CPATerri

My clients are requesting FILLABLE organizers.  Can you make this happen so we can stop with the paper organizers?   The e-organizer is not something most of my clients can work with so a fillable PDF would be great. 

Status: New
Vote now if this is a good idea
Comments
Level 3
I agree. I ran all of my orgs through Foxit to make them fillable. It seems like that could be part of the organizer print process. This is a long overdue need for our clients. It makes tax preparers look like they use old technology. It's not good for us and if users think the software is old school, they may not trust the security either.
Level 2

Exactly, it makes us look like we are using old technology!  

Returning Member

We completely agree - we have discussed how helpful it would be to have a PDF-fillable organizer format so clients could easily type in data. 

Level 1

I agree strongly.  The E-Organizers are a disaster, and the fact they are sent out as an .EXE file makes users hesitant to open them.  Most computers block this type of file from opening, so they then have to 'authorize' a 'potentially dangerous' file on their computers.  Oh, and you cant use it if you're on a Mac. 

Fillable PDFs would make everything so much easier.  Been asking for this for years.

Returning Member

Yes!  I agree 1000%

 

Level 2

Strongly agreed! I've tried to run them as a fillable form and it comes out nasty and a big waste of time.

Level 2

I agree on the e-organizers  JL207!  Clients are afraid to open them (lots of big warnings!) and of course if your client has a MAC they don't work at all.  I have also found with the e-organizers that I spend just as much time as I would if I entered the information myself.  They don't really add value for me as I am triple checking what the uninformed client has done.  The only reason I offered them up as an option this year was to let my clients know I am up to date with technology.  But I feel with the varying skill level of my clients a FILLABLE PDF would check all the boxes.  

Returning Member

Yes, this would be very helpful!  I think Intuit Link is a good solution for many clients, but not all.  Having a fillable PDF organizer that autosaves in the cloud would be the way to go!  Thank you for considering.

Level 3

Agree 100%...I'm currently using Intuit Practice Management with Karbon and am liking it a lot so far for workflow. However I've not been impressed with Intuit Link. There's other software like TaxDome that has "digital organizers" but they don't include tax return data which has made me reluctant to use that. Hence a better solution using PDF could be a great solution.

Level 1

Switched to AICPA fillable PDF organizers four years ago. Will certainly use Lacerte fillable PDF organizer once available.  

Level 1

IF I COULD VOTE YES 100 TIMES ON THIS, I WOULD!

Level 1

Add my vote.  Fillable PDF would be much better than the electronic organizer.

I can't send the electronic organizer because of the reasons previously listed by others, including; requiring launching an executable file, tedious and archaic looking, too much work for client (why hire us, then?), etc.

Level 1

Agreed!  I switched from Lacerte to Pro Tax Connect and then switched back to Lacerte for the tax planner and organizer functions. A fillable organizer would make everyone's day!!!

Level 2

I cannot agree more, the tax organizer,( not the e-file organizer which does NOT resemble the "paper organizer" and is clunky ) needs to be a fillable PDF document that will add tremendous value in time savings for both clients and we as preparers.  The technology is there and Lacerte needs to step up their game on this most important part of the workflow process.

Level 2

Agreed, clients attempt to do this themselves to mixed results. 

My office was looking for the same thing, and for several years we would generate the organizers as PDFs and put the custom pages up front.  Essentially this just moved our printing costs down one step to the client, in the same manner that the IRS moved their data input (from paper returns) out to the preparers, with e-filing.

 

A few years ago, though, a complete wizard with Adobe found a way to identify the pages--of the "complete" organizer only; NOT the "condensed", and also NOT the Fiduciary since those pages are laid out similarly to the Individual condensed--in the file and overlay them with fillable fields.
  Since then, we have been sending out fillable organizers every year.

 

All of the pages for the 2020 input sheets have now been updated--several states added ID PIN fields to page2/Dependents, and the issue with the year being duplicated one sheet has been resolved in recent Lacerte updates--and so this year's version is now available:

  https://www.pdfautomationstation.com/products/item22.cfm?affID=LTUGtools

 

 

Members of the "LTUG" (Lacerte Tax User Group) that used to be on Yahoo!Groups--and is now on "groups.io"--have been invited to use a discount code for members there to get 20% off: Tax2021

 

Note again that this simply lays fillable fields over the PDF pages generated from Lacerte (with the "complete" organizer only).  Primarily this is useful for legibility--rather than reading each client's different chicken-scratch handwriting--as well as Find, Zooming size, and copy/paste for long entries.

  This WILL NOT take data from the Organizer and populate it into the Lacerte program.  (Though I do have some ideas towards that.)

 

And again, this works ONLY for the INDividual module.  (The page headers for the FIDuciary module are laid out differently, so they will take additional work...  and no other module even generates an Organizer.)  You MUST have the full ("Pro") version of Adobe Acrobat, NOT just the "Reader" version.

 

 

Robert Kirk
LTUGtools

Level 3
Just got a message from a 3rd party product that generates the fillable organizer. Nice enough and reasonable but I think the point here is that we should be able to generate a fillable organizer from our software to print directly to our doc mgt system. Better yet to email directly to the client from the software - what a timesaver that would be. This should include any questionnaires in the organizer. This year I gave up on Lacerte's and created my own that I will update each year. I thought Lacerte would take a stab at adding some new questions based on the tax law changes but I was wrong. Some might be using the AICPA version already. Lacerte's are very difficult to format and hard for clients to read if you reduce the font to make the page count reasonable. You are also limited to Y/N questions. God forbid that you need to correct an error by backspacing 1 space as the software tabs back and you may take out a whole phrase. Anything that I have to use outside of the tax product is a huge blow to efficiency and productivity not to mention that I have to send things manually. All so my clients think that I am legit and not using some hack software. This is truly an area that could be vastly improved. Obviously, many think the same since this has jumped to the number one enhancement idea. Nice Terri!
Level 2

And the question is.......when will anyone from Lacerte read all these comments and votes?

Returning Member

I strongly agree.  The E-Organizer is out of date and not workable.  Clients have a hard time to open and work with it.  It is frustrating.  

Returning Member

I agree a fillable PDF organizer would be a welcome addition. The intuit link is better than e-organizer for my clients, having an organizer that looks like the paper version would be best!

I also would love to be able to import a word document as an engagement letter and actually not have to work on the formatting to get this to print correctly in Lacerte software.

If we could send for e-signature with the fillable PDF organizer you would get an A++ rating from many of your users- including me.

I have used Lacerte for more than 20 years- most of my clients have been with me that long, we would all welcome change if the face looks the same.

 

New Member

Totally agree!!

Returning Member

A fillable pdf organizer would be a huge cost and time saver for both the CPA and the client.

Level 2

Tax organizer (not questionnaire) omits any fields for advance payments received (stimulus checks).  Default questionnaire has one question, which is general and useless.  Tech support informed me that organizers will NOT be updated since the October 2020 version.  Organizer team is MIA.  It's not only ugly in format, but it's hard to see fields and fill out.  

Never mind that it's terribly outdated and not fillable.  

Questionnaire is ridiculous.  USELESS for gathering information for tax prep unless coupled by sit down interviews or endless follow ups.  We cannot compete with enforced old technology when some clients have defected to on-line solutions.  Custom questionnaire is unworkable.  Seems like an appeasement to higher-end Lacerte users, but it does not offer same features for write in commentary by clients.

Every year Lacerte seems to get worse, and to make up for it, they increase their price.  Worse client interface and higher prices.  YAY.  GO LACERTE!  

Tom5, we customize our questionnaire quite a bit, including stimulus payment questions and PPP this year.

 

We then print out ONE copy of it to PDF, put the fields on it a single time ourselves, and then marry that finished version back into the PDF versions of the organizers that get sent out to clients.

 

It is comparatively easy to do; the time consuming part is lining up all of the yes/no boxes for each question.

Level 1

Our clients ask us for this every year. The E-Organizer is not a viable option. Please make this happen!

Level 2

Agree 100%

Level 2

There are more people than i thought who have the same observations.  If we listen to the tech support guys, they tell me (presumably with an honest fact) that i'm the only one they've talked to with the same concerns amongst the 45,000 other Laerte firms.  Every one a perfect liar, even after i point out i'm one of 45,000 firms.  45,000 firms means more than 100,000 users, with probably over half million tax returns, and I'M THE ONLY ONE?  

Heartening to hear from you and the others who have posted their similar experiences and frustrations, all to no avail.  Particularly glad to hear from some high-end users.  .I've seen endless other Lacerte preparers' tax returns here who don't even enter the client's name in the cover letter.  Shameless morons.  I heard the most frequent tech support call is when Lacerte users call about not being able to open the program.  Turns out the capslock key is engaged.     

There's no option by defecting to Drake.  It's beyond worse.  It's impossible.  Stuck with Lacerte, and Intuit knows it.  Mediocrity prevails. No wonder the public regards our work as a commodity.  We've all trained them to think that way, especially when we have mediocre tools like Lacerte which dominates our profession. 

Level 2

in addition to the yes/no questions, we also need a text field where the clients can enter notes or commentary on selected questions where explanations would be useful.  Then, perhaps, at the end, a text field where we can allow a catch-all place for general or other commentary not otherwise available elsewhere on the questionnaire.  My 2 cents.  

Level 2

We would very much like this also!

Returning Member

Agreed.  It needs to be simple like condensed organizer that we can modify questionairre.  If my clients had to fill in your existing e-organizer, they would say they will just do their own on turbo tax.  Hmmmm

Level 2

To TEParr:

Yes, a client of mine a few years ago made the same comment about TurboTax.  They are now a former client, to my complete satisfaction.  If that's what they think of you, then perhaps this may be a wakeup call for the type of clients you serve in your practice. 

That is, if all they think of you is a more convenient form of software program, you're not adding any perceived value to the relationship. 

By the way, if they don't want to answer  your questions, what do you do for lack of data?  Make up the answers yourself?  Or, ignore the unresolved issue?  Does your engagement letter cover these conditions where clients refuse to cooperate with giving you the data you need?

CAMICO (in California) says that you if you impose your decision on the client's tax return, you own the consequences.  You're responsible for the outcome.  Like, for example, adopting an election that they are clueless about, until later, when it bites them in the rear.  Then, you're calling your insurance carrier and saying hello to sleepless nights.  

It's our role to advise and inform.  It's the client's sole responsibility to make the decisions.  You have to document everything, with dates and times.  

This is my 46th year in tax practice, and i'm liking this profession less and less.  Especially with Lacerte dropping the ball so frequently now a days.  So, we have to make up for Lacerte's shortfalls who impose upon us these ridiculous questionnaires and worse organizers, plus all the IRS BS we're now responsible for covering, or expose ourselves to more litigation exposure and IRS sanctions.

There's no nobility in subjecting yourself to these abuses that low life clients demand you endure.  Check your self-esteem level.  Maybe you're involved somewhat in how clients feel they can treat you.  

Send them the questionnaire you need to, and forget the low life's that make your life miserable.   Chances are, they don't deserve you anyway.  And, if you lose a few clients, that's OK.  Raise your prices on the remaining ones and work less for more money.

Welcome to tax preparation in 2021. 

Returning Member

Yes! We definitely want a fillable pdf organizer!!!!

New Member

This is technologically simple to accomplish. Features like these should precede efforts to create newer "fancy" features. 

Returning Member

Yes, fillable pdf Organizers are very much needed!!

Returning Member

Absolutely, please please make this happen.  I get clients asking for this all the time every year.  Intuit Link begins to approach this and clients like answering the questionnaire via intuit link.  

Returning Member

If we try to send organizers through Lacerte, they have symbols instead of letters.

 

Returning Member

Agree with the others - fillable PDF organizers  - 

 

 

I agree that fillable pdf organizers is what my clients want.  I do not know why Lacerte's programmers can't make this a priority. The e-organizers are a disaster.

 

Level 15

A user generated this and is selling it at https://www.pdfautomationstation.com/products/item22.cfm

 

Level 3

I agree 100%!  I don't like using the e-organizers and Intuit Link, and I have had clients ask for fillable organizers.  

Level 2

Let's not lose sight of the fact that pen and paper, as old technology, still offers the best flexibility possible because clients can write notes or comments in the margins and between lines to better explain items which have nuances that "yes" or "no" answers cannot capture.  

I have been running a no-interview practice for 20+ years, and find that my clients use the pen and paper to augment the questionnaire, give perspective and offer incidental information that is usually helpful

If we digitize the questionnaire portion, my warning is to include plenty of unrestricted text fields where clients can annotate the organizer with their thoughts, not just a blank page at the end of the organizer.  

Sometimes email just doesn't cut it.  You have to pick up the phone and actually talk to someone.  The same is applicable to electronic organizers.  Sometimes the old tech just works better.  So, when converting the paper organizer to digital, let's keep in mind we're trying to replicate the pen and paper, not abridge it's usefulness by digital shortcuts.  That is, your practice is anything other than a tax mill or humanized version of Turbotax.

My clients also want pdf fillable  organizers!

Level 2

I fully agree with this.  It will be a great refinement to the program and make more clients willing to fill it out!

I sure hope there will be a pdf fillable organizer soon in Lacerte!

  Since I keep seeing new responses on this thread--and someone who was *not* involved with creating the utility separately posted a link to it--I thought folks might be interested in seeing what a finished product looks like once all of the pages have had fields laid on them.

  This link is to a [no password] copy of the file that my office uses for new clients this year; anyone who has information from last year's return obviously gets their specific pages.  (Like the fellow who has forty [40] page18/rental properties...)

 

https://www.pdfautomationstation.com/public/images/JF-Blank-2020-Organizer.pdf

 

 

 

Robert Kirk
LTUGtools

Level 1

Absolutely, many clients ask for this.  They don't want the electronic organizer, just a fillable pdf organizer.

 

The questionnaires in the Intuit Link are impossible to print out for our records so I have to snip and paste. Even in the Intuit Link a pdf fillable questioinaire to complete that we can print to DMS or to our portals and/or to paper would be so helfpul for clients and for the tax preparers.  I am wondering if there is some program to make the Lacerte tax organizers fillable when the pdf is opened and to be able to save it?

Returning Member

Amen! Long over due IMHO.

Level 1

Absolutely would love it. I hate the E-Organizers (difficult for clients & no audit trail for changes that are made). Fillable PDF would be fabulous.

Level 1

I have been requesting this for at least 10 years.

Also, the "Intuit Link" questionnaire is only viewable and downloadable as a .csv file.  When opening this in Excel and expanding the columns to see what the clients are answering it becomes UNMANAGABLE no matter what is done. On top of that the default font is almost unreadable.  How about a pdf or word doc that is formatted similar to the organizer (that , after all is what this is replacing) and usefull to a tax preparer.

slshapiro, It cost me so much time to use the Snip it took to print the pages so I can scan them into my DMS. They should have the file as a manageable pdf and printable the answers.  I do not like the Intuit Link for this reason and I am thinking of suppressing the questionnaire and downloading the tax organizer and asking my clients to just let me know which questions have a Yes answer.  We pay enough that this easy request should be honored!

 

Level 4

@laccpaand others, it IS old technology. No "like" about it.

@JL207, @CPATerri, I think the E-Organizer is broken. Was unable to import my test. Even worse it installs files on the clients computer in the C:\ so someone not knowing might think this to be malware (kind of is).

We have been generating our own Questionnaires for some time as we also have text fields that users can enter into (custom fields). The year we tried an MS Excel spreadsheet so it could be electronically filled, total disaster. Too many people saved it in Google Docs, MAC, Open Office, etc, and we had issues getting it back. Don't use Word either, same issue.

We also historically included an engagement letter, invoice and ask to confirm bank data when we posted the Organizer package. This year we had to pull the bank data and sent it as an additional element to initial in our E-Signatures package. We would like to send the organizer via E-Signature\Docusign.

Does Intuit really care if clients defect to another Intuit product? Probably not.

Yes, customizable PDF form fill documents.

Returning Member

Yes please!!!! Our clients ask for this all the time. 

Returning Member

You could also possibly incorporate the Scan and Import option to be able to import information from the printed out PDF.

New Member

I am so frustrated with the e-organizer and it's inability to open and work with Mac or Apple.  I also agree I have had many PC users that just can't seem to open it.  The firewalls bring up a message that says your computer may implode if you continue with this process.  This is not helpful or encouraging to clients.  For all the money we pay for this tax software our lives should be made more convenient and not create more work. 

Level 2

If Lacerte ever gets its act together and implements this feature, i'd suggest that it also includes the option to add comments by clients, much like they would if they were filling out a paper organizer, such as writing in between questions or on the margins.  There's no point in computerizing a form if it doesn't functionally operate identically to the manual counterpart.  That would be going backwards, which is what Lacerte has been prone to do many times in its "enhancements."  

Tom5, we include the "Notes" page (last one on the include/suppress box) in all of our organizers.  Setting this as a multi-line word-wrap text field in the PDF version we use is easy.

 

Any client who calls in and says "I ran out of space" we tell them to either forward the rest of their questions with their documents--if they are snail-mailing their W-2s and other items--or else just email them to us.

 

 

 

Robert

Returning Member

Agree strongly.  Been a Lacerte customer for 30 years and cannot believe the organizers don't have this feature.

Also, it's time to dump the .exe option for tax organizers.  Only works for PCs (not Macs) and clients would never use it anyway. 

Level 2

Yes, it is requested by many of my clients and I am looking at 3rd party software to accomplish this.