1040 form automatically, and some require
Try out the printer functions to make sure
you to take the results from the supporting
everything is going to work all right. You
forms and enter them on the 1040 manually.
don't want to painstakingly enter all your
Also, some let you enter data in both upper-
data and then find out you haven't selected
and lowercase letters.
the right printer options, or that you should
Most of the programs allow you to enter
have sent printer control codes before you
only totals for the line items. For instance, if
started. Also, make sure you have at least one
you've given to five charities, you have to
blank formatted disk to use as a data disk, if
add up the amounts and enter the total on
your program requires it.
schedule A, line 15a. It would be nice to just
One nice feature of all of the programs I
enter the five amounts and have the program calculate the total and put it on line 15a.
reviewed is that they had no copy protection.
Printing the Forms
I tested them all using a backup copy I'd
made. It would be a good idea for you to do the same, keeping your original disk in a safe
The final output from these tax programs are Figures that can be entered on your in come tax forms and schedules, preferably by
your printer. The IRS will accept computer-
should examine your forms for errors and
generated facsimiles for all the schedules and forms except the 1040, provided certain IRS rules are observed. The printouts come in three types, with
omissions before sending them off to the IRS.
All the programs disclaim any responsibil ity for the accuracy of your tax return. You
some programs offering more than one. The
What follows are brief reviews of the eight tax packages I tested. AH the programs
first is the draft printoutâ€”a listing of the
worked without any troublesome bugs, al
input to and output from the tax program
though some impressed me as more pol
for your records only. You can use the draft
ished than others. I can say that using any of
for manually entering the data on your
these programs is preferable to doing your
taxes by hand. Table 1 shows you a list of the
The second type of printout is an IRS-
ready schedule or form that you can take directly from your printer and submit with your tax return. As I mentioned, the IRS will accept these for all but the 1040 form.
The third type of printout is done directly
forms and schedules each program prepares and the types of printouts it produces. About half the programs I reviewed were
for the 1985 tax year and half for 1986. The 1986 versions should be available for all of them by the time you read this article.
on the IRS forms and schedules. Even the
1040 can be submitted this way, since you're using the actual tax form and not a facsimile. There are three ways to print directly on the tractor-feed printer paper or just feed it
Tax Return Helper comes in two versions, standard and professional. I tested the latter.
through your friction-feed printer.
In either case, the package employs die tem
IRS forms. One is to tape the form to your
Another way is to buy preprinted IRS forms on tractor-feed paper from a business supply store. The greatest difficulty with ei ther of these methods is trying to get every thing lined up just right on the printer.
A third, and more practical, way is to print on blank white paper, then position a trans parent overlay of the IRS form over your printout and make a photocopy of the com
plate format, which means you need some
familiarity with the tax forms and schedules in order to use it. You move around the template by using function keys, and press ing the help key displays a list of the com mand keys.
Both versions produce a draft type of printout, and the only difference appears to be that the professional version also prints
their forms. You can purchase these transpar
on IRS forms and uses transparencies. With the standard version, you must enter the re
encies at some office supply stores, or any
sults by hand on your IRS forms.
bination. The IRS accepts photocopies of
copy center will make diem for you on their
duplicating machine for about $1 per page. Operating Tips When you first start using a tax program,
it's a good idea to see how it works by run ning through its operation without entering
any data. If you don't do this, you'll find yourself having to juggle the instruction manual along with your piles of receipts and checks.
42 / RUN APRIL 1987
Tkx Return Helper, Professional Version
The 1985 edition I had didn't automati cally transfer results from form to form, but, according to the manufacturer, KSoft, the
1986 edition does. The program needs and supports only one disk drive, because there's room for your tax records on the pro gram disk.
Tax Return Helper is written in Basic and can be listed to the screen or printer. It's a big program, and hence has an occasional annoying pause for garbage collection.
TaxTimeRelief CHIEF rMBATA April 1987ACWOlPublication 7-U70 12069