has been rectified in 2020, and you can now access MyTAXPortal from within the application. Using the client portal, your firm can share documents with your clients through a secure transfer setup.

MyTAXPrepOffice provides information and training resources on its website. It has daily live webinars as well as a library of instructional videos.

Customers can seek assistance in several ways, including phone, email and chat support.

MyTAXPrepOffice supports these integrated bank products: EPS Navigator, Santa Barbara Tax Products Group (TPG) and Refund Advantage.

UltraTax CS

Price Range: $2,500 for the Express version, must request a quote for the standard version

UltraTax LogoSummary: Powerful tax preparation software best used in combination with other CS Professional suite programs that add a ton of functionality.

UltraTax CS belongs to the Thomson Reuters CS Professional suite of applications. It integrates smoothly with the other applications, including the Onvio cloud software. UltraTax CS offers an efficient tax preparation solution suitable for mid- to high-volume tax filers.

Thomson Reuters now also offers a scaled-down version called UltraTax CS Express that is available only to new customers. It is currently priced at $2,500 and locked in at that price for three years (subject to price increases thereafter).

UltraTax CS Express supports single-user access and up to 100 e-filings. You can use it to e-file a maximum of 100 individual 1040 federal returns. Or you can file a maximum of 25 business returns (990, 1120, 1065, 1041), which will be deducted from your total e-filing allotment.

UltraTax ScreenIt does not include all state returns. For your information, you are limited to a maximum of 10 states with UltraTax CS Express.

The Express version comes packaged with Checkpoint Learning Professional CPE access that is not available with the standard tax software version. Through Checkpoint, Express customers can take over 400 online tax pro courses providing EA and CPA continuing education.

The original UltraTax CS product is the more popular option. It supports unlimited e-filing and unlimited users. It carries a more comprehensive slate of IRS forms and schedules, including all state returns. With UltraTax CS, you can e-file Forms 706, 709, 990, 1040, 1041, 1120, 1120C, 1120S and 5500, plus FinCEN Form 114.

The professional tax software relies on a form entry mode for clients’ information. This is supported by built-in diagnostics, plus the ability to access the Help and How-to Center from any program screen. You can also avail of free telephone support or request information via email or fax.

UltraTax CS gains extra functionality from being used alongside other CS Professional suite products. These include Accounting CS, Accounting CS Payroll, FileCabinet CS, Fixed Assets CS, NetClient CS, Planner CS, Practice CS, Virtual Office CS and Workpapers CS, among others.

Operating multiple integrated suite applications can enhance your workflow and improve office efficiency. Integrated use of UltraTax CS and Workpapers CS provides handy document management capabilities. If you seek support for a paperless office, you’ll want to use UltraTax CS together with FileCabinet CS. If you want to boost practice management, get Practice CS. And so on.

UltraTax CS is lacking a dedicated mobile app, but if you have NetClient CS Mobile, you can view all client tax returns on your smartphone.

There is no set price for UltraTax CS. You need to request a quote via phone call or online form submission. The price will vary depending on the number of users and choice of software deployment options. The software can be installed on a workstation, hosted on a cloud via Virtual Office CS or leased as a SaaS solution.

 UltraTax CS does not appear to offer bank product integration.

CCH ProSystem fx Tax

Price Range: Up-market software, must request quote as price varies depending on modules acquired.

CCH’s ProSystem fx LogoSummary: High-end tax pro solution priced at a premium. Delivers greater functionality when integrated with other CCH ProSystem fx Suite applications.

CCH ProSystem fx Tax is an advanced preparer tax software product from Wolters Kluwer. It is a highly automated tax compliance system. It aims to maximize speed and efficiency while maintaining general ease of use.

The software includes thousands of automatically calculating sheets covering federal, state, city and county returns. Form eligibility can be checked by running diagnostics.

E-filing is supported. You can easily check the e-file status of any return using the program. You can also use your mobile device.

CCH’s ProSystem fx ScreenThere is no set price for the tax software. Pricing varies depending on the number of users and the modules obtained. You can purchase modules individually or bundled together. Available modules include Individual, Partnership, Corporation, Exempt Organization, Estate and Gift, Fiduciary and Employee Benefit Plan.

It is ideal to use the professional tax software in conjunction with other CCH ProSystem fx Suite applications. This enables an efficient combined workflow for your office.

For example, you can use CCH ProSystem fx Scan with CCH ProSystem fx Tax to achieve effective 1040/1041 data import from scanned documents.

Your firm can store client information, electronic workpapers and other information using CCH ProSystem fx Document. You can do intensive research via access to the Wolters Kluwer knowledge base using CCH IntelliConnect.

Other suite applications include CCH Axcess Workstream, CCH KnowledgeConnect, CCH ProSystem fx Engagement, CCH ProSystem fx Planning and CCH ProSystem fx Practice Management software.

CCH ProSystem fx Tax software professional services run as an on-premise installation. If you are looking for a cloud-hosted, fully digital tax filing solution, check out CCH Axcess Tax. It offers much of the same functionality with a fully digital tax workflow and online access from anywhere.

CCH Axcess Tax is natively linked to CCH IntelliConnect, making it easy to use in researching topics⁠ without leaving your current tax return project.

Wolters Kluwer states that the CCH Axcess Tax is capable of integrating with many cloud-based third-party applications. You can also add support for related software, including CCH Axcess Document, CCH Axcess Workstream, CCH Axcess Practice and a Client Portal.

CCH ProSystem fx Tax customers who need tax information or technical support can call for assistance or chat with a virtual representative.

Federal Direct Tax

Price Range: $299 - $2,499

Federal Direct Tax LogoSummary: Tax business partnership package that includes cloud-based tax software. It is supported by additional resources to aid you in marketing and research.

Federal Direct Tax provides cloud-hosted software for tax professionals along with other related services: technical support, tax preparer training and IRS registration assistance.

The software supports tax return e-filing and you can track the e-file status of a return in real time. You can use an interview method to fill in client data on any tax return.

Federal Direct Tax offers four partnership packages at different price tiers. The Quick Start ($299) and Silver ($599) packages come with all individual forms and schedules. Silver also includes marketing resources to help you attract clients.

The Gold ($999) package is the most popular choice. It grants you professional-grade tax software, all individual returns, all individual state returns, tax office marketing resources and data backup services.

The high-end Platinum ($2,499) package adds on a corporate tax software module along with corporate tax forms and schedules. You will be able to file Form 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 990 and 706. It also includes immigrant tax filing resources.

Platinum includes both desktop and web-based software for tax preparers.

In keeping with its partnership ethos, Federal Direct Tax provides access to their in-house tax professionals and IRS Enrolled Agents. You can call to ask for tax pro advice. Technical support is available over the phone. This can be coupled with a browser-based HelpDesk app that shares your screen with the support technician.

Bank product integration is not available, but you can make use of rapid tax refund options. You can offer your clients as much as $2,500 as an advance on their IRS refunds.

Professional Tax Software Recommendations at a Glance

On a tight budget? 

UltimateTax Pay-Per-Return (PPR) can’t be beat on value for price. It’s highly affordable and user friendly, especially for tax preparers managing a low volume of returns. The software is incredibly easy to use and navigate, making it a good option for those newly entering the tax preparation scene. You can opt for a cheaper option in TaxAct Pay-Per-Return, but it is more limited and does not support corporate returns. Also consider making your purchase several months before the tax season, when discounted rates may be available.

Starting a new tax preparation business?

Try UltimateTax 1040 Unlimited or Drake Tax Software Unlimited (available via the UltimateDR package at an unbeatable price). They both offer unlimited e-filing and a host of other great features for a competitive price. Another possible option is the ATX 1040 Package, although it is limited to three state returns and 75 free e-filings. That might be enough for a new firm, but it is something worth careful consideration.

Looking for a mobile tax preparation solution?

Your options include UltimateTax Online 1040, Olt Pro Web, MyTAXPrepOffice Essential and TaxSlayer Pro Web. UltimateTax is the most affordable choice among all these. TaxSlayer is best for tax prep of individual income tax returns. It has only limited support for corporate returns (call them for further details).

Serving a lot of Spanish-speaking clients?

TaxWise features comprehensive Spanish language support, having over 60 forms and schedules available in Spanish. Customers can expect bilingual tech support services. UltimateTax also has Spanish forms available on all product versions. You can apply the user-friendly interview mode in assisting your Spanish-speaking clients to fill data entry fields.

Starting to take on corporate clients? 

UltimateTax Desktop 1040+ Corporate is definitely the most affordable software designed for corporate tax preparation. It gives you unlimited corporate return e-filing. If for some reason you feel it is not for you, try TaxSlayer Pro Premium or TaxAct Professional Complete.

Looking for software that integrates into a suite of related products?

The solution you are looking for is either the Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite (which includes UltraTax CS) or the CCH ProSystem fx Suite. These are high-end software solutions and are priced accordingly. One possible third option is Lacerte Tax, not reviewed here. This is an Intuit software product similar to ProSeries. Lacerte Tax has native integration with QuickBooks, SmartVault, Intuit Link and Bloomberg BNA Tax Planner Bridge.