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Patti Newcomer, IntuitTax reform has the industry moving along at a fast pace. Practitioners are trying to get in touch with the impact of the tax law on 2017 taxes and will be grappling with the far greater impact on returns a year from now.

And the companies that supply software and research tools to firms have been pumping out information at a high rate.

"We are doing a tremendous of work to help our customers through tax reform," says Patti Newcomer, the VP who heads marketing and analytics, Intuit's Pro Tax business.

The company accelerated development of its tax planner, scheduled to have a feature that would enable customers to take a finished 2017 return, push a button and see what the impact would be on the return for the 2018 tax year. That was scheduled to already be available for Lacerte and ProSeries and available for ProConnect Tax Online on February 22.

The company also produced a series of YouTube videos so that preparers will be able to understand what is new in updates.

Wolters Kluwer is also pumping out information for preparers. The company will be winding up its tax update webinars this week for its ProSystem fx Tax software. It has already concluded its webinars for the CCH Axcess web applications.

The company is currently conducting webinars about the key areas of the tax act. Wolters Kluwer says that it will provide information on additional webinars to be added throughout the year.

A great deal of information is coming via services and publications that are offered during each tax season. In mid-January, Wolters Kluwer published tax briefing the "2017 Tax Year in Review", which examines developments, including the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Although the new law will have great impact, the company notes taxpayers must also deal with other changes made by the Congress, courts and Internal Revenue Service.

Thomson Reuters offers the book, the "Complete Analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" and a PDF report 2017 Tax Reform: Checkpoint Special Study on Individual Tax Changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Beyond the publications and updates to tax planning, depreciation and other applications, the vendors are looking to the probably greater need for advice that will follow this year's tax season.

"It is going to be a great opportunity for firms to add value and tax planning activities," says John Barnes, VP of product management for Wolters Kluwer. He notes that one important service firms can provide "is determining which of their clients will be most impacted by changes." The question to be answered is "How do you identify who they are?"

Barnes notes the company will be looking at the development of analytical tools.  

Scott Fleszar, VP of product management for Thomson Reuters, notes there are three elements to dealing with tax reform and its impact on 2017 and 2018 taxes. The first is getting calculations, form and in-depth analysis to practitioners. Following that has been "getting beyond straight-forward compliance."

"We are doing reports and case studies, scenarios and analysis and client-facing reports," Fleszar says. That phase will be ongoing throughout 2018.

How that phase proceeds depends on the response of the states to the new law, along with the pace at which IRS guidance reaches the market. One of the biggest question marks, Fleszar says, is how guidance will impact the qualified business income deduction.

Fleszar says after tax season Thomson will concentrate on helping firms develop new services for clients-the standard idea of moving firms form emphasis on compliance toward providing advisory services.

That includes utilizing the tax planner and "pricing that engagement and pitching it to the clients," he says.

Fleszar anticipates one area of concern will be discussing with clients, the qualified business deduction and "whether they want to change entities."

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Tuesday, 06 February 2018
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