BO (Buggin' Out) Tax Preparers Cite Software Bugs : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Saturday, March 11, 2000

Tax Preparers Cite Software Bugs by Firm That's Also Online

Computers: Laser Systems says packaged program differs from that used on Web site.

By LIZ PULLIAM WESTON, Times Staff Writer

Professional tax preparers are complaining about serious bugs in a software package created by the same company whose programming runs an online tax preparation site for consumers.

Preparers say that TaxWorks software, created by Kaysville, Utah- based Laser Systems, miscalculated depreciation schedules and stripped itemized deductions when transferring data from federal returns to state returns, among other problems.

Laser Systems also supplied the software that runs H.D. Vest's tax preparation Web site. But H.D. Vest officials said they have had no reports from consumers of major problems. Laser Systems provided a simplified version of the software for consumer use online, said Melissa Totsch, tax development manager for H.D. Vest. "It's not the same as the software that's on the CD" distributed to professional tax preparers, Totsch said. Laser Systems is one of the smaller competitors in the professional tax preparation software field, which is dominated by Intuit Inc.'s Lacerte program.

A Laser Systems official said the company ran into problems when trying to convert its DOS-based program to a Windows program for this year's release.

The problems were particularly acute for tax preparers who had older computers that weren't powerful enough to run the greatly expanded program, said Lyle Petersen, the company's vice president of sales and marketing. "We did have a rocky start, but we did a complete rewrite that should have solved the problems," Petersen said.

Several tax preparers, however, said they are still having problems with the software. Laser Works has sent preparers several updates and fixes since the product's January release, but some of the updates seem to have created new errors, said Eva Rosenberg, an Encino enrolled agent who has used TaxWorks software for several years and who publishes a Web newsletter for other professional tax preparers.

"Many preparers may not even realize their program is making errors. Too many of them rely on the computer and don't check the data," Rosenberg said.

-- (, March 11, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ