Pronto Tax School

Best Tax Software for New Tax Preparers?

pronto tax software

By Andy Frye

Being that we specialize in helping people become tax preparers and/or start their own tax preparation businesses from scratch, we this question a lot:

What’s the best tax software for a new tax preparer?

Thought I’d use this blog post to give any new tax preparers the run-down on what’s the best tax software for beginner-to-intermediate tax professionals.

“As Long as It’s Orange and It Bounces”

You ever play pickup basketball?  There’s a certain routine at some parks or gyms where people want to spend time before the game testing various basketballs to determine which ball to use in the game.

I’ll never forget one time when we were playing with an excellent basketball player and everyone sort of deferred to him and asked him which ball he wanted to play with.  He said:

“Doesn’t matter to me, as long as it’s orange and it bounces.”

To me it’s kind of like that with tax software.  New tax preparers tend to spend a lot of time comparing features, etc., when all you really need is software that’s pretty good, in your price range, and can help you get started.  Which software you use won’t be a determinant of your early success in the tax business.

Your ability to SELL your tax services will be the #1 factor in your early success or failure–the software is just a tool.

Support for New Tax Preparer Software

Now that being said, new tax preparers should invest some time thinking about what’s important for you in a tax software program, and it’s not a throw away decision.

First thing has to be support.  When you’re new–let’s face it, we’ve all been there–you don’t really know what you’re doing.  You’re learning the tax code, you’re learning the software, you’re learning pricing, you’re learning client service, you’re learning sales techniques, you’re learning everything.

Particularly with regard to tax software, you’ll want to evaluate the support that comes with it.  I know that when we were choosing our software partner for our tax software for beginners, it was extremely persuasive the fact that people who buy our tax software get 24/7 support during peak tax season, email and phone support, and personalized onboarding and installation assistance.

You’ll want to ask about support before purchasing any tax software package.

Low Cost Tax Software for New Tax Preparers

New tax preparers also need low overhead first and foremost, so cost is of the utmost importance.

You remember buying your first car, right?

Was it a Ferrari, or was it a Chevy?

Same idea here.

Our tax software is much more affordable than most programs that start at $1,000+.

We also give you tax software all the back to 2002 for no extra charge which is kind of crazy that our tax software partner gave us that deal but hey we are not complaining.  🙂

Tax Software Tricks They Play on New Tax Preparers

Some tax software companies like to play games with their pricing.  If they do their pricing differently that’s OK, nothing necessarily wrong about different pricing schemes.  But just make sure you know what the real cost of some of these cheap tax software programs.

Some cheap tax software for new tax preparers, they charge you a “per e-file” fee, so every return you file you have to pay a fee.

Others charge very high bank product fees, so if you do a lot of bank products, it will be much more expensive.   (Bank product is when you have the client pay your fee out of the client’s tax refund, in case you don’t know what that is.)

The Essential Functionality Depends on YOU

As long as you have good support and it’s low cost, you’re satisfying the main criteria for the best tax software for new tax preparers.

From that point on, it really depends on which “bells and whistles” are important to you, for examples:

  • A tax software that supports a paperless office often fits well with new tax preparers who may be doing mobile tax preparation or in a seasonal or shared office space.
  • Is there a particular bank that you want to use for your bank products?  Not all software programs work with all banks.
  • How about e-signature?  Is that important for your business?   Then make sure you have that.
  • Does the software include business entity modules such as corporations and partnerships, or only individual 1040 returns?  How much extra does it cost to get the corp and partnership modules? 
  • Does the software support text message alerts to your customers?  Maybe that’s something you’ll make a big part of your business.

We generally recommend to download at least two tax software demos and then do some practice tax returns on both of them.

Which one feels most right?

Which one took longer for you to prepare the practice tax returns?

Choose a basketball and rest assured it will work just fine, as long as it’s orange and it bounces, you can always upgrade later.

Now get out there and play!


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