Online accounting software company Xero has just announced the release of Xero Tax, its long-awaited online tax lodgement program, for Australian firms.
Xero CEO Rod Drury announced the company would undertake the task of building a tax platform from scratch at the annual conference three years ago. While Xero has typically preferred that its partners exist as much as possible within the Xero ecosystem, the tax program is a departure from this philosophy.
Xero Tax is a standalone app that will lodge returns using a “simplified workflow” from accounting programs other than Xero. It can prepare activity statements and individual, partnership, company, trust and SMSF income tax returns for the 2014 financial year.
(In early June Xero will release the 2015 tax return forms for Xero Tax and Xero Practice Manager with Tax.)
To set up Xero Tax a user imports an active client list from the ATO, their Xero file or a competing accounting program. Once the user enters their agent, AUSKey and ELS details they can start lodging returns.
Xero Tax is part of Practice Studio which also includes Xero Workpapers, Practice Reports and Xero Practice Manager. Practice Studio is free of charge for certified Xero partners who are Silver level and above. If you aren’t Silver just yet you can purchase Xero Practice Studio for A$149 per month.
Xero hopes that accountants and bookkeepers who use the program will look at other tools for tax and BAS agents in Xero Practice Studio. Accounting partners who sign up more than 30 Xero clients receive Xero Practice Studio for free. A firm doesn’t require any servers to run the cloud-based practice software, and Xero doesn’t charge additional licence fees or support costs.
“Xero Tax is perfect for anyone who isn’t yet ready to implement our full practice management solution,” Chris Ridd, managing director for Australia, wrote in a blog post.
A video demonstration of Xero Tax is below.