By David H. Ringstrom, CPA
Fresh from our pull-back from the fiscal cliff, it's not just the IRS that's been madly updating forms for the 2012 filing season. Right on schedule, Glenn Reeves of Burlington, Kansas has released his sixteenth spreadsheet-based version of the US Individual Tax Return, commonly known as Form 1040. Since 1997 Mr. Reeves has pursued this "labor of love", which means he allows any taxpayer to download and use the spreadsheet for free.
Mr. Reeves' spreadsheet empowers anyone to prepare their tax return spreadsheet applications, such as Microsoft Excel, Office 365, Libre Office (formerly known as Open Office), or Gnumeric Portable – a spreadsheet that fits on a flash drive. As you can see in Figure 1, the form closely mirrors the official IRS format, but Mr. Reeves doesn't guarantee that the IRS will accept printed versions of this form. He personally files his return online after using the spreadsheet to compute his return.
Figure 1: Glenn Reeves has updated his Excel-based version of IRS Form 1040 for the 2012 tax year
The 2012 version of the spreadsheet includes both pages of Form 1040 as well as these supplemental schedules:
- Schedule A – Itemized Deductions
- Schedule B –Interest and Ordinary Dividends
- Schedule C – Profit or Loss from Business
- Schedule D – Capital Gains and Losses, along with its worksheet
- Schedule E – Supplemental Income and Loss
- Schedule L – Standard Deduction for Certain Filers
- Schedule SE – Self-Employment Tax
- Form 6251 – Alternative Minimum Tax – Individuals
- Form 8949 – Sales and Dispositions of Capital Assets
The spreadsheet also includes several worksheets:
- Schedule D Worksheet
- Line 10 – State and Local Tax Refund Worksheet
- Lines 16a and 16b – Simplified Method Worksheet taxable annuities and pension benefits
- Lines 20a and 20b – Social Security Benefits Worksheet
- Line 32 – IRA Deduction Worksheet
- Line 44 – Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet
- Line 51 – Child Tax Credit Worksheet
Five additional worksheets round out the tool:
- W-2 input forms that support up to four employers for each spouse
- 1099-R Retirement input forms for up to four payers for each spouse
- SSA-1099 input form to record Social Security Benefits
- A tax table
- Change log that records revisions to the spreadsheet
All of the worksheets in the 1040 workbook are password protected, and most of the underlying formulas are hidden, but you’re free to add new worksheets to the file or create links to other workbooks. Mr. Reeves notes that the spreadsheet is constructed in such a fashion that proper use of the spreadsheet means a user won't need to access any of the protected cells. As shown in Figure 2, the spreadsheet also offers some limited error checking.
Figure 2: The spreadsheet offers limited error-checking prompts.
Although Mr. Reeves gives the spreadsheet away, he does accept appreciation contributions, which he reports on his tax return as income. He also donates 10 percent of any contributions to his church. Spreadsheet-based versions of Form 1040 are available for tax years 1996 through 2012 at www.excel1040.com. Questions regarding the spreadsheet should be directed to Glenn Reeves through his website.
Read more articles by David Ringstrom.
About the author:
David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.