Ye Gods, another bad experience with Intuit’s ProSeries tax software!

Intuit ProSeries Sucks!I don’t know who gave Intuit’s ProSeries a 5-star rating because I give it a 0-star rating. In fact, in my opinion, it sucks!

I have great difficulty finding input sheets in ProSeries. Unlike Lacerte, that has a very helpful table of contents, ProSeries leaves it to the user to find its entry sheets: good luck because you might need the assistance of a posse. I’ve spent needless, unbillable hours trying to find the place where I can enter the information.

And it’s feature, “Where Do I Enter”, to assist the tax preparer with data entry appears only to apply to Federal Form 1040, since whenever I have attempted to use it for Form 1120, 1120S, 1065, etc., and for state tax forms, ProSeries informs me that it’s unavailable for these forms. Lots of luck, pal. Go fish!

And today when I printed out California’s Form 540NR, California Resident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return, I discovered to my embarrassment and chastisement from my client that my electronic signature on page 3 was illegible: it overwrote the form’s caption line containing “Firm’s name” and “Firm’s address”. When I called Intuit’s ProSeries, I was placed on hold for what seemed an eternity, then someone in its tech department spent considerable time remotely accessing my computer to understand my problem and attempt to correct it. And then when that failed after another period of time seeming like another eternity, I was transferred to the tax department, who informed me that there was nothing I could do but remove the electronic signature.

The individual in Intuit’s tax department admitted that it was a defect in ProSeries and said that it was never picked up until my call since not many California Form 540NR’s are filed. Right!

Also, when I attempted to print a tax return on May 30th, I was unable: Intuit’s pay-per-return was down. I lost a client over that, since the client came to pick up his tax return and I thought there would not be a problem printing the return. Thanks, Intuit. Needless to say, its call center and customer service were unavailable, too. Perhaps if its server is going to be down, Intuit should have had someone on call to handle its software issues?! That’s poor service.

Recently I filed corporate returns that were subject to penalties for late filing as well as late payment; however, Intuit’s ProSeries, unlike Lacerte, was unable to calculate their penalties and interest charges.  Even worse, there was no entry field in which to insert the manually calculated penalties and interest on Form 1120 in the program:  I was forced to input it opposite the field for the penalties for underpayment of estimated taxes, and, as a result, generated an error message that created a problem for electronic filing of the tax return.  I wasted hours on attempting to file that tax return.  Not surprising to me, a number of individuals on Proseries’ support staff were oblivious to that error.

In addition, I feel as if I am getting banged hard with Intuit’s pay-per-return policy. That takes a big bite out of one’s tax preparer fee. Plus Intuit charges an annual fee as well of nearly $300.

If anyone knows of a better tax software at an affordable price, please let me know. I’ve had it with ProSeries. Do you think ProSeries offered me a refund for the cost of that California tax return since it has a defect? Not a chance! Do you think that I ever received a free copy of QuickBooks for all of the clients I brought to Intuit to use QuickBooks? Are you on drugs? Intuit sucks!

Another rave review brought to you by the inimitable

Barefoot Accountant

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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10 Responses to Ye Gods, another bad experience with Intuit’s ProSeries tax software!

  1. Mc says:

    My experience with Proseries with mentions of certain features that Proseries do NOT offer which many customers and former customers have been asking the company to include:

    PROS:
    1. User friendly interface
    2. Relatively easy to use (DON’T use the Interview sheets; use the Return feature to enter the information!)
    3. Decent tech support

    CONS:
    1. Price for software is Increasing esp. the Prof. edition where it includes everything!
    - Sad part is that NOT many forms are included which makes the price unreasonable!

    2. The company REFUSES to add in the Foreign reporting forms such as Forms 5471, 5472, 8868 and 926.

    3. It also REFUSES to correct Form 990 with the “linking” of accounts from external sources into the program. Ctrl + L “links” items to some accounting software or spreadsheets. It NO LONGER links the expenses into Form 990 as of the 2009 + 2010 Form 990 which makes entering the information time consuming and frustrating! Even the linkage to the Revenue side has problems as some revenue items are shown as “Negative” (this is obvious as Revenue items in accounting software are coded as “credits”). It worked well up to the 2008 return but then it all changed in 2009!

    4. It does NOT support Consolidated returns nor does it support Form 1040NR entry for “Estate/Trust” option/calculations. Ok… the latter is probably rare (but does happen like it did for me!) but why does Proseries NOT support CONSOLIDATED RETURNS?!
    - Some small companies DO file consolidated returns!!

    5. It does Not offer the ability to truncate client’s personal information when printing a return by paper/pdf copy.

    6. Print to pdf feature is nearly useless. No features included to encrypt the return or to truncate certain information like the taxpayer’s SS#. Can’t even link it to an email program to include as an attachment!

    ———————————————–

    If I had relatively “simple” returns, I would consider buying Proseries again but NOT if I have to prepare:
    1) Consolidated corp. returns
    2) Non-profit returns
    3) clients with foreign accounts due to the foreign reporting forms requirements.
    - The IRS has started to go after and/or audit taxpayers for the FBAR/foreign reporting form requirements!!
    - It would be nice to have those forms available in the 1040 or 1120/S or 1065 sections.

    ProSeries is meant for the “smaller”, if not “simpler”, tax practitioners who has “simple” clients as it can’t handle the complex clients! ProSeries KILLED itself by NOT including a more comprehensive library of tax forms as the tax world is getting more and more complex every year due to the ever changing tax laws. The company will find itself catering to the “simpleton” tax practitioners and will be left behind as their competitors’ tax software can handle those complex issues that ProSeries can not!

    Take a look at the ProSeries Tech Support Forum and you’ll discover a lot of issues that people have with ProSeries :(

    It’s too bad because the software WAS pretty good but my clientele got complicated and I needed tax software that’s able to deal with the more complex tax filing requirements which ProSeries can NOT handle!

    The company REFUSED to listen for MANY years in adding those forms. It sold itself on its “user friendly interface” and “simple to use” features. Too bad the company does NOT listen to its customers (read their tech forum!) and grow it’s software library and features!

    It was time to say “Good Bye!”

  2. Are you, too, disappointed with Intuit ProSeries as a tax software program? Please post your review and comments for the benefit of others. Unless you make known your grievances, Intuit will continue to increase the cost of ProSeries without improving the software.

  3. Steve Burmeister says:

    My wife, MBA Finance, is stuck on Pro Series. When I retired three years ago I decided to help her with returns. I took a class at H&R Block, using of course their software. After passing the class I started helping my wife on Pro Series. I have never used such unfriendly software and I came from the manufacturing world of Symix and 3D modeling! What the what!!?? I created my own Excel spreadsheets for Budgets that interacted 10 tabs deep and never had the FEAR of touching a key like am with PS. Do you think she is having an affair with a PS tech-she calls him all the time? Help me pry my loving wife away from this fiendish software. I am not the professional-she is. THEREFORE, AS YOU REQUESTED BILL-WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE??

    • As you must have gathered from my article, I am no big fan of Pro Series. Lacerte is much more user friendly: I like its table of contents, making it much easier to find where to enter data. Also, in my opinion, it is more robust: for instance, it calculates interest and penalties for periods of time after filing dates if the return is way overdue. I recall ProSeries did not even provide a field for the entry of penalties/interest beyond the due dates of corporate 1120 returns.

      If I were you, I would consider wire tapping her calls and calling a good divorce lawyer…LOL!

      The Barefoot Accountant

  4. Connie says:

    I agree, ProSeries is THE WORST tax software I have ever used. I have used Creative Solutions/Thomson, Lacerte, ProFx and ProSeries extensively. Creative Solutions/Thomson and Lacerte are undoubtedly the best out there. I just tried to amend a return in ProSeries 2011 and although the directions give you a blow-by-blow procedure, it does not work. I could not believe my eyes and finally called a colleague, who agreed it does not work. Why doesn’t ProSeries take these step-by-step instructions OUT OF THE PROGRAM so we don’t have the false impression that amending a return brings in the original balances?

  5. Connie says:

    I agree, ProSeries is THE WORST tax software I have ever used. I have used Creative Solutions/Thomson, Lacerte, ProFx and ProSeries extensively. Creative Solutions/Thomson and Lacerte are undoubtedly the best out there. I just tried to amend a return in ProSeries 2011 and although the directions give you a blow-by-blow procedure, it does not work. I could not believe my eyes and finally called a colleague, who agreed it does not work. Why doesn’t ProSeries take these step-by-step instructions OUT OF THE PROGRAM so we don’t have the false impression that amending a return brings in the original balances?

  6. Earl P. Bailey, CPA says:

    Check out the following URL. The State of Minnesota Department of Revenue suggests not using any of their tax products for filing returns.
    I wonder how other states taxing authorities feel about this.

    http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/196531901.html

  7. William A Denham CPA says:

    I have been a user of Proseries Professional for over 10 years. This years program I believe has a printing issue. The data in the input fields are so light they are barely legible. When I called Intuit they tell me they were required by the IRS to change their font and agree with me that the data is much lighter then previous years. When I asked what they intend to do about it their response was NOTHING. That this is the first year of the change and it will take a while to work all the bugs out. Couldn’t they have debugged the program before its release. Each year the support from this company has gotten worse and unfortunetly I find the program this year to be unusable. I am trying to switch my tax software provider now but am afraid that I will not have the time to transfer all my client data to a new progarm in time. So I may be stuck with Proseries this year but a change is a comin in 2015.

    • I had to reinstall ProSeries twice this year after receiving updates. I lost precious hours during tax season. I am considering dropping ProSeries and using UltraTax. And the fees for using ProSeries keep increasing every year.

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