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Call Now Bonnie J. Nagayama, CPA manages a practice that only provides QuickBooks products and services. She is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified QuickBooks Enterprise ProAdvisor, Intuit Solutions Provider, and one of the elite few members of the Intuit Trainer/Writer Network. She has written and recorded numerous courses for Intuit Academy and the ProAdvisor Certification Team. She is a Sleeter Group Certified Consultant and member of the Sleeter Developer Advisory Panel. Bonnie has both public accounting and industry experience prior to founding McWilliams & Associates, Inc. In 1992. Her singular focus is on helping Accountants and Consultants who support clients who use QuickBooks® Accounting Software and related integrated applications. Her Controller background and CPA certification are a perfect blend to bridge the gap between what the client and their accountant need. She understands both sides and can effectively use QuickBooks to provide a situation that works for each party.Add-on solutions and the impact of QuickBooks on the accounting profession are a significant part of the work Bonnie does. She offers practical solutions and alternatives through webinars, diagnostic tools, and an award winning web site. A free QuickBooks tips and tricks newsletter is available at www.4luvofbiz.Com that includes tips and tricks for QuickBooks users and QuickBooks Professionals.© Jose Velez / Money Best-2021-Tax-Software The best tax software can help you file your federal and state tax returns easily and without having to shell out big bucks. In fact, many online tax prep tools featured on this list are free for eligible customers and provide different levels of customer support for novice and seasoned tax filers alike. Our Top Picks for the Best Tax Software of 2021 TurboTax – Best for investors H&R Block – Best for multiple ways to file TaxAct – Best for small businesses Jackson Hewitt – Best for unlimited state returns TaxSlayer – Best tax for self-employed filers E-file – Best for year-round discounts FreeTaxUSA – Best low-cost tax software Credit Karma Tax – Best free tax software Drake Tax – Best for tax preparers 1040.Com – Best for simple tax returns © Provided by Money.Com Best Tax Software Reviews © Provided by Money.Com Pros Easy import for investment documents Free for active duty, reserve and National Guard members Cons Most expensive online tax software Services Free Deluxe Premier Self Employed Federal $0 $60 $90 $120 State $0 $50 $50 $50 TurboTax Live $80 (plus state) $120 (plus state) $170 (plus state) $200 (plus state) Turbo Tax Full Service $130 (plus state) $200 (plus state) $170 (plus state) $200 (plus state) Intuit’s TurboTax is probably the best-known online tax-prep software out there. It’s also one of the most expensive — at least, for users of its paid products. CONSTELLATION BRANDS, INC. TurboTax has a Free Edition and three main pricing tiers: Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed. Its Deluxe package is best for users with fairly simple returns who want to maximize tax deductions and credits, while its Premier tier is better suited for individuals with investments such as rental property, stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrencies. Those who opt for the Self-Employed tier get a personalized audit assessment, easy imports from Quickbooks and other sources and all of the services in the Free, Deluxe and Premier tiers, all of which include online assistance. TurboTax’s Free Edition is available to tax filers who receive W-2 income and/or Social Security benefits and don’t itemize deductions. It can accommodate taxpayers who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, who plan to claim the child tax credit and who received unemployment income. TurboTax also offers free federal and state tax filing to active duty and reserve military, including members of the National Guard, with E1-E9 classifications. As a service member, you’ll get free access to Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed products. Filers simply have to go to the regular TurboTax portal and enter their rank to file using any TurboTax product tier. Why we chose TurboTax: One great TurboTax feature is the ability to import investing gains and losses from a variety of sources. “There’s been a rise in the number of people investing,” says TurboTax tax expert Lisa Green-Lewis. “Taxpayers had a pain point of inserting all their info for transactions, like stock and cryptocurrency sales,” she says, and the software facilitates that. © Provided by Money.Com Pros Multiple add-on products Option to file expat taxes online with an advisor Cons Must pay an additional cost for on-demand support Services Free Deluxe Premium Self Employed Federal $0 $49.99 $69.99 $109.99 State $0 $44.99 (per state) $49.99 (per state) $49.99 (per state) H&R Block offers products comparable to those of its main competitor, TurboTax, but at a lower price point. Its Free Online filing option for simple returns is easy to use and offers the ability to import your previous year’s tax return from another provider. If you have a more complicated return, there are three paid tax-filing software tiers: Deluxe, Premium and Self-Employed. H&R Block offers an option to file with a tax pro, either in person, online or by dropping off your documents at a local office. There is also a hybrid service for those who prefer the DIY approach, the Tax Pro Review, which provides filers the assurance of an extra (and professional) set of eyes on their returns. H&R Block specifically targets the growing number of taxpayers who have a Health Savings Account (HSA). These “triple tax-exempt” accounts are funded with tax-deductible contributions, and H&R Block offers to maximize deductions and credits for filers who have them. However, this service is only available through the company’s paid tiers. Why we chose H&R Block: With H&R Block, there are four ways to file your taxes, including e-filing on your own or with a tax professional. You can also file in person or drop off your tax documents at your local H&R Block. As one of the leading tax software providers, H&R Block has a streamlined interface that’s easy to navigate. It offers comprehensive explanations on all tax forms and a clear step-by-step guide to help you file taxes on your own. You can always upgrade your package at an additional cost to get instant access to a tax professional. © Provided by Money.Com Pros Get your maximum refund, backed with $100,000 accuracy guarantee Navigate your tax return easily using TaxAct Bookmarks Cons Services Free Deluxe Premium Self Employed Federal $0 $47.95 $71.95 $94.95 State $39.95 (per state) $54.95 (per state) $54.95 (per state) $54.95 (per state) Visitors to the TaxAct website are greeted with a user-friendly, multiple-choice dashboard that quickly funnels you towards one of four options: one free and three paid, ranging from $29.95 to $64.95. You don’t have to be in the most expensive tier to access filing options for a variety of income types, including royalties, K-1 (partnership) income, or investment and real estate income, along with forms for holders of foreign bank and other financial accounts. If you’re a military member, TaxAct offers a free package for federal and state filing for all active-duty service people via the TaxAct military landing page. The offer will be applied once you enter your eligible Employer ID Number during filing. TaxAct offers a fairly robust calculator you can access under the Tax Tools tab. If you’re reasonably well-versed in the terminology, you can play around with the tool to get a ballpark idea of your estimated taxes without committing to anything. TaxAct ensures that you’ll get your maximum refund, the company offers up to a $100,000 guarantee. Why we chose TaxAct: TaxAct is worth considering if you have different income streams, are an entrepreneur, contractor or self-employed. The Self-employed tier covers freelance income (including 1099-NEC), farm and business income, and depreciation calculations, plus circumstances covered in the Premier tier. Its product offerings are also straightforward and you won’t be bombarded with pitches for a refund anticipation loan. © Provided by Money.Com Pros In-person customer service Virtual tax pro assistance is available Cons Pitches for pricier products Services Online Standard Tax Pro from Home Deluxe Tax Pro from Home Premier Tax Pro from Home Federal $25 $69 $179 $249 State $24 (unlimited) $24 (unlimited) $24 (unlimited) $24 (unlimited) Since Jackson Hewitt’s bread and butter is in-person tax-prep help, you have to scroll a bit down the main webpage to get to the online tools. Jackson Hewitt is better known for its pop-up shops and kiosks that sprout up in strip malls and big-box stores during tax season, but the tax preparer also has online software for people who want to file their taxes from home. Jackson Hewitt offers one option for online DIY filers, in addition to three more expensive tiers for people who want the help of virtual tax pros. Its Standard Tax Pro From Home tier is suitable for unlimited W-2s as well as unemployment income, student loan interest, IRAs, Social Security income and dividend income up to $1,500. The Deluxe package covers homeowners and those with dependents and itemized deductions, while the Premier tier supports self-employed individuals. Why we chose Jackson Hewitt: Jackson Hewitt is a safe bet if you prefer to file your tax returns with the assistance of a tax professional. Apart from having in-person options at your local mall during tax season, its customer support is comprehensive and even includes IRS audit assistance. It’s also one of the few tax preparers that don’t charge for every state filed; you’ll get unlimited state tax returns for a set fee of $24. That being said, Jackson Hewitt is one of the pricier tax software companies on our list. If you’re looking to save money, there are other options available. © Provided by Money.Com Pros More affordable than other tax software providers Maximum accuracy guarantee Cons Upgrade required for on-demand support Services TaxSlayer Military Simply Free Classic Premium Self-Employed Federal $0 $0 $24.95 $44.95 $54.95 State $39.95 $0 $39.95 (per state) $39.95 (per state) $39.95 (per state) For freelancers or self-employed filers, TaxSlayer‘s advantage is clear: it’s cheaper than the other alternatives out there. For $55 — the most expensive of its three paid online tax prep tiers — you get live chat assistance from tax pros as well as estimated tax payment reminders. (The free offering from TaxSlayer, though, is a bit more no-frills than some competitors’ free versions, and could be best only for people with super-simple returns.) If you’re an active-duty military member, TaxSlayer offers free federal tax filing for all income types, deductions and credits via the landing page. However, you’ll still have to pay for filing state taxes, which costs $39 per state. Why we chose TaxSlayer: TaxSlayer doesn’t try to lure you in with the pitch of a (potentially pricey) refund anticipation loan, which we appreciate. For small-business owners or self-employed independent contractors with a modicum of confidence in their tax knowledge, TaxSlayer can offer a decent product at an affordable price. © Provided by Money.Com Pros Navigation sidebar with installed customer support tools Best for simple DIY tax returns Cons Pay for on-demand customer support Services Free Federal Basic Software Deluxe Plus E-file Premium Plus E-file Federal $0 $25.99 or $19.49 with coupon code 25OFF $45.99 or $34.49 with coupon code 25OFF State $21 (per state) $21 (per state) $21 (per state) E-file emphasizes speed on its homepage, boasting that many users can file their taxes electronically with its online software in less than 15 minutes. It’s not only fast, but it’s also generally less expensive than other tax preparers. E-file has a basic option for federal filing, but even its Deluxe Plus and Premium Plus tiers come in under $35. It accepts promo codes, too. E-file will automatically save your progress as you complete your tax forms. Though the platform is entirely online and promotes electronic filing, it will still let you print out your tax forms to mail in yourself. If you encounter a question before that point, you can pay for phone or email assistance. Why we chose E-file: If you’re a budget-conscious filer who just needs the basics, E-file gets the job done and offers year-round promotions and discounts that can help you save. Its filing process is simple: once you create an account, enter your taxpayer information and E-file will prepare your return. The standard interface features prior-year import and a help (support) sidebar that guides you every step. © Provided by Money.Com Pros Free tax storage for up to seven years Free tax extension filing (federal) Cons Customer support is not comprehensive Services Free Edition Deluxe Edition Federal $0 $6.99 State $14.99 (per state) $14.99 (per state) FreeTaxUSA is an online-only tax service that’s well-suited for filers that are looking for a bargain. Whether your tax situation is simple, basic or advanced, you can file your federal tax return for free. State returns are a flat rate of $14.99, regardless of the complexity of your return. FreeTaxUSA features easy prior-year imports from TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxAct. However, there is no document import feature, meaning you’ll have to enter some of your tax information manually. The tax software provider also says it helps military members get the biggest refund available by supporting tax breaks such as combat pay exclusion, moving expense deduction, uniform deduction, reservist’s travel deduction, job search expenses, EITC for Nontaxable Combat Pay and more. The downside, however, is that if you need extra support, you’ll have to sign into your account and use the Quick Responses message center. According to FreeTaxUSA, email responses from customer support will typically take around half an hour. Why we chose FreeTaxUSA: FreeTaxUSA offers free filing for people in all tax situations such as filing jointly, homeownership, dependents, itemized deductions, self-employed, investments, rental property, retirement and tuition program distributions. If you’re comfortable filing your tax return on your own with little or no assistance, FreeTaxUSA fits the bill. Once you file your return, it will be automatically stored as a PDF for up to seven years. © Provided by Money.Com Pros Free filing for federal and state taxes Supports most major IRS and state forms/schedules Cons Doesn't support easy import of investments Services Free Federal $0 State $0 If you want to file your taxes for free, most of the leading tax preparation software providers out there have strict income limits for you to qualify. Free offerings are also often limited to people with super-simple returns, forcing filers with complex returns to dip into their bank accounts to prepare and file their taxes. This is not the case with Credit Karma; the company offers comprehensive filing for federal and state returns for free. Credit Karma, primarily known as an online platform that aims to help its users achieve personal finance and credit score goals, has developed an e-file product: Credit Karma Tax. It supports most major IRS forms and schedules as well as many other tax situations that other freebie tax software providers don’t accommodate, such as student loan interest or rental property income. To facilitate your tax preparation process, Credit Karma is equipped with easy-to-use navigation tools to guide you every step of the way. You can also easily import your 1040 using their Smart File feature on the Credit Karma Tax mobile app or your computer. Credit Karma Tax is available in 40 states. However, its services are not available in states that offer free online tax filing services. Unfortunately, while Credit Karma Tax offers guided support during your filing process, you won’t be getting it from a professional as with other paid competitors. If you’re comfortable with a DIY tax software and don’t need one-on-one support, Credit Karma Tax could be worth considering. Why we chose Credit Karma Tax: Credit Karma Tax is the only tax software provider that offers a completely free tax filing service for federal and state returns. The provider offers support for most tax situations and forms, including Schedule C. You can easily import prior year returns from H&R Block, TurboTax and TaxAct. Credit Karma Tax also offers free audit defense and an accurate calculations guarantee, if the service makes a mistake you could receive $1,000. © Provided by Money.Com Pros Wide range of tax software options Can service small and large corporations Cons Must be renewed every year Free Trial ATX Pay-Per-Return System ATX 1040 ATX Max ATX Total Office ATX Advantage Cost $0 $629 $839 $1,929 $2,869 $4,699 Add-on: Advanced Calculations Compliance N/A $549 $549 $549 $549 Included Add-on: Enhanced Asset Management N/A $350 $350 $350 $350 Included Add-on: Return Retrieval N/A $155 $155 $155 $155 $155 Drake Tax has provided tax software services to preparers since 1977 and has offered electronic filing since it became available. Drake Tax has helped a wide range of offices produce accurate and compliant tax returns. Most notably, Drake Tax offers multiple professional tax software options that can service small offices that work with lower-income taxpayers to large CPA firms that support the more complex end of the market. If you have trouble understanding a form, Drake Tax has a customer support line that’s available from December to April 20. You can also safely email the tax return to a customer support specialist to get hands-on assistance and resolve an issue within a week’s time. Why we chose Drake Tax: Drake Tax offers multiple tax preparation software package tiers designed to meet the needs of any professional — from a single CPA working from a home office to a large corporation. For instance, Drake’s ATX Pay-Per-Return System is great for tax preparers who may not manage large quantities of returns a year. © Provided by Money.Com Pros Flat-rate price Cheaper than most tax prep software Cons No on-demand live support Services File Taxes Federal $25 (flat rate) State Included If you’re looking for a no-frills affordable tax preparation software, 1040.Com offers flat-rate pricing of $25 for federal and state taxes. The online-only software provider is filer-friendly and equipped with a sophisticated walkthrough system that guides you through your tax return. Navigation is simple. Once you get started you can use the “tell me more” button to learn more about your taxes or ignore it and continue scrolling. If you’re familiar with your tax forms and don’t need a step-by-step walkthrough, you can save time and use the menu to jump between forms. Should you need support from a tax expert, 1040.Com has a service team available through chat and email (no upgrade required). That being said, if you prefer talking with an expert via phone, this may not be the option for you. One drawback of 1040.Com is that it’s limited to W-2 imports, any other tax statements must be entered by hand. Overall, 1040.Com offers straightforward pricing if you’re comfortable filing your taxes without much support. Why we chose 1040.Com: 1040.Com is a budget-friendly tax software if you want to file federal and state returns at a flat, cheap price. The provider supports prior-year imports for return filers and W-2 import, which can speed up half of your tax prep process. You’ll also get three-year security storage of your tax returns. Other tax software companies we considered ATX Tax Pros Library with over 6,000 tax compliance forms Additional integrations for easy import Robust diagnostics to catch errors Cons Designed for tax professionals Best suited for mid-sized accounting firms EzTax Return Pros Great for simple tax returns Safe storage for up to three years More affordable than most tax prep software Cons Available only in 21 states Email customer support only Community Tax Pros Licensed tax practitioners, CPAs on staff Assist with tax prep, planning, resolution and accounting Free phone consultation Cons Must create an account to learn about pricing tiers © Provided by Money.Com Tax Software Guide What is a tax software Tax software programs are designed to help the average taxpayer accurately prepare and file state and federal income tax returns. Online tax software can be a cost-effective way to file your tax returns from the comfort of your home, and the products don’t require any previous experience for you to navigate them. If you need extra support, almost all tax software programs are equipped with tools to help you answer common questions regarding your returns. That may include a glossary defining common tax terms, a step-by-step navigation bar or a live chat or consultation with a tax professional. How tax software works Tax software programs generally use two types of interface to coach you through your tax return: an interview-style questionnaire or a form-based step-by-step guide. Most tax preparation software programs also feature simple navigation tools that allow you to upload returns from prior years, W-2s and investment documents. This can save you a substantial amount of time as the software automatically imports your information into your return. Once you’re done entering all your information, tax software programs often run a diagnostic on to check for errors, verify that your information meets legal state provisions and check whether you’re eligible for certain income adjustments or tax credits before you file. After you file, you can easily track the status of your tax refund through the company’s online portal or the IRS website. Tax Software Pros & Cons Tax preparation software programs are a great resource for taxpayers who want to save time and file their returns from home. However, these services may not be for everyone. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of tax preparation software. Pros Cons Easy-to-use: Most tax preparation software programs are designed to offer step-by-step guidance to help filers with limited knowledge prepare their tax returns easily. Complex tax returns can be expensive: Tax preparation software programs often have tier packages that increase in cost according to the complexity of the return and the services needed. Available online: Online tax software programs allow individuals with busy schedules to file their tax returns on their own time from a mobile device. On-demand customer support may cost more: You may have to pay an additional cost to get one-on-one support from a tax professional. Safe storage of files:Tax preparation software providers often save your tax returns automatically so can easily access or download your tax information whenever you want. Limited customer support:Some cheaper tax preparation software providers may not offer the support you need. An email or chat feature may not be enough to help you navigate your tax return. Save money:Filing your tax returns online is often less expensive than hiring the services of a CPA. In some cases, you can even file for free. Not all tax software support complex returns: In some cases, you may be better off hiring the services of a CPA to handle difficult tax returns. Tax form glossary Since making sense of tax return forms can be quite, well, taxing, here are a few common forms you may come across. 1040 Form 1040 is an IRS form used by U.S. Taxpayers to file their annual income tax returns. The majority of taxpayers use a 1040 form to report their income tax for the year and any refund or additional tax owed. Aside from a standard form, there are three other types of 1040 forms: Form 1040-SR, for senior taxpayers over 65 Form 1040-NR, for non-U.S. Citizens who don’t have a green card Form 1040-X, for taxpayers who need to make amendments after filing a Form 1040 W-2 A W-2 is a tax form that shows your total wages paid as well as federal, state or other income tax withholdings for the year as reported by your employer. The IRS requires employers to send W-2 forms to their employees no later than January 31 following the end of the tax year, which generally falls on December 31. 1099-INT Form 1099-INT is used to report the amount of interest a company or entity paid to you. 1099-DIV Banks and financial institutions use form 1099-DIV to report dividends and other distributions you have received. If the dividends or interest you earned exceeds $1,500, you may also be required to fill out a Schedule B. 1098-E Form 1098-E is used to report the amount of interest you’ve paid in a year toward your federal student loans. You’ll receive your 1098-E via email or postal mail if the interest you paid exceeds $600 (2020). You can also download a copy of your 1098-E from your loan servicer. In some cases, you may be eligible to deduct a portion of the interest you paid on your federal tax return. 1098-T Form 1098-T is a tuition statement form that reports the amount of college tuition you paid during a calendar year. With a 1098-T, you may be eligible for an adjustment to income or tax credit. Schedule A Taxpayers use a Schedule A to report itemized deductions to the IRS. Examples of itemized deductions include charitable gifts and donations, mortgage interest, business expenses, medical bills and so on. Once you list all of your itemized deductions, you can calculate your total itemized deductions amount, which is subtracted from your adjusted gross income (AGI) to determine your total taxable income. Schedule C If you are self-employed or act as a sole proprietor business owner, a Schedule C reports income profit or loss for the year. According to the IRS, any activity qualifies as a business if your primary purpose in engaging in the activity was to earn income and you were involved in said activity with continuity and regularity. Cost Tax preparation software is often an affordable option for taxpayers to file their state and federal income tax returns. However, if your tax return is complex, as is the case for self-employed individuals, business owners, investors, couples filing jointly or those with dependents, you may have to pay for a premium service. We evaluated the types of features included in different pricing plans and selected companies that are IRS-approved, service most states, support most tax situations and offer a maximum refund and accuracy guarantee. Free options We reviewed companies that offer free navigational tools that can help inexperienced individuals file their tax returns on their own. We included companies that offer free services for military members and free filing for federal and state returns, as well as some affordable paid options for taxpayers who prefer one-on-one customer service. User experience Tax preparation software programs are designed to simplify the tax return filing process, especially for inexperienced individuals. We evaluated companies that offer fair pricing options and product features that support basic to complex tax situations. Whether you prefer a DIY approach or feel more comfortable working with a tax professional via live chat or video conference, our list of the best tax software includes an option for you. Available support Some companies offer budget-friendly plans, but lack support for filers that need more hand-holding. Conversely, there are other software options with a higher price tag that offer audit support or on-demand customer support from a tax professional. Our selection of the best tax software includes a variety of optional customer support features including expert help in-person or online. These services are either free or paid, depending on the tax situation. Common customer support features include live chat, email, tax term glossaries and phone support. Best Tax Software FAQ What is the best tax software? There is no one-size-fits-all best tax preparation software. The best tax program for you will depend on your budget, the complexity of your tax return and the product features you're seeking. For example, a college student may not need the same type of tax software as a married couple filing together with dependents. Before settling on a tax preparation software provider, look into the tax forms it supports, whether or not the service offers one-on-one professional tax support or technical support and if the programs are available in your state. Which free tax software is best? CreditKarma Tax is one of the best free tax software programs for filing federal and state returns at no cost. Unfortunately, it doesn't support all tax forms. Similarly, other companies like TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxSlayer offer free tiers for basic federal tax returns only. If you're a military member, several online tax software providers offer free filing for federal returns regardless of the complexity of your return. The IRS also has an online free file program that allows you to file your income tax returns through a partner site. However, most tax preparation software programs will require you to pay for state returns. Were there tax changes in 2021? The standard deduction for 2020 is $12,400 for single filers, up $300 from 2019, and for married couples filing jointly, the standard deduction rose to $$24,800, up by $400. For heads of household, the standard deduction is $18,650 -- an increase of $200. But perhaps the biggest changes for the 2021 tax season have to do with the ongoing pandemic. Thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, you can deduct charitable donations up to $300 even if you don't itemize. If you do itemize, you may want to take advantage of the IRS's decision to suspend limits on the percentage of charitable contributions taxpayers can deduct. The CARES Act also gave retirees a reprieve from the required minimum distribution for 2020. For the 2021 tax year, taxes will also accommodate people who didn't receive the full stimulus check amount they're owed. If you never received an Economic Impact Payment or believe the amount was wrong, you can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. How soon can I pay my taxes? The IRS announced that it began accepting and processing tax returns for the 2020 tax year on Feb. 12. Here are a couple of good reasons why it pays to file your taxes sooner rather than later: You can get that money faster if you're anticipating a refund If you forget to file your taxes by the deadline (that's usually April 15), any back taxes owed are still due on that date, in addition to late filing fees. You can avoid scams. The IRS warns about scammers stealing Social Security numbers to make off with people's refunds. If you've already claimed your refund, a thief is going to be out of luck. What day are taxes due in 2022? You need to have your 2021 tax paperwork filed by April 15, 2022. This is a departure from last year, when the IRS pushed back the tax filing deadline to July 15 due to the coronavirus crisis. Summary of Money’s Best Tax Software 2021 TurboTax – Best for investors H&R Block – Best for multiple ways to file TaxAct – Best for small businesses Jackson Hewitt – Best for unlimited state returns TaxSlayer – Best tax for self-employed filers E-file – Best for year-round discounts FreeTaxUSA – Best low-cost tax software Credit Karma Tax – Best free tax software Drake Tax – Best for tax preparers 1040.Com – Best for simple tax returns © Copyright 2021 Ad Practitioners, LLC. All Rights Reserved. This article originally appeared on Money.Com and may contain affiliate links for which Money receives compensation. Opinions expressed in this article are the author's alone, not those of a third-party entity, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed. Offers may be subject to change without notice. For more information, read Money’s full disclaimer.Show Caption Hide Caption Kelvion's Simon Jones speaks during an expansion announcement event Simon Jones, president of Kelvion's refrigeration technology business unit, speaks at an event announcing the company's expansion in Knox County Brianna Paciorka, Knoxville News Sentinel A $10,000 cash prize is on the line for six startups at the Oct. 5 Startup Day at The Mill & Mine. The Knoxville entrepreneurs behind these startups will present their businesses to a panel of judges and in front of a crowd of potential investors. It's part of Innov865 Week, an opportunity for startups across the region to come together for panels, discussions, pitches and socializing. Though the winner is selected in early October, all six of these startups are making waves in the Knoxville startup community. Let's meet them. Startup: How do you make workplace coronavirus training fun? A Knoxville firm turned it into song Accelerator: UT, ORNL and TVA join together to launch tech startup accelerator CQInsights Company name: CQInsights Website: cq-insights.Com Managing Partners: CEO Bruce Ramshaw, COO Briana Alvoid-Preston, CCO Remi Forman Year founded: Founded in 2017 and restructured as a public benefit corporation in January Number of employees: 3 Your company elevator pitch: CQInsights is a health care data analytics and consulting company committed to measuring and improving value for patients. It might surprise you that we don’t know of any health care organization that measures the value of care that they provide. And if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Our business model is to partner with health care industry companies to measure the value of their drugs and medical devices in the context of real patient care. We use our method of data collection, analysis, and our interactive data visualization tool to gain insight into how to lower costs and improve outcomes as well as determine where a drug or device has the best value and where it doesn’t have value or might even contribute to unintentional harm. Through our patented and FDA validated method, CQInsights can transform the global health care industry into a true value-based system. What’s been your entrepreneurial journey so far? Our company is the result of over 10 years of work to learn how to apply the principles of systems and data science to real patient care. It all started at The University of Missouri, where Dr. Bruce Ramshaw was the chief of general surgery, and Remi Forman became the patient care manager for the hernia team. While in Missouri, they learned that health care, in its current form, is not sustainable, so they began to build small teams around definable patient problems. Ramshaw completely redesigned his division around these patient-centered teams with Forman in a critical role. After five years there, Ramshaw and Forman moved the hernia team to Daytona Beach and began to apply the same concepts they developed in Missouri to more patients. The biggest improvement in this new practice was the implementation of data collection for multiple patient populations. Over time, they learned how to apply systems and data science in order to lower care costs, improve patient outcomes, and increase the hospital’s profit margin using data analysis and regular feedback loops to mature a learning system for real patient care. During this time, Briana Alvoid-Preston joined the team, and a business model was developed to sell the analysis of this real-world data to pharmaceutical, device, and diagnostics companies, whose products were already being used in the patient care processes being analyzed. Because health care industry companies are under more and more pressure to demonstrate the value of their drug, device, or diagnostic tool, the group saw a growing interest in our service over time. The output of our proof of concept was the measurable improvement of patient outcomes paired with a decrease in cost of care and an increase of $1.4 million in hospital margin for patients within a specific subpopulation. We were able to monetize this success by selling the analysis of data from this group of only about 250 patients to over a dozen pharmaceutical, device, and diagnostics companies, generating over $2 million in revenue. In 2015, Ramshaw became the chair of surgery at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Although the plan was to apply this model within the department of surgery and eventually across the entire University of Tennessee Medical Center, we found that working to implement this at one hospital was high risk and limited certain capabilities. So, in 2019, we made a pivot to apply these principles as a startup business serving targeted areas of the industry across the U.S. And eventually around the globe. At CQInsights, our clients are industry companies, which include medical device and pharmaceutical companies. We have targeted this specific area of the health care industry because their main challenge is getting access to the analysis of real-world clinical data. The consulting and data analytics solutions provided by CQInsights are less expensive, more flexible and readily available for our clients. Since our pivot, these are the key successes we’ve achieved that indicate we’re primed to scale and grow: Brought in revenue from three existing clients, including datasets from multiple clinical sites Published a patent based on our proprietary CQI method Influenced a client’s 510(k) approval with the FDA by presenting data generated from our method without the need for an Institutional Review Board (IRB) submission, instead of a traditional clinical trial Built an adaptive and interactive web-based data visualization tool, VALITY, to display the value of care for any definable patient care process Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian-based company Data Dissect to bring our CQI model to the Australian market Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with United Techno, a technology company that assists with automated data acquisition and cleansing to help develop a scalable technology platform for managing healthcare data in our CQI method In addition to multiple active clients and clinical sites, we are in negotiations with nearly a dozen prospective clients, including several multibillion-dollar medical device and pharmaceutical companies. Even in the current climate of a global pandemic, CQInsights has found success in fostering new relationships with potential clients because of the need for real-world data across the global health care system. Our experience, knowledge, and proprietary assets have proven CQInsights to be the leader in applying data science appropriately to health care, which fulfills a substantial need within the industry. How would you describe the current state of your company? Early growth stage. We've gone from zero to over $500,000 in booked revenue since February and we have about $2 million in current proposals in negotiation. What’s the next big challenge for your company and what do you need to overcome it? Working in over a dozen unique clinical sites by the end of this year, we will need to mature a scalable technology platform for data acquisition, cleansing and management so that we can apply our CQI method globally at a faster pace. What’s your vision for what your company looks like in two years? Once the challenges of scaling our method are achieved, we will be expanding to hundreds of clinical sites in the U.S. And begin to expand globally beyond Australia. This will result in exponential revenue growth and demonstrate the potential for our global health care system to achieve better patient outcomes at lower costs. What kind of innovation or change is happening in your industry and how will it impact your company? One major change in the health care industry is the move away from traditional controlled clinical research trials to using real-world data for learning. This has been mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act for the FDA to use real-world data and complex adaptive methods for the U.S. Regulatory process. This is critical to our success because this transition is embedded in our business model with our CQI method. What else would you like the East Tennessee business community to know about your company? We're extremely grateful to the East Tennessee entrepreneurial community for their ongoing encouragement and support of our effort. Endeavor Composites Inc. Company name: Endeavor Composites Inc. Website: endeavorcomposites.Com Founder/CEO: Hicham Ghossein, Ph.D. Year founded: 2019 Number of employees: 1 full-time, 3 part-time Your company elevator pitch: Endeavor Composites is intercepting landfill-destined carbon fiber, virgin or recycled, and repurposing them into high performance technical nonwoven fabric using 1-inch long fibers. These fabrics are isotropic in nature with the potential of replacing sheet metal in various industries. What’s been your entrepreneurial journey so far? Our entrepreneurial journey has been extraordinary. Despite the pandemic’s challenge we have managed to gain traction and support from major OEMs on the supplier and client sides. So far we are conducting four major research and development projects with the potential of revolutionizing the transportation industry by adding another 30 miles per gallon range to vehicles. How would you describe the current state of your company? We are in a seed stage were we are generating research and development revenue and looking to launch our industrial operation in 2022. What’s the next big challenge for your company and what do you need to overcome it? As a hard tech company, our equipment is capital intensive, and an industrial production will require a significant amount of investment. The ROI is significant, but still requires support from serious investors who understand the field. What’s your vision for what your company looks like in two years? Two years from now, we strive to be the major nonwoven reinforcement supplier for the advanced composite industry. We are projecting an operation of $60 million square feet of fabric with over $20 million in revenue. What kind of innovation or change is happening in your industry and how will it impact your company? The composite industry is witnessing a major growth as it provides other industries such as automotive, construction, marine and aerospace with the high performance and lower weight solution. This adaptation calls for reinforcement solutions that are versatile and flexible to accommodate different scenarios and different manufacturers. What else would you like the East Tennessee business community to know about your company? We are a high-tech company that is serving major industries all while maintaining a green and sustainable performance. Our goal is to expand job opportunities in the area and preserve the beautiful landscape of our state. We are from Tennessee and big Vols supporters. Anything else you want to add? The diversity of our technology allows us to serve almost any field of operation, so please bring us your pain and allow us to tailor a well-fitting solution. Sentinel Devices LLC Company name: Sentinel Devices LLC Website: sentineldevices.Com Founder/CEO: Dr. Forrest Shriver Year founded: 2020 Number of employees:1 Your company elevator pitch: Sentinel Devices is deploying intelligent devices to monitor individual controllers within industrial control systems, enabling cost-effective and scalable predictive analytics and cyber-awareness. Our devices learn the behavior of their assigned controllers over time, and raise alarms if those controllers exhibit anomalies due to equipment degradation, failure or cyberattack. Our end-to-end machine learning solution is completely self-contained on each device, and never communicates with the cloud, so there is zero risk of a data breach or device backdooring. This approach enables robust, easy-to-implement anomaly detection for industrial customers while keeping the attack surface and data transfer needs to an absolute minimum. What’s been your entrepreneurial journey so far? I started working on the company full time as soon as I left grad school. I've had an absolute blast learning all-new skills I've never needed before. I've had to interview people, I've had to run design meetings, I've had to prepare technical briefs at low and high levels. It's really opened up a whole new world and way of thinking for me that I didn't see before. How would you describe the current state of your company? Small but interested in iterating and building quickly. We're deep in the software side of development right now, but hope to start putting things into hardware before too long. What’s the next big challenge for your company and what do you need to overcome it? Right now we're seeking industrial partners that we can work and iterate with to really prove out our solution and prove that we're the right approach to solve their problems and concerns. We're looking for anyone who's willing to talk about the industrial controls they use, how they implement them and problems they see, and what they think could be better. If they're willing to give us a test run, even better! What’s your vision for what your company looks like in two years? We'll have a working software minimum viable product sitting inside of a robust hardware platform that we're providing to customers for evaluation and feedback. We hope to be working primarily off of non-dilutive funding, although dilutive funding is not out of the question. What kind of innovation or change is happening in your industry and how will it impact your company? A lot of people are starting to wake up and realize that cybersecurity is a big issue for industrial automation, and that cloud-connected solutions might have associated security concerns. There's also a big drive to understand when your machines are going to fail before they do, which we address, but balancing that kind of intelligence and staying secure is really hard and is an unsolved problem. We believe that we'll be able to catch this wave of awareness, and that customers will use our product to detect faults and stay safe while doing so. What else would you like the East Tennessee business community to know about your company? We're really looking forward to talking to everyone at Startup Day! We're not just looking to talk to utilities; anyone who interfaces with industrial control systems — system integrators, service providers, design firms — we're open and eager to speaking with you and getting your perspective on the industry and what it needs. SkyNano Technologies Company name: SkyNano Technologies, LLC Website: skynanotechnologies.Com Co-Founders: CEO Anna Douglas and Cary Pint Year founded: 2017 Number of employees: 6 Your company elevator pitch: We turn carbon dioxide air pollution into useful carbon nanomaterial products through the power of electrochemistry. At high temperature, we indirectly convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into valuable material products, such as carbon nanotubes (CNT), making our technology carbon negative when renewable sources of energy are used as inputs. This approach is positioning SkyNano to enter the CNT market with a product that is a third of the price of the competition and uses about one-tenth the input energy of incumbent, higher-volume production methodologies. What’s been your entrepreneurial journey so far? After 14 years of automotive fuel cell development in industry and at Los Alamos National Laboratory and 11 years of advanced battery development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, (Pint) met Douglas through our work together on a joint ORNL/SkyNano lithium-ion battery (LIB) development project in fall 2020. I was so intrigued by the SkyNano technology and business model, and a personal desire to shift my scientific work towards reversing the impact humankind is having on the Earth’s atmosphere, that I decided to embark on a 3-year entrepreneurial leave program from ORNL in February to pursue development of the technology from benchtop to commercial scale. How would you describe the current state of your company? We are still a small startup company, but we are comprised of a powerful, dedicated and talented staff full of passion for the environment and making a positive difference with our scientific skillsets. Our current production level is pre-pilot with a heavy emphasis on understanding of the fundamental process science and carbon nanomaterial properties. What’s the next big challenge for your company and what do you need to overcome it? We will be increasing our scale from pre-pilot to pilot (an increase of 50-times production rate) in spring, which will be a significant undertaking. Adjusting to this magnitude of growth in production capacity while still maintaining high product quality is an extremely difficult challenge. SkyNano is well positioned technically to overcome it, but we will likely need to develop an entirely new process for providing carbon nanomaterials to our customers. What’s your vision for what your company looks like in two years? We will be in a larger new lab space with a 50% increase in staff producing 1 kilogram of high-purity CNTs per week after a successful completion of our Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy contract and growing our existing base of customers by fivefold. We will also have critical reusable materials selected by then, as well as mechanization of product removal, both of which are critical advancements needed to reach a pre-commercialization level. What kind of innovation or change is happening in your industry and how will it impact your company? A global emphasis is now being placed on addressing the ongoing climate crisis, the most important aspect of which is reducing the total carbon dioxide output to zero by about 2050 and subsequently returning its level to the pre-industrial range of 350-370 parts per million. In addition, CNTs are a highly desired material in many applications ranging from energy storage, building materials, advanced composites, functional coatings, elastomers, aerospace systems, etc. What else would you like the East Tennessee business community to know about your company? As Earth’s climate crisis continues to worsen due to excessive carbon dioxide emissions and uses for recyclables continue to rise in importance due to limited second-use possibilities, SkyNano remains committed to negative-emissions-based recycling gaseous (like power or chemical plant flue gas) and solid (plastic) waste into highly valuable carbon and graphitic products. These two important environmental problems threaten extinction of many species, upset the delicate balance between the oceans and atmosphere and destabilize life in general as humans know it today. They are also worsening in real time as the ocean plastic pollution continues to expand worldwide, especially in the Pacific Ocean, and extreme weather (forest fires and floods) engulfs the planet during the summer months on an annual basis. Finding a purpose for these carbon-containing plastic waste streams and gaseous carbon dioxide emissions are two integral pieces of closing the “carbon cycle” overall. Anything else you want to add? A proud woman-owned and operated small business Summit Performance Testing, LLC Company name: Summit Performance Testing, LLC Co-founders: CEO John Sorochan, Ph.D. and CTO Kyley Dickson, Ph.D. Year founded: April 2020 Number of employees: 2 Your company elevator pitch: Four of the 10 most common sports injuries are to the lower extremities, yet relatively little attention has been given to the study and prevention of these injuries that frequently occur at the intersection of the playing surface and the athlete’s footwear. Until now. Athletes and sports teams seek peak performance on playing surfaces that have no standard of measure or wear or playability. Until now. Summit Performance has developed a proprietary and patent-pending system to measure and map the condition of playing surfaces, natural or artificial, across the worlds most popular sports, including football, soccer, rugby, and the like. The benefit to athletes is in both improved performance and safety. And imagine a future where our platform technology can actually provide shoe manufacturers with data-driven design elements to produce custom athletic footwear that will optimize the intersection of the athletes’ footwear and the playing surfaces. Summit Performance was founded by experts in soil science applied to sports fields and playing surfaces. We serve as expert advisors to the NFL Players Union and to FIFA, the worldwide governing body of soccer. We have performed analysis of playing surfaces for professional football and for Division 1 NCAA teams. Our “secret sauce” is the proprietary collection, analysis, and reporting of data in an industry marked by generation-old practices that leave athletes vulnerable to injuries and held below their maximum performance. What’s been your entrepreneurial journey so far? We have progressed from researching the problem to developing solutions to where, now, we have a company to take to market! How would you describe the current state of your company? Revenue-generating and preparing to scale. What’s the next big challenge for your company and what do you need to overcome it? Meeting international demand will be challenging. We will need to develop teams to service major sports stadiums and venues, all the while collecting the data to build the platform that will drive a future of data-driven custom footwear. What’s your vision for what your company looks like in two years? In two years we will be serving domestic and international markets across multiple sports venues (football, soccer, rugby, cricket, etc.). What kind of innovation or change is happening in your industry and how will it impact your company? As athletes and team owners become more educated about player health and safety, the demand for measures to prevent injury is increasing, and being able to do so while optimizing performance is a combination that simply hasn’t existed in an industry relying on generation-old technology. What else would you like the East Tennessee business community to know about your company? We are a unique company that applies our expertise and recognition gained during our research at the University of Tennessee into an industry overdue for solutions to improved safety and performance in the global sports market. We will bring jobs and recognition to the region. Uncat Company name: Uncat Website: uncat.Com Co-founders: Adam Slack, Jared Smith, Kaleigh Veca Smith and CEO Brandon Bruce Year founded: 2019 Number of employees: 4 Your company elevator pitch: Built by accountants and bookkeepers, Uncat makes it easy to resolve uncategorized transactions with your clients. We got tired of exporting spreadsheets from QuickBooks Online every month, chasing clients for information, and manually copy-pasting client responses into our accounting software. That’s why we built Uncat and packed it with time-saving features to help you close the books faster every month. What’s been your entrepreneurial journey so far? (Bruce) started and grew a previous software company called Cirrus Insight to No. 41 on the Inc. 500 list in 2016 before exiting in 2018. I’m excited to be working with my fellow co-founders to solve one of the most persistent and burdensome problems facing public accountants and bookkeepers. How would you describe the current state of your company? We have a robust integration with QuickBooks Online that is highly reviewed by accountants and bookkeepers. We’re ramping up our marketing while also developing integrations with Xero and QuickBooks Desktop. What’s the next big challenge for your company and what do you need to overcome it? Our next big challenge is scale — serving more customers and continuing to build and enhance our technology. What’s your vision for what your company looks like in two years? Uncat is a must-have app in the technology stack of accountants and bookkeepers. It’s 100 times our current size and we have the option of continuing to scale independently or combining with other technologies to best serve our customers. What kind of innovation or change is happening in your industry and how will it impact your company? There is a big focus on workflow and efficiency in the accounting industry. Uncat is well-positioned since it solves one of the big recurring challenges facing accountants and bookkeepers every month. What else would you like the East Tennessee business community to know about your company? We would love to serve more East Tennessee accountants and bookkeepers. Growth and development editor Brenna McDermott can be reached at brenna.Mcdermott@knoxnews.Com. Follow along with her work on Twitter @_BrennaMcD. Support our local news efforts by becoming a Knox News subscriber.
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