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Now that January is over!


We been using the Revenue software for submission of Tax Returns.

However, we are now looking at other software, which would include the Capital Gains pages(!!) and Partnership Returns.

Another thing which would be nice would be software that you could set to file overnight, or in less busy periods.

At the moment, we are only looking at Self Assessment filing, but CT filing would be a bonus.

Any suggestions, please?

Many Thanks
Lisa Sheppard
Lisa Sheppard


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Easy to use, good value for money, and none of this 'filing overnight' business.

I think in the IT zone, there is a review of tax software, so you might want to check this out.

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Andrew Prentice - Not really sure what you mean but moneysoft payroll might of interest to you

Apologies if I am confusing matters

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Tax Assistant from Drummohr..
...continues to work well for us. No bugs, hangs or rejections. Software validates before submitting.

Just wish there was some paye software that would allow you to populate offline and submit online (to cover those clients payrolls where software isn't used).

The biggest problem has been 64-8's and HMRC inability to process them into their system correctly, but even that wasn't so much of a problem this year as you could file without one being set up.

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PTP every time for me. Easy to use, intuitive software, and for another £99 you get the FBI module. Worth every penny

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used tax assistant for at least five years - very good product type tax assistant in google and in comes up hope this helps

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I've used TaxCalc again this year for SA, Corp tax, Partnerships, R40's, Capital gains. I've had no problems at all.

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Tax Assistant
Agree with Andrew. Tax Assistant - from Drummohr Technology - has been in use for 8 years now, has never let us down, includes CT and forms P11D and is excellent value for money. Support, on the exceptionally rare occasions that we've needed any, has been first rate.

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I can't believe that no-one has mentioned Digita- a superb SA product- with basic CGT built in but added module for more complex cases and they also produce great corp tax & accounts production software- I've been using it for nearly nine years now - can't fault it or their timely upgrades, Hope this helps


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Digita does it for me as well
I signed up late last year to Digita SA, CT and Company Secretarial. A superb product and great customer service. Mind you, I've only used the SA module so far - with no problems whatsoever using the software and all Returns filed online successfully. I'll start using the other modules soon and I expect the same high quality. The monthly payments I think are reasonable too.

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Why do you want to file overnight?
This year we have filed over 300 individual and partnership tax returns during working hours (OK - somewhat extended working hours during the last couple of weeks) and 95% of them have been accepted within seconds with the e-mail being received within 30 seconds. A few returns have taken longer or produced a "the website is busy - try again later" message, but they seem to have been the ones for our awkward clients (how does the Revenue website know who they are!) and even they have gone through on a second or third attempt without much trouble.

Only 1 or 2 returns have been rejected on a data validation error and these were easily corrected and resubmitted.

We use IRIS for internet filing of individual, partnership and company tax returns, but it is really an integrated package with accounts preparation included, so it is probably too much for your immediate requirements.

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Hi Lisa

TaxCalc is comprehensive software with good support at a very affordable price. Filing by Internet is standard and is an absolute doddle to use. Various packages are available so you can go in for the facilities that you need and upgrade when you need more.

We find it very good for individuals, partnerships and corporation tax and have found that the inbuilt data auditing "Check" section has picked up the few data entry inconsistencies that we have made.

We have found the HMCE end of FBI to have been signiicantly improved this year. We only found one occasion in January when the system was too busy, that apart the online filing process for an individual return using TaxCalc took a matter of typically 10 seconds from the time that the submit button was pressed and the successful filing report was rolling off the printer (4Mb broadband connection) at any time night or day on every day of the week.

Reports are automatically produced in PDF format so returns they can be emailed to clients for them to review and approve.

To see what options are available, follow - http://www.taxcalc.co.uk .

Yes, I am enthusiatic about the software. It works well and it doesn't break the bank.

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I've been using Digita products for many years now. Excellent software and great support. As a sole practitioner I find it really useful to be able to purchase different licences depending on how many clients I have for each application: Personal & partnership tax, corporation tax, accounts production, company secretarial. This helps with the budget so you're not paying for what your not using.

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Digita for me
Definately Digita.

As my practice grows i am buying more licences.
I am also using the business tax and ct module which is great.
can't fault the support either.

I've used a number of tax return packages in the past (as an employee)and Digita for me is the best.

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Overnight filing

I think your problem has been with the Revenue's own software. The general opinion of those who use third party software seems to be that the website has worked very quickly this year. I am sure that you will not need to schedule overnight filing with any of the packages you are considering.

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Tax software
Digita, don't even think of anyone else, there back up team of experts is second to none , their prices are right. Ring Karen Green on 01395 270273. If only I was on commission.

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John Huggins
John - How do you know they are better than everyone else. Have you tried other packages?

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Thanks for answers so far!

Many thanks for all your comments.

I have looked at TaxCalc and it seems it would do everything I need, for quite a reasonable price. Will have a look at Digita, Tax Assistant and PTP also, although Steve seems to suggest Digita has a monthly fee, not sure about that.

In answer to Euan, the overnight filing requirement comes from waiting for hours for IR acknowledgement of submission. The site sits there saying it is submitting, although you do have the option to log out and check back later (not sure I want to risk that with IR software!). When the acknowledgement arrived, the Return had been submitted immediately, but it was still "submitting" for two hours!

Any more comments will be gratefully received.

Thanks again

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Inexpensive tax software
Why pay out unecessarily?I bought Andica for £100 +VAT=£117.50 & was able to file everything except SA800s(6) & a few nuisance value souls.I can file unlimited numbers & at a reasonable price.I have also found an excellent CT package by Steven Tuckwell for £120.And now a pyaroll package that includes CIS for £117.50,which is called Moneysoft.I do not unerstand why people pay out so much for software they can get at sensible prices.We are supposed to be accountants & cost-conscious.I suppose if you overcharge your clients you can afford to do this.

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We've used PTP for 8 years and are very happy with it. The annual fee they charge includes telephone support if you have problems. I must admit we haven't looked round at other products since we've had PTP - never felt the need really.

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Digita gets my vote too

We have used Digita's Taxability Pro since we moved from DOS to Windows(!!) and I can say it has never let us down. I can't comment on other software products, but Digita have always produced first class software and support. I recommend you make your shortlist and then speak to - or even visit - other users to make sure the vendor's claims are borne out by real users' experiences.

I was sceptical years ago - after all, if the Revenue supply free paper tax returns why waste money on software to do the same? The real gain is in the management control you get over your client list, you know exactly where each return is, ensuring that noone is missed out. You save time too as client data is brought forward from year to year. Now with online filing it saves so much time. With Digita we can email a PDF copy of a return directly from the software, a great time saver if your clients are spread geographically.

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One more
We have used Forbes Software for over 10 years - it copes with our 370+ SA returns, including partnerships etc. and there is no additional cost for having over a certain number of clients which some providers charge. Also copes with all our CT returns.

Also has a good client database to monitor progress of returns.

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And I'll vote for Sage
We've had Sage in use since SA came in and the product in use now is the descendant of Ibis 2, which was a DOS program for 1996/97, that was then bought by APEX and then by Sage as their chosen platform. I like it because of it's control functions and I'm now grooved into their pattern of entering data.

Most tax people who've worked with tax software always prefer the one that they first used, be in Taxability, Sage, Pertax, IRIS or whatever. I can't recall anyone trained in one full-service system, coming to prefer another instead.

Plus we've been dealing with Sage long enough to know many of their software development and support people and they're almost always nice people.

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PTP everytime for me.

Back up is great and so is value for money

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Sorry Lisa
We're not really helping are we? On the basis of the replies you've had, there's no one obvious winner. I'd be curious to know what the market shares are - I doubt whoever's biggest has much more than 25%.

But you can get all the manufacturers to give you a demo disk or an on-the spot run-through. It does mean dealing with salesmen, but someone has to. Just try a few and see which 'look and feel' appeals most for the right money.

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Not a recommendation but
Has anyone used Keytime accountants suite or have any comments to make about it?

I currently use a mixture of spreadsheet working papers, VTsoftware and PTP corp tax and tax platform.

I am interested getting more productivity out of my software and am considering a range of options from changing from VT to accountsvision through to completely changing to something like Digita.

This thread is quite timely

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CCH, IRIS and Sage
I have used all of the following:

Sage - Personal Tax is fantastic, so simple and easy to use. Does everything you'll want it to. But, Sage's Corp tax is an nightmare. It is possibly the worst program I've ever come across.

CCH - (previously Taxpoint) Personal and Partnership tax has won loads of awards, and rightly so. Buy it with Tax Manager and it reviews the returns telling you if you're likely to get an investigation or not, and how to avoid it, and tax planning tips! Corp tax is good and is getting better with every release.

IRIS - Near faultless. Does a good job of returns and the corp tax is the best of the three I've mentioned.

If it was just personal tax you want, look at Sage. If you want Corp tax as well look at the other two. IRIS is a more polished product, but CCH does the same things (and they're a bit more flexible on price!!)

All of the above have excellent support.

For the record we're currently using CCH full suite.

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CCH - with PDF attachments
Have been using CCH suite for over 10 years and found them to be very good.

This year they have produced a version that allowed the attachment of PDF files with the return so that as long as you have some form of PDF writer you could attach accounts and tax comps as well as other necessary documents (copies of valuations etc) to be sent with the return. This saves time and postage if, like me, you always want to send a set of sole trader accounts with the return.

I have had some issue with regard to the message received back in the software from HMRC but the returns were always received even though the software said they had been rejected. I am in contact with support trying to work out why. Teething problems probably.

I understand that the PDF attachment will shortly be available for corporation tax as well.

From reading the comments below all of the major players have great loyalty from their customers so it is very much a matter of looking at the different products and deciding which one suits you.

I am sure if you looked at the various web sites to see the different products and then invited the 3 or 4 of the ones you were most interested in to visit you you would find a product that you liked.

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Fasttax is bargin and will do partnership rtns and CGT pages.£50 for the 30 client version and just £99.99 for the unlimited. VT accounts software also now exports data to it - a very basic, very reliable product which I think you would like if you have been using the Revenue version. Don't know about setting it to file overnight though - but I'm sure their support would be able to tell you


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No hesitation – PTP
I’ve been using PTP since 1998, I did ELS for the first 7 years and FBI for the last 2 for Individuals, Partnerships and Trusts. I’ve also been using CT for the same period, but only started using the FBI 12 months ago. I highly recommend PTP – it is intuitive to use as it looks like a paper Tax Return and you will be able to use it without training, the support is first class, and the price is very reasonable compared to some others. It also includes features that other charge for such as a dividend database. PTP handles all the schedules including CG. Regarding the overnight filing, you used to be able to set ELS to file overnight, but I don’t think you can do that with FBI, but there isn’t any need – normally the software files returns at the rate of about 1 a second and responses are available just seconds later, on 31 January I noticed the filing was slightly slower, and the responses a lot slower, but even then it was only about 20 seconds per return. I’m not connected with PTP, just a very satisfied user.

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Forbes Computer Systems
We have used Forbes software since self assessment began and have transmitted electronically most of that time. We have it loaded on several computers so most staff can work on returns at the same time. We transmit virtually all returns electronically including trusts. We also use it for corporation tax and time sheets.

For such a comprehensive package and about 350 returns the price seems quite reasonable. We hardly used the helpline this year but it is free and manned by the people who wrote the software, so any problems are usually resolved very quickly. It can produce summary tax returns (typically 2 or 3 pages long) which can easily be emailed to the furthest corners of the Earth printed out, signed and posted back.

This year the electronic transmissions went pretty smoothly with none of last year's long delays.

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