CPA Versus CPU

Software Programs

Turbotax And Macintax For Business, Intuit Inc.

Intuit Inc. touts its current versions of TurboTax and MacInTax for Business as "the only tax preparation software designed specifically for the small-business owner." The programs are packaged four ways (for Sole Proprietorship, Corporation, S-corporation and Partnership) to offer specific forms and advice for tax planning and filing returns. Features like TaxLink allow users to import accounting data from Windows versions of Quicken or QuickBooks and a Tax Advisor that informs users of potential errors. Modules for states with income taxes are also available.

The programs come with a linked-in, on-screen tax guide called Tax Saavy for Small Business, which incorporates and links all the IRS's business publications into the program. Intuit also includes an edition of Netscape Navigator, providing users free access to the TurboTax home page on the Quicken Financial Network. Intuit's World Wide Web site address is http://www.intuit.com/TurboTax.

TurboTax for Business ($79.95) requires a PC with a 386 processor, 4MB of RAM and Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroup or Windows 95. MacInTax ($79.95) requires a Mac 68000 co-processor or higher, 6MB of RAM, and System 7.0 or higher. Intuit will pay any penalty and interest incurred by a user due to flaws in the tax program. Upgrades for both versions are $69.95.

To purchase directly from the company, call (800) 695-7778.

Tax Edge, Parsons Technology

Parsons Technology says that Tax Edge is the second-best selling tax preparation program on the market (TurboTax is #1). Versions of the program are available for Windows, DOS, Windows 95, Macintosh and Power Mac, and on CD-ROM for Windows, Windows 95 and Macintosh.

This program is geared to the individual and to very small businesses. It includes 32 separate worksheets, such as medical and dental expenses, partnership or S-corporation ordinary income or loss; 32 different forms, for depreciation & amortization, trade or business gains or losses, farm rental income, alternative minimum tax, and expenses for business use of your home, among others; 13 schedules, to figure profit or loss from a business, household employment taxes, input income loss from partnerships or S-corporations and self-employment tax; plus four short forms for personal filing.

Tax Edge for DOS requires a PC with 640K of RAM, DOS version 3.0 or later and 11MB of hard drive space. Tax Edge for Windows requires Windows 3.1 or later, 2MB of RAM, 13MB of hard drive space and a VGA monitor. Tax Edge on CD-ROM requires a PC with a minimum 80386DX processor, 4MB of RAM and 6MB of hard drive space, Windows 3.1 or later, an MPC compatible CD-ROM drive and a mouse or equivalent pointing device. The Macintosh software requires a 68020 processor or higher, 4MB of RAM, 13MB of hard drive space and System 7.0 or higher.

Tax Edge retails for $19. State versions are available for an additional $19, updates for $16. Parsons Technology guarantees all versions to be accurate, and will pay any penalty and interest incurred for errors due to the programs.

Order from the company at (800) 223-6925 or through their Web site, http://www.parsontech.com.

Kiplinger Taxcut, Block Financial Corp.

Produced by an H&R Block subsidiary and including the expertise of the nationally renowned Kiplinger Washington Editors, TaxCut is a program that is essentially for individual returns. It is available in Windows and Macintosh versions, and on a Windows-based CD-ROM.

The CD-ROM features 48 videos of tax-saving tips from the Kiplinger Editors, including a video for the self-employed, which includes information on Keogh retirement plans. The Automatic Home Office Accounting feature, included in all versions of the program, automatically allocates expenses between your home office and your personal deductions so that you will avoid IRS trouble for doubly deducting expenses. This feature lets you import information from previous years' editions of TaxCut, as well as from TurboTax, MacInTax or Quicken.

TaxCut for Windows requires a 386 processor or higher, 4MB of RAM, 10MB of free hard-disk space, Windows version 3.1 or Windows 95, and a 3.5" high-density floppy-disk drive. The multimedia CD-ROM requires a PC with a 486 or higher processor, 4MB of RAM, 10MB of free hard-disk space, Windows version 3.1 or Windows 95, a 3.5" high-density floppy-disk drive, a CD-ROM drive and speakers.

The Macintosh version requires a MacClassic or higher with System 7, 4MB of RAM, 13MB of free hard-disk space and a color or 16-level greyscale monitor. A modem for electronic filing is optional on all versions.

TaxCut retails for $39.95 (CD-ROM) and $19.95 (Windows diskettes). State editions are available for $24.95; For Windows, 23 states are sold. For Macintosh, only California and New York are available.

To order, call (800) 235-4060.

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This article was originally published in the April 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: CPA Versus CPU.

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