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TaxFolder - Scaled Down Version With Only Electronic Signature Functionality?

My wish list for the 2021 tax season would include a scaled down version of TaxFolder, which only provides the following functionality:

  • electronic signatures only
  • no requirement for client to create or use a TaxFolder account/login in order to simply sign and return the form
  • no requirement for the client to use Multi-Factor-Authentication, cell phone number, etc – unless the tax preparer wants to turn that feature on
  • TaxCycle integration like DocuSign
  • no document upload/download/storage – just electronic signatures
  • cost less than $300.00 per year for unlimited signatures

Anybody else think that would be useful?

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I certainly second your wishlist - once the peripheral work exceeds the time of tax preparation it is no longer useful…

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I paid for but opted not to even touch this… one person office… too many issues being posted… I judged I did not have the time to invest in teaching my clients and fielding all the phone calls… I do not charge enough to cover that type of admin time. I realize some of the larger firms have staff to deal with issues… Per the forum it seemed the problems just kept going and going and going.

I appreciate they attempted to roll this out for tax season but in end happy I chose to not use it.

Money down the drain for me !

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Yes. I maybe had 20 signatures and i just put the effort in and used Adobe Sign (acrobat) which is part of my Adobe subscription

The tax folder is too expensive. I used adobe last year and this year. I set up T183 to print as a PDF file and then start adobe sign to get electronic signature. It’s way cheaper than Tax Folder. The cost is less than $180 Cdn for Acrobat Adobe Pro. It has lots of other benefits like adobe sign, convert pdf to office files, saving half-filled forms from the internet, etc,

I did some research this year, and then purchased a subscription with SignNow.com. The basic “Business” subscription is US$96/year (which worked out to about CAD$125). They have additional plans with more features. Payment | signNow

They don’t specify a limit on the number of signatures or documents, but it’s not “unlimited”. I discussed this with their support staff, who said that “expected” usage is about 100 documents per month (with the basic plan). I explained that 80% of my usage would be between March 1 and April 30, and they said it would be no problem as long as my yearly average was less than 100/month.

SignNow includes the ability to store (archive) the completed documents online (accessible only by me). Signers don’t have to log in or create an account. But, there is no integration with TaxCycle - I generate PDFs from TaxCycle, then upload to the SignNow website interface (which is drag-and-drop), add the signature and date fields, and send to the recipients’ email addresses. Once the document is signed, I get an email from SignNow with the PDF attached, which is also available for download from the website interface. There is an option to have the date and time stamp appear below the signature. When I want to e-file the T1, I have to click the T183 e-signature link in TaxCycle, and manually enter the date/time.

Also note that SignNow doesn’t include an address book (doesn’t save my contacts) but does remember the most recent 100 or so email addresses used.

So, it’s not as slick as TaxFolder, but for a quarter of the price, it works for me…

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SignNow does have an API development team, so integration with TaxCycle could be done, if someone was willing to pay them for that…

E-courier has finally added e-signature options and as you may know E-courier is already integrated into TaxCycle. The cost is reasonable I believe its around 200.00 and is unlimited.

The basic plan is $279 per year and you need to pay extra for premium services like E-signatures.

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Nice to hear these other options, Taxfolder was a complete bust for us. Tremendous waste of time, energy and money.

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I have shared some of my thoughts directly with Taxcycle staff already, so maybe this is redundant, but wanted to add my voice to this thread. I do actually agree with the original post, at least in part. Context first:

  • we have an Adobe subscription, which includes Adobe Sign. We don’t use that.
  • We subscribe to DocuSign (even before it was officially integrated with Taxcycle, but also because we knew that it would be integrated with TaxCycle).
  • We subscribed to TaxFolder (and I would say we primarily used it this season, with DocuSign serving as backup).
  • We subscribe to E-courier, including the subscription for the Secure Deposit Box Link. I recently reviewed the e-signature add on, but determined that the price was favourable, but the functionality was not to our standard.
  • Our practice management software has a client portal built in, which also has the ability to request and receive e-signatures. We don’t use either of those two capabilities (by choice).

I’m ok with the price of TaxFolder. I would rather it ONLY did e-signatures, and that that process didn’t involve confusion about whether or not an account needs to be created or login is required. That is what I agree with from the original post. Direct integration with TaxCycle, and ease of use for us and for clients are the most important factors for us. I don’t mind the 2FA (and 2FA only, not the added security features). There was confusion with some clients using TaxFolder. The ideal solution would involve NO calls from clients regarding how to sign, and no need to view a video to get the job done, and minimal steps and clicks to get the job done.

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I have to agree with the original poster’s wishlist. We have been incredibly frustrated using TaxFolder for this most recent tax season. The year before we subscribed to Docusign due to COVID and very few issues - even with clients who struggle with technology.

This year we had clients outright refuse to keep trying to use it due to technical difficulties and confusion with the TaxFolder request to make an account. There were many glitches and technical issues surrounding the program, and many lost hours trying to get things back on track.

Now that TaxFolder is advertising a price of $595 per user, we are seriously considering switching again to another electronic signature provider, with a smaller price tag and better functionality. It would be one thing to pay that price if it was functioning wonderfully with a client portal as an option, but as it stands it seems steep for a program that hasn’t had all the kinks worked out.

I’ve also used Adobe Sign this tax season as part of my subscription to Adobe Acrobat Pro. I’m paying $20.99 monthly ($251.88 annual), so not sure how @msbuttar got a cheaper rate of less than $180? Overall it worked great except that it displays a popup to accept cookies the first time it is used, and this popup blocks the location of the “Click to Sign” button. I had one senior citizen client who is not computer savvy not clear this popup, thus requiring a telephone support call from me on April 30th when I was really busy to troubleshoot why he couldn’t sign his documents. I would have like to create custom API templates for the T183, however this functionality is only available with an enterprise license (ie: a business with more than one account).

I will consider trying e-courier’s e-signature functionality for next year’s tax season. I’ll request a demo later this summer. My issue is that I have several clients who find e-courier confusing and thus don’t use it, preferring using e-mail despite my numerous attempts to education them. I’ve resorted to allowing these clients send me documents using WhatsApp since it also uses end-to-end encryption and is thus safer than email. If custom templates can be created and integrated into TaxCycle, I would seriously consider using it.

With my small tax business of about 200 clients, I had a 50/50 split of paper signatures compared to electronic signatures. Thus, TaxCycle is overpriced and not an option since only 100 clients would benefit from it.

definitely. if it was under $300 for signatures only otherwise i will continue to use Adobe sign

I want to continue to support the Trilogy products and would echo a lot of the comments in this thread.

I definitely think there should be a signature only component offered with the option for the full functionality of TaxFolder at a higher price point.

Most, but not all of my clients by any means, were able to handle the E-Signature portion with only a minor amount of difficulty.

Having received my renewal notice with the TaxFolder cost included I would like to know the direction TaxFolder is going before signing up for that option again.

Well we used Taxfolder this year as well. Most of my clients did not have a problem using it unless they had to sign a pension split form. Then nothing seemed to work well. Despite not needing to setup an account to sign the document already, getting two emails seemed to cause some confusion. Since it is the first year of the product, I am willing to try it again; however, I do agree that the price is too high per user since in my case I will have several signatures and my partners would have significantly less that make purchasing them their own license not effective. A site license would be better for my situation since the number of signatures would not go up but the person sending them would change.

I also would like to see better integration when a file is filed to ask if you want it complete on taxfolder as well. I think there is a lot of promise with the system and hopefully modify the process a bit prior to next year since I already know everyone has forgotten their password if they setup the account. It would be nice if we could just have the signature email go as well and ignore the sign in.

None of my clients had any issues signing documents sent by Adobe sign

Great post @mike! A separate pricing tier that excludes the portal would be excellent.

I also love @james1’s idea of a site licence to allow different people to send for signatures but share the same allotment of clients (i.e. 500 clients and pay for 250 additional clients as needed).

I found this article about the first season of TaxFolder extremely helpful. It shows that Trilogy is listening and continuing to improve the product.

Overall, we were happy with TaxFolder. Our firm’s biggest ask is the ability to turn off or ignore the portal side. Even if we are paying for the portal, I would prefer that our clients only know about it if we choose to invite them. The automatic emails inviting clients to create an account have caused confusion.

Is there anywhere we can see what’s next for TaxFolder? Like @Arliss said, it would be nice to know at renewal time.

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I second that idea.

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I would be more interested in a scaled down version, I had the same experience as rachelavryl, the number of issues being posted stopped me from even bothering to implement the process for 2020 returns .