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IRIS answers Taxfiler migration questions

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Recent emails to Taxfiler subscribers about migrating to IRIS Elements Tax & Accounts have prompted questions from AccountingWEB readers about whether the cloud tax tool will be discontinued. Tom Herbert spoke to IRIS Software Group to answer those questions and find out more about the move.

27th Sep 2023
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Founded in 2012 with personal and business tax modules, Taxfiler grew into a genuine small-firm player in the cloud tax and accounts production space and was acquired by IRIS in 2018.

Last year IRIS told AccountingWEB that Taxfiler will no longer be developed in isolation, and would be integrated into its IRIS Elements suite of products. From June 2022, IRIS stopped selling the current version of Taxfiler to new customers, but no official statement was made about when the original product would no longer be supported.

Recently, the developer has been contacting Taxfiler subscribers about migrating to the equivalent product on IRIS Elements Tax & Accounts. This has prompted a number of AccountingWEB members to get in touch with the site or post on the Any Answers forum (one example can be found here) and pose a variety of questions about the move.

To answer these questions and more, Jonathan Priestley, VP of Product Marketing spoke with AccountingWEB to provide some clarity about the migration process.

What’s happening with the Taxfiler-IRIS Elements migration?

“We’re selecting customers to migrate from Taxfiler to the equivalent IRIS Elements Tax & Accounts package based on when their subscriptions end. We picked this method to reduce the numbers moving at any one time. Doing it in smaller groups means we can provide extra support for customers and resolve any issues in a timely way. We are also pausing our communications from November to February to accommodate busy season.

“Customers can wait to be contacted or volunteer to migrate. We always provide a 30-day window for the move and invite them to set up an account in IRIS Elements, then migrate their data and transition across. To make the transition seamless, we automatically move tax data, VAT, accounts and client data across to make the move as painless as possible.”

Why are you doing this?

“Taxfiler is more than 10 years old. In relative terms, it’s a first-generation cloud app. There has been a leap in technology infrastructure since then. As we design new technology like IRIS Elements, we have taken advantage of these advancements to improve security, resilience and scalability.

“This was difficult to do in the existing app and was one of the reasons we integrated Taxfiler into Elements when it was first launched. This wasn’t a straightforward integration and we had to completely redesign the back end of Taxfiler, as it was only designed as a standalone system.”

Why should I move?

“In short, to gain the benefits of our investment in technology. Not only have we made the platform more secure and stable, but we’ve also added new features and improvements. Going forward, customers will benefit from additional automation, efficiencies and intelligence that we add to IRIS Elements Tax & Accounts as part of their subscription. We’ve also been through exhaustive customer testing to make enhancements to the existing Taxfiler product in terms of usability and accessibility while keeping some of the most popular features: for example the intuitive tabulated sequence of actions from left to right.

“Elements Tax & Accounts users can also add our proposal manager, AML, and practice management tools which are all part of the infrastructure and integrate seamlessly with all existing products.”

Will my price differ if I migrate from Taxfiler to IRIS Elements Tax?

“For the equivalent product, the price will stay the same – the migration is cost-neutral for users.”

Is there a cost to switch from Taxfiler to Elements?

“There’s no additional charge to switch. There have been one or two instances where people have reported being charged twice for Taxfiler and Elements Tax & Accounts, but that’s because they made the move faster than we anticipated and went before the start of the process. In these cases, we’ve reconciled the difference once we’ve found out. It’s not our intention to charge people for the two systems. It’s designed to be cost-neutral.”

If I move to another product and my Taxfiler subscription lapses, do I still have access to my data?

“All customers still have access to the Taxfiler system for a year in read-only mode. You'll still be able to view your data, but you won't be able to create, edit or submit accounts and tax returns. From here, the data can be extracted. As mentioned above, we’ve also moved all Taxfiler history automatically across to Elements Tax to make the customer journey more comfortable.”

Can I get a new Taxfiler licence?

“From June 2022, we stopped selling the current version of Taxfiler to new customers.”

Can I renew my existing Taxfiler licence?

“Our customers are contacted by email and sent a message in the app 30 days before renewal. This explains how to upgrade to IRIS Elements as we are not renewing Taxfiler licences.”

When will Taxfiler support be discontinued?

“We’ve not set a date for that but at some point in the future Taxfiler will no longer be supported. Our priority is to make sure accountants and bookkeepers have a fast, accurate and compliant service.”

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If you have any other questions about the IRIS-Taxfiler migration, you can visit the Taxfiler Elements website or add them below and a representative from IRIS has agreed to answer them. Please respect the community rules of the site and keep questions polite and professional.

Replies (32)

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stonks
By WinterDragon
27th Sep 2023 16:50

Great article Tom, it's good to see someone holding IRIS to account for some of their missteps.

It's interesting that amongst the woffle JP seemed to confirm that they won't be renewing any contracts for TaxFiler and now pushing customers towards Elements instead of just offering the migration. We used TaxFiler and communication from them was rather opaque on what was going to be happening to their customers. We never received any communication from TaxFiler and I only had information from following AWeb or visiting the IRIS booth at Accountex or AWeb Live Expo.

We were sold onto IRIS Practice Essentials which bundled TaxFiler & Senta together with the promise of an integration but the whole project was effectively scrapped when they announced IRIS Elements as the future platform. I remember in the Senta group on Facebook the team said there were no plans to discontinue Senta and users wished to remain on Senta wouldn't be forced to migrate to Elements.

Knowing how IRIS is with signing customers onto 12 month contracts, unless someone managed to get a longer contract this effectively puts a <12 month lifespan on TaxFiler as everyone will be forced to migrate to Elements or leave IRIS entirely. It's naive to expect IRIS to support TaxFiler/Senta forever but it's a shame they won't wait until customers voluntarily migrate and insist on pushing.

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Replying to WinterDragon:
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By rmillaree
28th Sep 2023 11:49

" It's naive to expect IRIS to support TaxFiler/Senta forever but it's a shame they won't wait until customers voluntarily migrate and insist on pushing."

To be honest (shame iris arent) - it would make no sense to continue to run platform beyond the point at which subscriptions end up at an insignificant level - its obvious a product like this will need tweeks every tax year - so once dsecision is made to actively move clients its obvious end goal is probably less than 12 months away. Note totally different to sage50 farce where there was no need to develop the producton ongoing basis (sages lie that necessary security updates needed was ridiculous excuse - they could have parked and left clients to their own devices)

To be fair to iris for once (i am among their strongest critics as they treat us like s hit when we were a customer) if they are moving peeps at annual renewal date thats a fairly fair middle ground - albeit they should really have flagged up the prior year that this is the reality of what they are doing rather than some [***] and bull "no decisions have been made yet" line. I suspct if they had clearly said product is likely closing in 12 months i think most peeps would have jumped ship - presumably they didnty want to adertise the reality here that they have known for soem time this product is being turned off soon. Hey ho less farce than the shambles that existed when they shut down drummohr back in the day without having replacement that worked.

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By Postingcomments
27th Sep 2023 17:09

Is Absolute any good?

I don't do huge volumes of CT and SA returns and most of them aren't especially complex. I just need something that is simple to use, doesn't have loads of features that I won't use and isn't a massive cost.

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Replying to Postingcomments:
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By Wanderer
27th Sep 2023 18:59

Have a look at TaxCalc.

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Replying to Postingcomments:
Roy Mitchell
By Roy3112
11th Oct 2023 13:26

Taxcalc is fantastic. Have used it since 2009. Nice layout with fantastic support

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By unsure_accountant
28th Sep 2023 12:22

Has anyone started this process yet?

Are IRIS using this as an opportunity to up prices? Any experiences on this would be most welcome so we can look at possible moving away if they are.....

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Replying to unsure_accountant:
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By Annfarquhar
03rd Nov 2023 09:59

We converted from taxfiler as we weren't given the option of continuing. We haven't used it much yet but came to prepare my first CT comp yesterday to find that the programme doesn't yet have the facility to include a Capital Allowance claim. It's under development. We should have spent longer on the demo's but we honestly thought that this was a fully developed programme!

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Replying to Annfarquhar:
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By rmillaree
03rd Nov 2023 10:48

this is turning into 2016 and the old drummohr fiasco all over again - only good news here is that change is not forced chanmge for all right at start of the year. Not sure why anyone sticks with iris if things are this bad if they are given the opportunity to jump ship and use something by someone else that works?

How can capital allowances not be a basic necessary feature - that would scare teh crapola out of me as to how things work when stuff gets even slightly complicated. there is top banana stuff out there (i am happy btc bod) that just works

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By cathwalker
28th Sep 2023 12:49

It has been most confusing. I have LLPs which the basic Elements will not do, and was initially told I would need to upgrade and pay significantly more. Then a couple of weeks later, I was told that, apparently, there is a special tier for ex Taxfiler users which will cost the same as Taxfiler and include the extra elements such as LLPs.

So, which is it?? I don't have much confidence in the process!

Not to mention that they are increasing the notice period to 3 months, but (from experience with Iris desktop which I still use for a few clients) they only tell you the price for the next year a month in advance. So, if you don't like the price increase (which in my experience, with Iris, is usually way more than inflation), you can't cancel. They used to send the renewal more than 3 months in advance, in which case the 3 months notice is fair enough, but stopped that several years ago.

I have to say that a 3 month notice when they only tell you how much you are expected to pay with a month to go seems unethical to me, and that makes me reluctant to remain with Iris Elements since I don't want to work with a company with an unethical attitude. I complain regularly about it to my account manager, but falls on deaf ears. I interested to know what the powers at be have to say to justify it???

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Replying to cathwalker:
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By Postingcomments
29th Sep 2023 17:23

They don't need to justify it. They just rely on enough people sucking it up and remaining a customer.

While plenty of people continue to swear by Iris and pay them, why would they change?

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By ATS_ACCA
28th Sep 2023 12:51

Thank you so much Tom for your efforts.
To a representative of IRIS ...
If we migrate to Elements, will we be losing any features, data or anything else that already exist within Taxfiler? or will we get exactly everything that was existing in Taxfiler?

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Replying to ATS_ACCA:
Jenny Strudwick
By jks.iris.co.uk
28th Sep 2023 16:06

Hi there,

We’ve taken Taxfiler, added additional features and improved the user experience in IRIS Elements Tax and Accounts. The migration routine will move all existing (and historical) data in Taxfiler over to Elements Tax & Accounts. When you are invited to migrate, you will be able to trial the product before moving your data over. There’s more information, including a short video comparing Taxfiler and IRIS Elements Tax and Accounts on our website: www.iris.co.uk/l/taxfiler-to-elements

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By Charlie Carne
28th Sep 2023 13:15

I've used Taxfiler for years and renewed for another year (paid up front) six months ago. I've looked at the new pricing for IRIS Elements and it starts from £3 pm for Accounts Production Essentials and £9 pm for Tax Essentials, though those prices may exclude some features that are in Taxfiler (it's not clear to me if they do or not). The prices for Tax Professional jumps from £9 to £48 pm (!!) and AP Professional prices are only available on request per their web site.

If IRIS are correct that the new Tax and AP Essentials cover all of the Taxfiler features, then I don't understand why users are so upset at the move, when the new system looks similar to Taxfiler, with some modernising tweaks, and is apparently built on a more stable platform. I am upset that a feature that I (and many others) have long requested (to add editable account descriptions) is now only available as part of AP Pro, but I will be arranging a demo in the new year to see exactly what changes there are from Taxfiler to Essentials.

I think that IRIS have made a mess of what could and should have been a simple migration that most Taxfiler users would have welcomed if it had been presented better. Initially, they offered migration but you had to manually set everything up again (which was not conducive to customer happiness) and, once they launched fully automatic migration (at least, I think that is what they now offer), they should have written to us and told us how they were re-branding the same product, the price would remain the same and offered demos to show how similar the two products were, but with improvements to be gained from the new, stable platform (plus upgrades available to those who wanted extra features that were not in Taxfiler).

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Tony s
By Tony S
28th Sep 2023 14:40

Does anyone know if we will still be able to access our data in Taxfiler if we unsubscribe from TaxFiler and move to a provider other than IRIS? I currently use TaxCalc for accounts production so would make sense to move to them for tax as well but I don't want to lose access to my historical tax data.

Thanks

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Replying to Tony S:
stonks
By WinterDragon
29th Sep 2023 02:47

"All customers still have access to the Taxfiler system for a year in read-only mode. You'll still be able to view your data, but you won't be able to create, edit or submit accounts and tax returns. From here, the data can be extracted"

Looks like your question was answered in the article

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Replying to WinterDragon:
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By Postingcomments
29th Sep 2023 17:32

Assuming "customer" also means someone who has decided to stop paying and so has ceased to be a customer................

You don't know where you stand with large companies, as so many deploy every little trick they can think of.

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Replying to WinterDragon:
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By Andy556
06th Jun 2024 11:42

Based on IRIS porkies if they actually said this. It's not true

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Intercity
By Mr Hankey
28th Sep 2023 14:52

Looking at the pricing page of Iris Elements

£9 per month: tax essentials package
£48 per month: tax professional package

It lists the features of the tax professional package, and one of these features is it supports "SA102"

SA102 is the employment page of a tax return!!!

So if any of your clients have employment income (I'd say this is almost a certainty), your price jumps from £9 to £48? Surely that can't be right?!

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By [email protected]
28th Sep 2023 16:15

I changed to tax filer from ptp tax when iris jacked the price up out of all proportion. Also changed to tax calc for accounts production when iris did a similar thing for their AP software.
How can I be sure that they will not do the same for this new Iris package when they are always so vague about pricing. I think they use the same script written as Richi Sunak!

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By carnmores
28th Sep 2023 18:07

Its a shame Taxfiler works very well as is. Its all about market share and stifling competition. Many of us small practitioners are happy as is and do not wish to be dragged into Iris' orbit.

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By Wanderer
28th Sep 2023 18:17

I was a very early adopter for IRIS Accounts Production. Think 'Iris Senior' in the 1980s. Kept it right up to 8 months ago.

Evaluated all the offerings just over a year ago and started to move Accounts Production over to TaxCalc, having used TaxCalc for SA since 1996/1997, up to about seven years ago, and for CT consistently for 20 years.

Now in the second year of TaxCalc for combined Accounts Production & CT and it is a joy to use. The integration & usability is amazing & streets ahead of IRIS, which became slow, clunky & more & more difficult to use over the years. I used to set an hour aside to implement the Iris updates & patches. TaxCalc is a click of a button and as each user logs on it automatically updates their installation as well.

Moved back to TaxCalc for SA this year. Again a joy to use. Additionally TaxCalc pricing is completely transparent.

Really suggest that people invest the time to see what alternatives are on offer.

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Replying to Wanderer:
By Charlie Carne
28th Sep 2023 20:17

Wanderer wrote:

I used to set an hour aside to implement the Iris updates & patches.


I, too, have had enough of installing, updating and fault-fixing desktop products, so that is why I only use cloud products, as there's nothing to install. TaxCalc is not a cloud product, so I refuse to use it. Taxfiler and IRIS Essentials are fully in the cloud, so there's nothing to install.
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Replying to charliecarne:
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By Wanderer
29th Sep 2023 10:13

Ah but you can subscribe to TaxCalc CloudConnect, like we do. This give you the best of both worlds. The database is held in the cloud and the program is held locally.

This results in lightning fast speeds compared to fully cloud based products and access from anywhere.

Once initially set up the program update is amazing, literally clicking a link to accept the update as an admin user. Implementation is about 10-15 seconds. Once the admin user has done that any 'satellite' users are updated fully and automatically the next time they log on.

So the update process is one click. Never have I had to fault fix TaxCalc.

A lot has changed since your 2012 blog post when you were going fully cloud, best to keep an open mind.

Obviously personal choice if people want to continue using IRIS, but maybe reflect how many moans do we see about IRIS v how many do we see about TaxCalc? In fact, from memory, I can only remember a member called 'Wanderer' moaning about one aspect of the TaxCalc offering!

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By MissAccounting
29th Sep 2023 12:46

Wanderer wrote:

Ah but you can subscribe to TaxCalc CloudConnect, like we do. This give you the best of both worlds. The database is held in the cloud and the program is held locally.

This results in lightning fast speeds compared to fully cloud based products and access from anywhere.

Once initially set up the program update is amazing, literally clicking a link to accept the update as an admin user. Implementation is about 10-15 seconds. Once the admin user has done that any 'satellite' users are updated fully and automatically the next time they log on.

So the update process is one click. Never have I had to fault fix TaxCalc.

A lot has changed since your 2012 blog post when you were going fully cloud, best to keep an open mind.

Obviously personal choice if people want to continue using IRIS, but maybe reflect how many moans do we see about IRIS v how many do we see about TaxCalc? In fact, from memory, I can only remember a member called 'Wanderer' moaning about one aspect of the TaxCalc offering!

Where is the data stored for TaxCalc? We got rid of our server when we moved to Taxfiler and use Sharepoint for VT and MS Office files. With multi user access required for Tax I assume it cant be stored in Sharepoint?

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Replying to MissAccounting:
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By Wanderer
29th Sep 2023 13:00

Can't answer the Sharepoint query however regarding the data query either locally or on TaxCalc's servers using their CloudConnect offering. We used to do the former, now the latter.

Point I think is really fair with TaxCalc is you don't pay per user, but per concurrent user. Even then you can vary it across the product offerings, e.g. 5 concurrent users for CloudConnect, 3 concurrent for Accounts Production, 2 concurrent for Tax etc. etc.

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By MissAccounting
29th Sep 2023 14:52

Thanks Wanderer, 2 users would probably do it for us which I believe is included in the unlimited plans.. I couldnt see a price on their website for the Cloud Connect offering, do you happen to know what the price is? TaxCalc should get you on a sales retainer!!

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Replying to MissAccounting:
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By Wanderer
29th Sep 2023 15:55

https://www.taxcalc.com/cloud-connect-tax-software#Versions

They could give me a retainer however not sure they would fully appreciate my objectivity. I'm hugely critical of one of their offerings and told them it's the worst program that I've ever used.

You can get a 14 day demo of everything, except CloudConnect, here:-
https://www.taxcalc.com/trial

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By lawrence harrison
30th Sep 2023 16:09

If anybody has checked through the current ownership of IRIS, you go through a myriad of companies to get to Perennial Newco 2 Ltd, which is owned jointly by Hg Capital Saturn Fund and Capital Group( ICG)- this by researching on Companies House. Their strategy (annual report 30 April 2023) is to build a set of worldwide systems (paraphrasing the report).
If we can only get past 31 January 2024, then I suspect most small practices will feel pretty remote from what IRIS can apparently offer: buy out the opposition(taxfiler) to corner the market??

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Roy Mitchell
By Roy3112
11th Oct 2023 13:21

Dear Tom

Thank you for this very well laid out report, here is my experience

Dealing with IRIS is rather like laying siege to a fortress. I call for a conversation and they throw excrement at me.

It began last year with the change from Taxfiler billing to IRIS. I paid the annual bill in full, yet their accounts department cannot seem to accept this despite me constantly sending them the proof of payment. I get threatening “no reply” emails and each month they continue to attempt to take money from my account . £95.83 goes out and its then returned as they don`t have authority.

I asked them around a month ago for a renewal price as they are advertising £9 pm plus £3 pm for the accounts production add on. Perfect as I only use them as a spare supplier.
No response except an unsolicited invoice for £51.05 plus vat for the month beginning 29/10/2023. I got a reminder to pay this unsolicited invoice yesterday. I have written so many times saying that I don`t want to pay this much and why can`t I just have the advertised price as I hardly use it
In desperation I thought I would phone them. Having spoken to two people who`s command of English is limited I got through to someone who actually seemed to not only be able to understand but could come up with a reply…progress. He refused to give his name but said he would pass me onto my accounts manager….then..yes you`ve guessed it. I was back in the loop and it was asking for what product I was calling for!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh you little joker, you are so funny. I suppose working in the Iris essentials team does that for you.

Well, I have honestly tried to communicate with them and its actually making me feel quite ill. My only hope is that they take me to court and I will gladly lay out the way I have been treated. This is a public professional arena so I`m unable to express my true feelings except to say that I would sack the lot.

In balance thank you to Quickbooks, Taxcalc and VT software for continued excellence in customer service. Long may you prosper. The other I hope will rot in software hell

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Replying to Roy3112:
Roy Mitchell
By Roy3112
30th Oct 2023 15:59

I`m delighted to say that a young lady called Sophie contacted me. She is eloquent, intelligent and effective. I may now retreat and part company with dignity intact. Its agreed that I had paid in advance for my annual taxfiler license which has now expired. So long as I have read only access for 12 months I`m content. I see no reason to transfer to IRIS essentials as its totally different. I`ll stay with VT and Taxcalc, and just hope they don`t sell out. I shall lament the passing of Taxfiler, just as I still miss TAS Books which was simply fantastic and probably Blackberry. I suppose its getting to that time that I`ll just gaze at the sky and remember. Thanks again Sophie from IRIS you are a gem.

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By Andy556
06th Jun 2024 11:39

I joined TaxCalc.

IRIS have not honoured the 1 year read only mode as mentioned in this article. I have lost all access, I cannot view anything

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Replying to Andy556:
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By Andy556
06th Jun 2024 13:11

Now they are saying they will honour it for a fee....surprise

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