Every tax season has its defining moments and tax year 2014 was no different. A few of the defining moments include the IRS providing much needed relief from Form 3115 compliance, asking clients about health insurance to comply with ACA, changes to document Management solutions (DMS) and rolling the tax services into Fast Path to complete the transition to multi-year e-File. While it was a year of change, you, too, navigated those changes well for your clients – as you always do.

New Tax, e-File and ACA Content

Delivering a seamless e-File experience is one of the hallmarks of Lacerte’s® and ProSeries’® productivity, and adding new tax forms and e-File content continues to be our top priority. For Tax Year 2014, you can now e-File federal amended fiduciary returns along with 59 other new e-File tax return types, including amended, extensions, estimated payments and other types of returns. Lacerte and ProSeries support e-filing of the FinCEN Form 114 in the individual and business modules, as well as e-Filing amended Form 114 returns in the individual module. Click here for Lacerte updates and click here for ProSeries updates.

For Tax Year 2015, we are committed to continuing to expand Lacerte’s and ProSeries’ e-File content, while maintaining the same reliability and speed. Your active Fast Path license enables e-Filing of all open years of business and individual returns, with no additional fees or separate cutoff dates. As a reminder, e-File, REP access, support and other tax services are included in Fast Path services from January 1 to December 31.

We heard from customers that they felt prepared and confident to handle the tax changes related to the Affordable Care Act. More than 15,000 firms participated in our ACA education series before tax season, and the new input screens and diagnostics simplified the compliance process. This was a significant improvement from our summer survey, where most preparers felt very unprepared for the ACA changes. During the season, we listened and improved the input screens based on your feedback. We will continue to keep you informed about the ACA changes planned for 2015.

Choices for Document Management

Based on overwhelming feedback from our customers, we are providing document management choices. For Tax Year 2015 and beyond, you will continue to have a choice of two integrated document management solutions to use with Lacerte and ProSeries.

We have decided to continue offering Lacerte DMS and ProSeries DMS after receiving additional input during tax season about the critical role that both play in your workflow. We are investing in technology upgrades to help ensure that DMS works seamlessly with future Windows versions and newer PDF formats. Click here for more details about Lacerte DMS including pricing, support and availability. For more details about ProSeries DMS, including pricing, support and availability, click here.

SmartVault was chosen as our other because more than 50% of our DMS customers told us that they wanted an integrated, portal solution for securely sharing documents. SmartVault, a CPA Technology Advisor multiple award-winner, offers an integrated, online document management solution, as well as a secure, custom-branded client portal. Based on feedback from Lacerte and ProSeries customers, SmartVault added a desktop client that resembles the DMS interface, and customers have responded favorably. For Lacerte, click here. For ProSeries, click here.

Connected Services

This year, we launched several new connected services and improved others.

Intuit® Link (Lacerte only) makes it easier for clients to provide the exact tax data you need, when and how you need it. You can use this all year to collect client documents as they accumulate them, instead of waiting until tax time to request everything. The integrated, secure portal facilitates requests and data back and forth between you and your client, improving your productivity and your client’s satisfaction. With your clients’ permission, you can download data directly from financial institutions and payroll providers to save time and improve accuracy. Click here for more information.

Intuit eSignature, powered by DocuSign, is an IRS-compliant way to electronically collect 8879 signatures, eliminating your client’s need to fax, scan, hand-deliver or email the form back to you. Intuit eSignature securely and seamlessly integrates with Lacerte and ProSeries so that you don’t have to change your workflow. Based on feedback from customers, we will be improving the e-signature experience to complete more of the ‘finalize’ segment of the workflow, such as integrating the collection of preparation fees before e-filing. Click here for information on Lacerte, and click here for more information on ProSeries. There is also a new article, “Three Ways I’m Using eSignature to Improve My Practice,” by Akilah Curtis, for your review.

Lacerte and ProSeries financial institutions and W-2 download services are included in your Lacerte and ProSeries Fast Path license, allowing you to download client 1099 and W-2 information directly from the financial institution or payroll provider into your client’s tax return. For 2014, based on customer feedback, we expanded this connected service to include over 230 financial institutions and more than 75 W-2 payroll providers. For information on Lacerte financial institutions, click here. For information on ProSeries financial institutions, click here.

The Future

Thank you for your feedback. Your voice is important to us and helps us continue to innovate and shape the Lacerte and ProSeries offering. We value your business and are working to keep price increases lower this year.

After making the technology changes to support a connected desktop last year, Lacerte and ProSeries are well positioned to support your next decade of productivity.

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