|TaxWise is a Tax preparation software product used by tax
professionals and accountants. By contractual agreement between Universal Tax Systems
and the IRS, it is the supported and approved tax preparation software used at
VITA (.. er, VRPP) sites. TaxWise differs from
the tax software such as TurboTax or TaxCut used by individuals which
are designed to be used by individuals and have detailed explanations
based on a comprehensive questions. TaxWise
is designed to deal with and manage large numbers of returns, and since e speed of data entry is important, the emphasis is on minimizing
number of keystrokes and instructions to read during tax
The major version number is 24 for 2010 (the 2009 tax
year). Minor revisions are of the form 24.xx where xx increments
sequentially by 1 from 01 throughout the tax season. On average,
minor revisions are generated at the rate of one per week. The
software for the 2009 Tax Year is expected to be released around the
last week of November 2009 as Version 24.00
There are several items that TaxWise
generates for each return prepared:
- The "return" is a binary file stored
in the directory of the user of that TaxWise installation, and
includes the taxpayer return information
- The E-file can be created only after
TaxWise finds no more mistakes. Each E-File is a binary file
stored within TaxWise, and ready for transmission to
the IRS and the State. E-files are not created
for paper returns
- The actual data of the return, and the summary of
transactions involving E-files with the TaxWise Electronic Service Center are stored within
a database in TaxWise
There are two versions of TaxWise
- In TaxWise Desktop version, the Client
(Workstation) portion and the Server portion both run on a LAN, or
even in a single machine, and does not require an internet
connection for tax preparation.
- In TaxWise
Online (TWO), the Client is
a Web Browser (such as Internet Explorer), and the server is located
on the internet. Data for a tax return can be entered into
the online version only if there is a live functioning internet connection. Since
data is stored on a remote server managed by UTS on the internet, it
is unlikely that the returns will be lost due to disk crash or hardware
failure because the remote server is most likely backed up
regularly. Return information is stored on the TaxWise servers
on the internet.
It is important to know which version of
TaxWise is used at a site, so you can take the appropriate TaxWise
training. Entering the data in each version is different, and
training for one version generally is not relevant for using the other
Many VITA sites use the Desktop version,
with a full copy of TaxWise loaded on each desktop or laptop.
Tax returns are prepared on individual machines, and files are
transferred by floppy disks for printing, e-file transmission
or backup. These are
standalone TaxWise installations in a non-networked environment.
Since the newer machines do not include do not come with floppy drives, another
possibility is to use USB thumb drives.
At some sites, the desktops or laptops
are part of a
Local Area Network (LAN), using shared printers over the LAN.
The full copy of TaxWise is loaded on each desktop or laptop, and
these are standalone TaxWise
a networked environment.
A few sites use
Networked TaxWise, where all
return information and the database for the site are maintained centrally
on one machine (the TaxWise Server). on site. Sharing
printers is easier since files are transferred over the LAN.
TaxWise State and Federal updates are installed only once on the
TaxWise Server rather than on individual TaxWise Workstations.
A one time installation of the user interface is required on
each individual laptop connected to the
server. One such site is the
Community Library site. Networked TaxWise can be over a wired
LAN, or over a wireless LAN (WLAN).
information about current experiences with TaxWise is also available in
the associated blog