Based on Filemaker Pro, Tax Manager 99 and Family Tax 99 are the only tax calculators for the Macintosh platform, and, the only packages which come pre-configured under UK tax laws. They are designed to ease the burden of filing tax returns.
The first complaint is the design interface. As you can see above, the layout isn’t stunning – but some may say, how pretty does tax software have to be?
When using the package, you are presented with standard Tax Office forms which you then fill in on-screen. You have to know the tax rules, and have your tax guide to hand but, certainly for the professional accountant this system offers the facility to fill in a field once, and once only. You create dedicated files for multiple clients, detailing their names and other pertinent information with tax office details.
This information is then placed in relevant fields on the various required forms. This facility means you don’t have to add the same information to each form – for example, capital gains or employment – a tedious task with complex tax affairs. Once you have filled in your supplementary forms, all relevant information is automatically placed in your SA 100 (tax-return form). Having completed the SA 100, you then hit the Calculate button. A series of pages familiar to anybody who has calculated their own tax pop-up, the software tots up the figures and presto! – you know what you owe the government.
You can double-check the forms and calculations, moving from page to page with a mouse-click. You do have to be fairly clued-up on tax law, but that’s no disadvantage. A fully automated system could yield false results, and you wouldn’t know it. The form you then submit could cause problems with your Tax Office – and life’s too short for that. Ultimately, tax returns are painful, but for domestic users filling in self-assessment forms – or even for a professional accountancy-practice – these packages present the only worthwhile Macintosh-based digital tool for Tax calculation.
Both packages work well and the resultant calculations are accurate. The software is easy to navigate. There is plenty of space to add notes, and the relevant forms are included. It’s got a great deal to offer any accountant, including a yearly update, a help system and a searchable database of Tax Offices. Accountants using Tax Manager 99 will also benefit from the Practice Management, and unlimited clients features – Family Tax is limited to three clients.