Hand-rolled TurboTax

It’s tax time again! By now everybody should have just about all of the documents necessary to do your taxes. If you are like me and do your own taxes by hand, you might find the following resource useful:


At the above link, you can get an MS Excel spreadsheet that is probably 80% as comprehensive as TurboTax or any other commercial tax-preparation software, for free! (Or if you feel like it, you could paypal the author a few bucks in appreciation; note that his website says he will tithe all donations to his church).

The worksheet is arranged into dozens of tabs; one for entering your W-2 information, one for entering your 1099-R (retirement income) information, tabs for Schedules A through E, tabs for the worksheets behind many of the line items, and of course a tab for the form 1040 itself.

You just enter all of your baseline tax information into the appropriate cells, and the Excel formulas that tie everything together recalculate everything automagically. (It’s fun to enter more and more deductions on the schedule A and watch your refund increase!)

The worksheets for the actual forms (1040, Sch A/B…) actually print out as reasonable facsimiles of the actual tax documents. I haven’t had the courage to actually submit my printouts (I copy the final values over to the gov’t-supplied forms), but I do keep my printouts as hardcopy records. All of the formulas are password-protected, so you don’t have to worry about screwing up the calculations; you only have to worry about getting the right numbers into the right lines — and if you don’t know which numbers apply to which lines, you’re probably better off with a commercial product that guides you with wizards, or a professional preparer.

But if any of my faithful followers gives this spreadsheet a try, and has questions about how to operate it, I’d be glad to try to answer your questions.


2 Responses

  1. I like this theme on your site.
    I came here via the “next” blog option
    on the Dashboard…
    I’m intrigued by the spreadsheet — we’ve had such
    a trying experience w. Turbotax…. argh

    very interesting and I will probably look at it.
    We use Open Office, and it reads xls files

  2. The spreadsheet for 2006 taxes is now available!

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