||"Professional software at personal prices."
Tax Preparer 2001
Order now for fastest delivery!
There are a lot of exciting changes in Tax Preparer this year, as
you'll see in this newsletter. However, because we ship so many products
at the start of the tax season, you must place an order NOW
to be assured of receiving your update as soon as it's released. Use the
Advance Order Form at the end of this newsletter to order by fax, mail, or
phone, or order on-line at
Note that we have eliminated several separate options and instead have defined
3 levels of updates: Economy, Standard, and Premium. Although we explain
this on the back of the order form, feel free to call if you have any
questions about what to order. We can guide you to the product that
most closely meets your needs.
Windows 95/98/2000 version to become our baseline product
Were taking the final step in converting Tax Preparer to 32-bit
Windows technology for the next tax season. This means that you will need
to have Windows 95 or later installed on your computer in order to use this
new baseline product. Youll benefit from a number of features available
only with our Windows 95/98/2000 version including:
Windows look-and-feel with pull-down menus, web-style frames, and
full mouse support.
Custom on-screen appearance based on your own desktop settings.
Printing with Windows-only printers (in addition to traditional printers)
with no special setup.
Graphic Printing for all Windows-compatible printers (in Standard
and Premium Updates only). This is a good alternative to transparent
overlays, which are no longer commercially available.
Tax Forms Guide in PDF format, which you can view and search on-screen
while using Tax Preparer or print with the look, paging, and indexing
of our preprinted manual.
Supplemental IRS files in PDF format (in CD-ROM versions of Standard
and Premium Updates only), including the official forms and instructions
for selected forms plus selected publications that relate to those forms.
Users Guide in PDF format (in CD-ROM versions of all
updates) plus a free copy of Adobe® Acrobat® Reader for your
convenience (for on-screen viewing and searching of the manuals and easy
printing in the same format as our printed manuals).
Mid-season revisions via the internet so that you can take advantage
of the minor revisions we make throughout the tax season without waiting
for a notice or disk in the mail (and the price of our Premium Updates is
now lower because of this free accessibility for all users).
Theres no bait-and-switch here
Because of the way some companies have handled their switch to Windows, there
may be some misunderstanding about what a switch means for Tax Preparer.
So lets make a few things clear:
Nothing new to learn. Even though were adding a Windows
look-and-feel, were not eliminating any prior functionality.
Weve approached our conversion to 32-bit Windows as an opportunity
to add new features, not an opportunity to get rid of old ones. That
means you can still operate the software the way you have in the past if
you prefer, using the same keypresses and maintaining the same general
Compatible with your DOS data. We are taking great care to make our
new Windows version fully compatible with data created with past or current
DOS versions of our software. As a result, our new Windows version will fully
translate data from the prior-year DOS or Windows version. Moreover, the
data for the new DOS version can be read by the new Windows version, and
Or stick with DOS or Apple II. Even though we strongly recommend a
switch to Windows, we still support the older technologies. See the box below...
DOS and Apple II? We're still with you!
Because we remain independently owned, you are dealing with the same people
you did when you first joined HowardSoft, even if that was two decades ago!
As a result, we remember your past support and respect your current
needs. For most of you, your current needs are satisfied by our new
baseline Windows product. But for the rest of you we're still supporting
the older technologies as long as you still need us to. We're one of the
few companies still pro-ducing tax software for DOS and the only one still
producing it for the Apple II. It's our way of repaying those of you who
put us firmly on our feet two dec-ades ago!
Nevertheless, you have a lot to gain by purchasing a newer
machine. You may be surprised to learn that your Tax Preparer software
can operate up to 1,000 times faster on the newer computers. And high-capacity
hard disks are now standard. That makes it possible for us to offer tax form
graphics for Win-dows-compatible printers and on-screen manuals with an easy
search-and-find capability. Also note that when we add features or forms
to our baseline Win-dows version, the DOS and Apple II versions can rarely
include them. The clear conclusion? There's little excuse for not switching
to our new Windows 95/98/2000 version.
Our approach is clearly different because we remain independent.
Youve probably noticed that many of the old names in tax software are
gone. Like other industries, the software industry has fallen prey to merger
mania, and the giants have gobbled up most of their competition. The typical
behavior of the buying companies is to eliminate the products of the acquired
companies and force customers to use their own software instead, usually
available only for Windows 95+ and only on CD-ROM. But at
HowardSoft we value our long-term relationship with you, our customer,
and our respect for your wishes far outweighs any desire for short-term
Professional e-file: now makes sense for most tax practices
IRS publicity makes e-file essential. Because the IRS now publicizes
e-file at every opportunity, most tax professionals now feel that it is a
necessity. The benefits to their clients include
Refunds in half the time. Because e-file eliminates the need for IRS
personnel to manually key information from your return into a computer, the
return is processed much faster.
Improved accuracy. Because the IRS checks the return electronically
before accepting it, and most of those same checks are performed by our e-file
software before you transmit the return, the return is assured of much less
chance of error notices from the IRS.
IRS acknowledgment. Unlike mailed returns, you know for sure whether
the IRS has received and accepted the return. The IRS sends an acknowledgment
of receipt within 48 hours!
Automatic payment. Taxpayers can have any tax due withdrawn from their
accounts automatically on a specified date rather than writing a check.
What you need to do before next tax season. Before you can participate
in the IRS e-file program as a tax professional, you must do two things:
Order Professional e-file in addition to your Tax Preparer update.
Our Standard Professional e-file (now only $225) lets you file an
unlimited number of returns at $5 per return. However, if you expect to file
more than 90 returns next tax season, our High-volume Professional
e-file (now only $675) makes sense because it lets you transmit direct
to the IRS (or through a 3rd party at your option) with
no per-return fee!
Apply to the IRS via Form 8633. Whether you will act as an ERO or
both a paid preparer and an ERO, you must apply for participation
in the IRS e-file program. See the sidebar on this page.
Form 8633 required for new professional e-file participants
If you aren't already approved for participation in the IRS e-file program,
and you want to e-file returns pro-fessionally for others, you must apply
to the IRS through Form 8633. The IRS will verify your suitabil-ity for the
program (usually meaning that you have not violated any serious laws or IRS
rules in the past), and issue you an identification number (EFIN) which you
must use on Form 8453 for all returns you file electronically. The form is
available at the IRS web site, or ask us for one when you order your update.
CAUTION: The IRS revised this form this year, and you must use the
new version with a revision date of 7-2000 or later.
How it works. HowardSofts Professional e-file seamlessly
adds electronic filing to your Tax Preparer software. There are only
a few extra steps:
Prepare the return. First you prepare the return with Tax
Preparer the way you normally do.
Complete Form 8453. Next you complete a Form 8453 for each return
you want to file electronically. (This form is added to our Forms Menu when
you install professional e-file on your computer.). On this form you must
identify yourself as both a Paid Preparer and an Electronic Return
Originator (ERO) or an ERO alone. You must also enter all information
on the taxpayer(s) W-2 forms so that it matches the information sent by the
employer to the IRS. Other than that the form is virtually automatic in Tax
Preparer, and it is easily printed when you need it.
Generate electronic file. Next you choose "ELECTRONIC filing output"
from our Print Menu (as if you were going to print out the return). The file
that will later be transmitted to the IRS is then stored on your disk.
Transmit electronic files. Once you have generated files for all the
returns you want to transmit at one time, you start the transmission software
we supply. That software performs additional error-checking and then all
returns that pass the tests are transmitted. It also includes extensive
organizing of the files you have prepared to easily keep track of the
transmission, acceptance, and rejection of returns.
Print and file a paper Form 8453. Once the IRS accepts the return
you must enter in our Form 8453 the DCN number assigned the return when you
transmitted it. Then you print the form, have the taxpayer(s) sign it, and
mail it to the IRS.