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Website of the Month: AccountantsWorld Tax Center

By Susan B. Anders

JANUARY 2005 - Since AccountantsWorld (www.accountantsworld.com) was reviewed by this column in March 2001, it has been expanded and reorganized. The taxation section now offers so many tax materials that it merits its own review. The tax center can be accessed from the homepage from the top menu bar.

The homepage for the tax center is organized in a headline news format; the vertical indexes on the left and right sides of the page make the busy text easier to process. Regular users may focus on the news articles, but new users will find many other useful tools. In addition to the news, the major categories of resources include discussion groups, tax compliance and research tools, and specialized topics. Most materials are available to all, but a few require free registration.

AccountantsWorld’s tax center is easy to navigate, and the standardized indexes appear on all of the main pages. The site has expanded its original function as a web portal to also provide several additional resources directly on the tax center website. The links to external websites function smoothly. A good feature of the portal service is that the tax center website remains open, so users don’t have to reconnect after visiting a linked site.

A brief introduction to the featured article, which was written for publication on the website, is located at the top of the center news section of the homepage. Links to websites posting current tax news articles appear below the featured article in the headline news section, and are organized under topic headings for federal taxation and various states.

Discussion Forums

The discussion group feature was the aspect of the website that prompted a second visit to the AccountantsWorld tax center, thanks to a query from a CPA Journal reader. Access to the discussion forums can be found on the left-side index. The “all-taxation” hyperlink is a table of contents of all the tax forums, which presents a description of the topics, the name(s) of the moderators, and the number of postings. The specific forum groups include business taxation, estates and trusts, state and local taxation, and several others.

The discussion forums are especially well organized and up-to-date. Under each topic, the messages can be sorted by subject, post date, last update date, reply count, and view count. All users can view the questions and responses; however, AccountantsWorld membership is required to post to the discussion forums.

Tax Compliance and Research

AccountantsWorld’s tax center also offers numerous resources and links for tax compliance and tax research tools, which can be accessed via the right index. Under “tools” are a half-dozen tax calculators and several tax-related forms, including estate and gift tax returns and power of attorney forms.

Links in the “resources” heading include the IRS website, state tax forms, and state tax departments. Each has an index page for the topic that lists the specific links available.

The hidden gem of this website is the hyperlink “Get the best resources for Tax Research here!” under the “tax research” heading. This index offers a collection of all sorts of neat little links, including currency exchange rates, historical stock prices, and an IRS business activity code search. There are also links for www.legalbitstream.com, for private letter rulings and revenue procedures, and to www.taxlinks.com for revenue rulings. “Links for the specialist” includes a large collection of well-organized resources for several specific topics, including corporations, international taxation, and tax software.


Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor of accounting at St. Bonaventure University.
 

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