The brinksmanship between Congress and the Internal Revenue Service seems to ratchet up every year with the ever-present “will they or won’t they” approach to tax legislation. Yet amidst the annual chaos there is one rock-steady constant: the Excel-based version of Excel 1040 published by Glenn Reeves of Burlington, Kansas. This filing season marks his eighteenth spreadsheet-based version of the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Citizen Reeves continues to help his fellow taxpayers who wish to avoid the tedium of paper-based filing, as well as the chaos inflicted by online tax form providers changing their prices and features unexpectedly.
Mr. Reeves' spreadsheet empowers anyone to prepare his or her 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. Click the "Download" link at www.excel1040.com to get your free version of this spreadsheet.
Although the forms closely mirror the official IRS format, 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 2014 tax year.
The 2014 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 F: Profit or Loss from Farming
- Schedule SE: Self-Employment Tax
- Form 6251: Alternative Minimum Tax—Individuals
- Form 8949: Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets
- Form 8959: Additional Medicare Tax
- Form 8960: Net Investments Income Tax—Individuals, Estates, and Trusts
The spreadsheet also includes several worksheets:
- Line 10: State and Local Income Tax Refund Worksheet
- Lines 16a and 16b: Simplified Method Worksheet for taxable annuities and pension benefits
- Line 32: IRA Deduction Worksheet
- Lines 20a and 20b: Social Security Benefits Worksheet
- Line 44: Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet
- Line 52: 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 noted 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 (below), the spreadsheet also offers some limited error checking.
Figure 2: The spreadsheet offers limited error-checking prompts.
Although Mr. Reeves offers the spreadsheet free of charge, he does consider this to be a crowdfunded project. Donations toward his effort to keep the spreadsheet going are reported 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 2014 at www.excel1040.com.
Direct questions regarding this Excel 1040 form to Glenn Reeves via his website.
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, teaches webcasts for CPE Link, and writes freelance articles on Excel for AccountingWEB, Going Concern, et.al.
About David Ringstrom, CPA
David H. Ringstrom, CPA, is an author and nationally recognized instructor who teaches scores of webinars each year. His Excel courses are based on over 25 years of consulting and teaching experience. His mantra is “Either you work Excel, or it works you.” David offers spreadsheet and database consulting services nationwide.