Bloomberg Tax Tech Roundup: Reviewing 2014 Software Updates
2014 was another transformative year for tax and accounting procedures. January alone brought IRS guidance on complying with the finalized Tangible Property Repair Regulations, and marked the start of a 12-month Congressional debate over the Tax Extenders. A number of new income tax changes under the Affordable Care Act were piled on in the first quarter.
Bloomberg Tax continuously updated its software products to ensure compliance, efficiency, and ease of use for all customers. Here's a look at how we improved a number of our products in 2014.
Bloomberg Tax Fixed Assets – Repair Regulation Readiness and Tax Extenders
Bloomberg Tax Fixed Assets was updated to help customers not only comply with the new tangible property regulations, but identify cost-saving opportunities under them.
- Richer data: A variety of new asset fields were added to the program, including parent asset IDs to improve linked-asset tracking and repair records. Users gained the ability to categorize assets by repair type, such as adaptation, betterment, restoration, and routine maintenance. In December, ten new asset fields were integrated to provide access to even richer data, including asset costs and life, property type, and depreciation method for both tax book and GAAP books.
- Sharper repair functionality: Users were given more flexibility over linking assets (such as building systems and structures) and designating linked-asset repairs to create stronger audit trails. The program now accommodates partial disposals; and when pursuing partial disposals for sales and retirement, users can specify the expense and cash proceeds on a per-book basis.
To streamline linked-asset transfers and disposals, we made enhancements to the Import function. When a parent asset ID number is added to the CSV file, the Import feature automatically recognizes, then transfers or disposes the linked assets — without entering each individual asset ID. From a management perspective, users can group and filter assets based on the new fields and repair types, and generate repairs reports to quickly reconcile an asset's Tax and GAAP book values.
- Tax Extenders compliance: In the middle of December, Congress passed the hotly discussed Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, reinstating a number of corporate tax incentives that expired in late 2013. To make these changes available for 2014 tax year calculations, Fixed Assets was promptly updated to help users retroactively elect treatments, including bonus depreciation for certain business property, and Section 179-expanded expensing for assets, computer software, and qualified real property.
Income Tax Planner™ – ACA, Tax Extenders, and Web Enhancements
In addition to 2014 rate and estimated tax payment voucher updates, Income Tax Planner was updated to allow tax professionals to help their customers plan for and comply with the Affordable Care Act provisions.
- Federal regulatory updates: Multiple adjustments were made to Income Tax Planner in alignment with the Affordable Care Act. A new Health Care Credit and Shared Responsibility Payment worksheet now lets users quickly calculate both figures per Sections 36B and 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code. The final regulations for the Medicare Investment Income Tax are also incorporated, including the revised capital loss carry-forward computation and limits.
This year, we rolled out a new QuickStart for the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT), a scenario-based template that helps users master ACA-related worksheets and group passive activities to minimize their NIIT. In December, Income Tax Planner was also updated to reflect provisions under the approved Tax Extenders legislation, such as itemized deduction for sales and use tax, itemized deduction for qualified mortgage insurance premiums, and above-the-line deduction for higher education expenses.
- Stronger administrative controls: 2014 was full of Income Tax Planner user interface and administrator modifications to create a more secure, intuitive experience. Three new wizards were introduced: a Share Clients wizard to help administrators set user share settings in bulk; the Transfer Client Ownership wizard to allow fast client transfers from one practitioner to another; and a Remove User wizard to securely decommission practitioners from the system. For stronger backup and recovery in the event of network outages, the system now automatically saves a plan copy to the user's local drive; users can recover the file and save it to their client profile when connectivity is restored.
Corporate Tax Analyzer™ – Worksheet and Operational Enhancements
Corporate Tax Analyzer was updated in September and December 2014. The latest modifications to the software include revised worksheets and operational enhancements that improve the overall user experience.
- More current worksheets: Three worksheets were updated in the latest version of Corporate Tax Analyzer, including worksheets for increasing and decreasing regular net operating loss (NOL) carryovers, alternative minimum tax (AMT) carryovers, and general business credit (GBC) component carryovers. A Section 382 limitation row has also been integrated for specified general business credits.
- Enhanced usability: In 2014, we added new user features to Corporate Tax Analyzer in order to facilitate more efficient analysis. The software is now equipped to update Excel links located in user SharePoint folders. A new List Excel Files dialog also allows users to view and change the Excel files linked to any given analysis. Finally, the Web Update function was restructured to work in a broader number of environments.
2014 was a busy year for tax and accounting changes, but with a new Congress and new regulations already up for discussion, 2015 is bound to be just as eventful. Bloomberg BNA is committed to tracking the latest developments and continuously investing in our software to help clients stay compliant, augment their productivity, and make the most strategic business decisions.
To learn more about our tax, accounting, financial planning, and estate planning software solutions, and to see why more than 70,000 customers depend on Bloomberg Tax's tax, regulatory, and compliance expertise, review our Solutions.