Website of the Month: BNA Tax & Accounting

By Susan B. Anders

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FEBRUARY 2008 - The BNA Tax & Accounting website, at www.bnatax.com, is the commercial website for Tax Management, Inc., focusing on the tax-related products offered by the parent company, BNA. Much like the websites of tax product vendors reviewed in prior columns, BNA Tax & Accounting focuses on providing current and potential clients access to its products. Several interesting features are available to any user, however, including tax legislation resources, tax news headlines, and free product trials.

The home and main pages feature a menu bar at the top of each page offering tabs for: “home,” “products,” “press center,” “authors/advisors,” and “training & support,” as well as a subscriber log-in and search tool. On the left is an index of selected features, including “recent developments,” “selected recent legislation and IRS guidance,” “journals & commentary,” “products,” “productivity tools,” and “about BNA Tax & Accounting.” The right side of each page contains a set of links specific to that topic.

Navigation around the website is relatively easy, especially when the left-side index is available. Nevertheless, some features exist on essentially separate websites, without direct links back to BNA Tax & Accounting. There are some inconsistencies in the formats in which resources are provided, the right-side links, and whether links open in the same or a separate window.

Free Resources

“Productivity tools,” at the bottom of the left-side index, offers some handy free resources. BNA Tax Management’s Quick Tax Reference for 2007/2008 provides standard mileage rates; income tax rate schedules for individuals, corporations, and estates and trusts; estate and gift tax rates; standard deduction and personal exemption amounts; and pension and retirement plan limits. An online tax calendar can also be downloaded as a PDF. Useful links include specific IRS webpages, the Federal Agencies Directory, FASB, GASB, and the IASB.

The left-side index heading “selected recent legislation and IRS guidance” offers resources covering the Pension Protection Act of 2006, hurricane-related tax relief, and the Tax Relief and Healthcare Act of 2006. (It should be noted that this review was performed before the 2007 AMT legislation was finalized, and the website may have been updated accordingly.) For each of these legislative topics, users can access free BNA summaries and commentaries, as well as PDFs of the primary sources. Subscribers can access sample client letters.

The hurricane-related tax relief and Tax Relief and Healthcare Act resources are reproduced on the BNA Tax & Accounting website. The hurricane-related materials are particularly helpful because they summarize the several pieces of legislation, various IRS notices, revenue procedures, and press releases, for hurricanes Wilma, Rita, and Katrina. The summary of the Tax Relief and Healthcare Act of 2006 addresses the extension provisions in particular.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 resources are similar to the other two tax acts, but they merit a subsidiary website, the Pension Protection Act Center. The center’s main page offers links to current stories. The left side of the main page provides an index of resources, including the text of the law, JCT analysis, BNA analysis, special reports, and links of interest.

Tax News

The center area of the homepage presents “today’s top tax article,” from the BNA Daily Tax Report, and “featured analysis,” from “insights & commentary.” “Recent developments” on the left-side index provides links to federal tax highlights, state tax highlights, and transfer pricing. Under “journal reports/highlights” on the left-side index, there are links to excerpts from the most recent issues of monthly publications, such as Estates, Gifts & Trusts Journal. These connect to webpages with the headlines and brief introductions of the articles featured in BNA’s weekly or monthly reports.

While only the headlines of the weekly/monthly reports are available to nonsubscribers, all users can access “insights & commentary,” a selection of commentaries on tax issues from BNA publications. An index of the online commentaries is available via the link on the left-side index, and the subsidiary page link to the articles. A link to an alphabetical author listing is available, which provides subscribers with direct connections to BNA portfolios written by each author.

Free Trials

Users may request a free trial of BNA products from the left-side index or various other locations throughout the site. They can choose free trials of three resources, including Accounting Policy & Practice Report, the new BNA Tax & Accounting Center, and the daily, weekly, state, and transfer pricing reports. An online tour of the Tax & Accounting Center is also available.

Readers familiar with BNA are aware that Tax Management publishes more than 30 “portfolios” on specific tax and accounting topics, covering U.S. income; real estate; compensation planning; estates, gifts, and trusts; and foreign income. Purchase information is available under the “products” tab on the menu bar, and via an advertisement on the right side of the homepage. A useful feature of the portfolio product is access to a complete table of contents for each volume, downloadable as PDFs.

The website also offers current, detailed indices for BNA’s biweekly Accounting Policy & Practice Report and Daily Tax Report. These publications have subsidiary websites under www.bna.com, and open in separate windows. The Accounting Policy & Practice Report offers a standards index, covering the AICPA, EITF, FASB, GASB, IASB, PCAOB, and SEC. Both reports provide an alphabetical table of cases for the court decisions covered in each publication.


Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is a professor of accounting at St. Bonaventure University, Bonaventure, N.Y.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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