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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

Program Reviews

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 printout—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

IRS forms.

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


TaxTimeRelief CHIEF rMBATA April 1987ACWOlPublication 7-U70 12069