SHCC WYSIWYG Article from March 2006

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the March 2006 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Taxes 2005

by Don VanSyckel

Well first the bad news, we're half way to tax time. The good news is if my preliminary calculations are correct I could get a refund this year for a change. That means I'll get back the money that I loaned the government at 0%. Anyway, if you don't have a program to do your taxes with consider http://www.taxact.com . The reason I mention this is because they offer a FREE version that actually works either as a download to run on your PC or a web version. This will be the eighth or ninth year using this program. I started with the free version but after seeing how well it performed I paid the $9.95 after the fact. I figured if no one anted up and the company went away, I'd be stuck with the other choices and I didn't want that. Well I spend the big bucks now, a whole $19.95 but that's the deluxe federal version, one state version, and one federal electronic filing. The deluxe federal version includes a few feature beyond the standard version but if you have relatively straightforward taxes you probably wouldn't miss these. The state version I choose is Michigan, of course. It's integrated nicely with the federal and quite seamless.

The only problem I've had is entering information which the program wants on a subform or worksheet. The good news is the program supports everything you could possibly have. The bad news is that since everything is supported a few items that I would like to simply enter on the tax form, must be placed on a subform which provides all the other options for this category, even though I don't need the options. I guess support too much, in this case, is better than not supporting enough, even so I'll live with it. You can override the subforms with the click of the mouse. However, if you override these, the program can't verify your work so it locks you out of electronic filing but paper is just fine.

As with other tax programs, you can import last year's data into this year so you normally just have to enter the new numbers for the current year for payroll, bank accounts, and other type investments.

I have a 1994 vintage laser printer and the forms all print very nicely although I will be printing them to PDF this year and eliminate adding more paper in my file cabinet. The federal can be electronically filed and the forms for payment, if you owe, are printed. I haven't checked if the state can be electronically filed or not but it's not included with the program so I suspect it can't be.

I am picky about my programs and don't like programs that try to take over your PC when you load them. You know what I'm referring to. TaxAct is a very well behaved program that does it's job when you run it and stays quietly in the corner other times.

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