Impact of SaaS on Tax Preparation

How Intuit ProLine Tax Online can eliminate expensive upfront fees, software upgrades, implementation cycles, ongoing maintenance and support costs.

January 4, 2010
Sponsored by Intuit

Enterprises of all sizes are moving more of their information technology (IT) applications to a SaaS or Software-as-a-Service model. Many experts have weighed in on the reasons why, but essentially the reasons come down to the nature of how we use software today: we need and expect it to be flexible, easy to use, accurate and up-to-date content. Individuals and enterprises in the tax preparation business are no different.

Most of us are comfortable delegating IT responsibilities already, allowing our IT departments or third-party techs such as Geek Squad to install and to some degree, manage our software, hardware and networks. So it is no surprise that the key benefits of SaaS reflect our desire to reduce these headaches — as cloud computing eliminates the hassles of installations and updates, malware, patches and more; plus other advantages such as SLAs (Service Level Agreements) that guarantee up-time, disaster recovery and data back-up. In addition, billing structures can be set up as pay-per-use models, which can scale with you as your practice grows.

Technology analyst firm Gartner Group reports that SaaS revenue is forecasted to reach $7.5 billion in 2009, a 17.7 percent increase from 2008. Sharon Mertz, research director at Gartner, indicates that the market will show consistent growth through 2013 as vendors “…offer more-vertical-specific solutions …” (Mertz, Sharon. Gartner Says Worldwide SaaS Revenue to Grow 18 Percent in 2009. Gartner Technology Business Research Insight. Gartner Group, December 2009).

And that brings us to the impact of SaaS on tax preparation. There is no better way to assure up-to-date information, robust performance and flexibility in billing and data access than through a true Web-based application. And that is why Intuit has introduced Intuit ProLine Tax Online for Tax Year 2009.

This latest innovation offers tax professionals with a new SaaS solution designed to help professionals quickly and easily prepare and file 1040 federal and state tax returns — anytime, anywhere. Some users have reported time-savings as much as 25 percent per return.

Everything about ProLine Tax Online has been designed to perform on the web as a true cloud-computing application, with easy-to-read screens and input fields. ProLine Tax Online uses the latest encryption standards and is protected by firewall-protected Web servers and password-protected Web sites.

ProLine Tax Online features a breakthrough, single-screen data-entry process that streamlines the workflow and makes it easier and faster to prepare and file tax returns.

One of the early users, Patrick Allen of Port Charlotte, Fl., appreciated the Web-based, anytime, anywhere access. “I do a lot of tax returns at my church for free and the idea of filing taxes online is ‘the ultimate,’” Allen said. “I no longer have to store information on a computer and the information is easily accessible anywhere. I can wake up early and complete taxes at home, instead of having to work at the church.”

ProLine Tax Online

At the core of ProLine Tax Online’s innovation is its unique and simple three-step process: input, review and file. After 20 years of watching how tax professionals do their work, Intuit designed an easy, visual interface unlike anything in the industry — so that pros can complete and file a return using just three screens. And Intuit maintained all of the comprehensive tax capabilities and critical functions that professionals expect from Intuit, such as data conversion, status tracking, in-depth error-checking and paper or electronic filing.

As SaaS adoption increases, so will the functionality of ProLine Tax Online. The TY2009 release is just one step in an ambitious plan to transform how tax professionals complete returns. While the TY09 release is designed for professionals who focus on 1040 returns, Intuit plans future releases that will serve the needs of full-service firms with expanded modules for businesses, partnerships, S corporations and other entities.

Intuit is making the case for SaaS even stronger by offering, for Tax Year 2009, ProLine Tax Online at an introductory price of $19.95 per return (for all filings associated with a client’s return, including Federal and single- or multi-state returns). However, for the first 2,000 customers who register for the service by Jan. 31, 2010, Intuit is offering a special promotional price of $9.95 per client throughout Tax Year 2009 (October 31, 2010). Tax professionals can learn more and register for ProLine Tax Online.

As a tax professional, the availability of Intuit ProLine Tax Online is one more compelling reason to investigate the benefits of a SaaS model for your business. SaaS eliminates expensive upfront fees, software upgrades, implementation cycles, ongoing maintenance and support costs. By eliminating the need to install and run applications on premise, SaaS — and ProLine Tax Online — deliver on the promise to provide your critical data and applications anywhere, anytime — fast, easy and securely.

For more information, visit ProLine Tax Online.