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Best Tax Software for Corporations: ONESOURCE

Best Tax Software for Corporations: ONESOURCE
Credit: Thomson Reuters

After conducting extensive research into tax preparation software, we recommend Thomson Reuters ONESOURCE as the best online tax software for complex corporate taxes. We chose ONESOURCE from dozens of tax preparation software companies. To find out more about how we chose ONESOURCE, read the methodology on our best picks page

ONESOURCE is designed primarily for larger businesses with complex tax needs. If you are a small business owner, you would likely be better served by one of our other best picks.  However, if your company is a midsize or large corporation — and especially if your company does business internationally — ONESOURCE is a great all-in-one, customizable solution that will reliably address your tax needs.

ONESOURCE's price is significantly higher than those of our other best picks. However, it is so comprehensive and wide-ranging that we felt it had to be included in the top picks — it's truly a tax system designed for a globalized world, with tax rules for more than 180 countries.

Here is a look at what ONESOURCE does, and how it could fit into your corporate tax planning strategy.

ONESOURCE operates in a somewhat different way than much of the software we reviewed. A central dashboard contains a variety of applications — such as Corporate Tax, Accounting and Compliance, and Uncertain Tax Positions — which you can access to monitor distinct aspects of the entire tax filing process. It is from this dashboard that users can access the rest of the program's features. Each application is connected and closely related, sharing information that you upload so that you don't have to engage in repetitive data entry. Some applications focus on income tax, while others target indirect taxes or foreign taxes.

There are many applications that can be integrated with ONESOURCE. For instance, there is not only a corporate tax software but also a compliance application and a reporting application. For international companies, ONESOURCE includes integrations that maintain the rules for more than 180 countries.

A big benefit of this design is the scalability. If you're a midsize domestic corporation considering growing beyond your country's borders, you can use the corporate tax application now and expand along with your company to include additional capabilities. We chose to focus specifically on ONESOURCE's corporate tax applications, but it works in concert with the other available apps and shares data with them easily.

As mentioned above, ONESOURCE supports a suite of diverse applications, but we specifically paid attention to the corporate income tax software. Listed below are some of the features included in this application, which supports both federal and state returns, and includes a number of features to help you easily organize and share the necessary data to prepare your tax forms.

  • Web-based software: ONCESOURCE is a completely web-based software with support for multiple users to access it from different devices. This makes it ideal for the corporate tax department with many employees working on compliance and reporting. It is also secured with high-level encryption to protect your information.
  • Foreign expertise: State, federal and international tax compliance rules are all incorporated in ONESOURCE, so no matter where your business takes you, you'll be covered.
  • E-filing: Like our other best picks, ONESOURCE supports e-filing of your taxes with the appropriate agencies through an encrypted channel. It supports state, federal and international tax obligations.
  • One-time data entry: When you're dealing with a complex tax situation, you shouldn't have to enter and re-enter the same data over and over again. ONESOURCE will share the data you've imported throughout the system, with all of the appropriate applications, so that you need to import it only once.
  • Excel workflows: Import data directly from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets into ONESOURCE. Because of the one-time data-entry feature, you have to import this data only once for the software to share it with all of the necessary applications.
  • Audit manager: If your company is audited, you can use ONESOURCE's built-in audit manager to help you navigate and survive the auditing process. Having your books scrutinized is never an easy process, but ONESOURCE's audit manager includes helpful tools and recommendations to get through it.
  • Process management: Use the software to set your calendar and specific tasks. The workflow and process management features are essential for relatively large departments in which several team members are working in the software at the same time.

ONESOURCE emphasizes accuracy, which is certainly essential in today's corporate tax environment. It combines the most current tax laws and global rates for both direct and indirect taxes, as well as powerful analytics tools to review your information and make sure all of your filings are sensible and correct. And you can feel comfortable knowing that its reporting tools keep you in the loop and offer a clean, concise way to navigate and organize your data.

It would be difficult to find a more comprehensive tax software than ONESOURCE. In fact, it can even be intimidating at times to navigate the broad expanse of applications. But overall, this is a big benefit, as you can be sure that none of your corporate tax needs will slip through the cracks. The more sprawling and complex your business, the easier it could be to run into a tax-related snag. ONESOURCE does a good job of mitigating that risk and keeping you on solid ground.

To evaluate ONESOURCE's customer service, we called the company, posing as a business owner interested in using its software. Although our experience was satisfactory, we did experience longer wait times than with some of the other companies we evaluated. Other than that downside, the customer service was good. The representatives were accommodating and knowledgeable, which was especially impressive given ONESOURCE's many sprawling applications. We left the conversation feeling content that our questions had been addressed sufficiently.

Unfortunately, customer service by phone is available only from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. However, Onesource offers 24/7 online assistance, and the company guarantees a response within 24 hours.

The major drawback to ONESOURCE is actually a byproduct of its extremely powerful and far-reaching capabilities; it might actually be too much for truly small businesses. Because of its focus on global enterprise and more complex corporate taxes, ONESOURCE is a great resource for midsize and large businesses, but it could actually complicate the tax filing process for smaller businesses. Moreover, its cost is significant, although it will change depending on the specific setup you select. This software is really focused on complex tax needs and works best within a corporate tax department environment.

Still, we chose it as our best software for corporate taxes because it really is exactly that: the most comprehensive and accurate corporate tax software we reviewed, especially for international business needs. If you're a small business incorporated as an entity that must file corporate taxes, our other best picks — TurboTax and H&R Block — should serve you well.

Already prepared to choose an online tax software? Here's a breakdown of the rest of our coverage:

Adam C. Uzialko

Adam received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.