It was time to move my business forward, and cloud technology was a requirement for me. I had been a long-time Intuit® ProConnect™ ProSeries® user and truly loved it, but moving to the cloud meant moving to a new software. Intuit ProConnect Tax Online, here I come!
I admit, I questioned this decision as tax season was starting full blast, and I was, at most, a sprinting turtle getting through returns.
“Did I enter everything in the right place?”
“What does “override” mean?”
“Will this software ever feel natural to me?”
Then, I found my first gem in ProConnect Tax Online! As I entered the EIN of a W-2, a box appeared that said, “Get my W-2.” I had seen it before but ignored it, thinking I couldn’t have one more thing slowing me down. For whatever reason, I decided to see what would happen if I pressed “continue.”
I was prompted to enter the Social Security number, the control number from Box d, and the amount in Box 1 with dollars and cents, followed by the “Get my W-2” button. Voila! The entire W-2 was entered automagically! Since the information came directly from the payroll company, I was confident that each number was correct.
That was time savings for sure, but the “Get my W-2” feature also ended up saving me more than just time. Have you ever entered a W-2, and because it is rare to see an amount in Box 10, accidentally skip right over it? Well I did once, and because of that, I am more conscientious at looking at Box 10. We are all human, and in the midst of a busy season or learning a new software, it is an easy item to overlook.
I had a diagnostic notification while checking the return that indicated missing provider information for the daycare benefit shown on the W-2. Through a conversation with the client, I knew he had no daycare expense, but sure enough, the W-2 import accurately reported an amount in Box 10! I could have completely missed that and never realized it until the client received a letter from the IRS about 18 months down the road. Time savings, yes; embarrassment savings, YES!
I realized additional time savings from importing a W-2 the client had uploaded through Intuit Link. After you import a W-2, the program uses optical character recognition (OCR) to “read” it, so you do have to check for accuracy of the information pulled. I have had instances of information recognized with 100 percent accuracy; however, there are occasions when adjustments are needed. This method of importing W-2s works well for me.
You make these adjustments before ProConnect Tax Online imports the W-2 information from Link into the return. A window pops up and shows you a side-by-side comparison of the W-2 image and the fields and data recognized.
Most of the time, the changes are necessary not because the OCR was inaccurate, but due to the client photos. If the client has taken a picture with their phone and the W-2 was not completely flat or the photo does not capture the entire W-2, there can be problems recognizing the correct information. For example, if there are four W-2 images on the page and a client tries to take a picture of just one of the W-2s, but ends up with half of the one above and half of the one next to it, the OCR will sometimes recognize more than one entry for a particular field. Regardless, it is a timesaver and one of the many things I have come to appreciate about ProConnect Tax Online.
We are now in the thick of tax season, and I am no longer looking back. I have found many other gems of using ProConnect Tax Online and having cloud-based software. Having these two time saving options for importing W-2s and other documents into ProConnect Tax Online with couple clicks and sometimes a quick review saves me time, increases accuracy and makes me more productive.
A note from ProConnect Tax Online product manager, Steven Wheelis
Our goal is to deliver on our “No Work” promise with complete confidence. This year, we have made tremendous progress with the integration of tax data collection in ProConnect Tax Online. Now, you can collect all the taxpayer information needed for the tax return quickly and securely without tedious data entry.
The new “Act as Taxpayer” function makes it easier for everyone to get data and information imported directly to the tax return, even if your clients prefer to email or drop-off documents. Once the information is collected, Intuit’s intelligent systems extract and map the data directly into the tax return. When you are ready to review the return, we give you complete control with a side-by-side view of the original document and the data applied to the return.
Currently, we support seven source documents for this experience:
- W-2 – wages
So far in this tax season, we have saved tax professionals more than 100,000 entries in the tax return. Over the summer, the ProConnect Tax Online product team plans to streamline the experience further and continue to improve the data import accuracy.