The history of TaxTron is a long and storied one, so let me borrow from a source also long and storied.
“In the beginning, there was the Word. And the Word was GriffTax.”
In the dawn of time before the World Wide Web, before cell phones and tablets were ubiquitous, before flat screens, and before everyone owned a computer (or more), you really had only two ways to prepare your taxes. Either you took your taxes to a professional tax preparer or you sharpened up the ol’ #2 pencil, warmed up the calculator, and rolled up your sleeves.
As computers were just starting to become commonplace in the home, it was only a matter of time before tax preparation software appeared. Some of the first software packages available for personal computers were spreadsheet programs. Like an army of accountants with calculators, they could quickly do myriad calculations on entire tables of numbers in a flash. And with something as complex as taxes, it was natural that such numerical computing power would be put to work to solve the dreaded yearly chore.
Starting as a spreadsheet-based solution, Excel files were produced through the 80s, but by the end of that decade personal computers made it so much easier to prepare taxes. It was time to migrate GriffTax to a proper full-fledged application. This happened and the GriffTax 90 product (for 1989 returns) was the first Mac tax package in existence, boasting full screen presentation, full government printed compliance, and in both professional and personal editions.
Evolution through the 90s was rapid with the first electronic filing products being introduced in 1994. Meanwhile, companies came and went with a handful surviving. GriffTax grew with additional features and capabilities. The growing power and complexity of the software required diskettes with multiple megabytes of storage, and ultimately CDs.
Several times in the 90s attempts were made to port the forms and calculations of GriffTax to a PC product. None succeeded, in part because the time frame for tax software is ridiculous. No sooner than one season is over, but you have to get ready for the next. Development times for new software is typically in the order of years. It is difficult if not impossible to work on new software at the same time as preparing the next year’s tax updates.
Softron, a company founded in 1980, acquired GriffTax approximately 10 years ago and created what we now know as TaxTron. In 2003, additional programmers came to the team and TaxTron released its first Windows software. Although the Windows and Mac products were quite different, both served ably as more and more taxpayers made the transition to preparing their taxes by computer.
The year 2010 brought the current version of TaxTron for Windows into existence, itself a spinoff from the Mac that drew its heritage all the way back to GriffTax. Using the same core engine, it delivered an experience much closer to what Mac users had long become accustomed to. Even so, it brought new innovations such as a more integrated Forms Manager and Summary to the program.
The Windows program had gotten a facelift, but the Mac program was still largely unchanged from the GriffTax days, but events would soon drag the program into the 21st century.
With the advent of Apple’s OS 10.7, the gang at Cupertino removed the last bits of support for PowerPC code from the operating system, which part of the Mac software still relied on. This necessitated a near complete re-write of the software, which definitely caused some consternation for long-time users. In the process though, we were able to make significant changes to the interface to bring it more in line with the Windows version. Not only that, but it received some features that haven’t even made it back yet into the Windows program.
The product and the effort put in by the experienced and dedicated tax professionals and developers of TaxTron are now some 10 times greater than GriffTax was ever able to do, and the results are evident in a superior product, equal to the best in the market, and running on both Mac and PC.
The TaxTron software are certified by Canada Revenue and Revenue Quebec on an annual basis. The same calculations are used to produce the printed versions of the package, but today a majority of tax returns are now filed by NETFILE or EFILE. Built on the efforts of many skilled hands over the course of decades, from its origin to the present day TaxTron was and remains, a leader in Canadian tax software and the TRUE CANADIAN CHOICE in the marketplace.