Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 11, NO. 3 / MARCH 1985 / PAGE 37

Tax software in brief; choosing and using tax software packages. (evaluation) Carol A. Crowell.

Auto Tax Saver

The first software program designed to monitor the business use of cars under the Tax Reform Act of 1984, Auto Tax Saver documents business car usage for salespeople and professionals who deduct expenses for investment tax credit. Adaptive Software says the mileage log provides all necessary documentation required by the IRS. It accumulates mileage, monitors percentages, records trip purposes, and recognizes repeated patterns of places visited. In the case of multiple trips to the same location, data entry is accomplished by pointing to a destination and hitting the return key. Systems: 192K IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: $89.95 Manufacturer: Adaptive Software 1968 Cavell Ave. Highland Park, IL 60035 (312) 831-4420 BIN

Designed to organize personal and small business income tax data into separate categories, BIN is a record keeping program for people who keep their receipts, check stubs, W-2's, bank statements, credit card records, and medical bills in shoeboxes. The category "bins" appear at the top of the screen with tags such as Medical Expenses, Travel, Phone, and Taxes and are selected with a single Keystroke. Data from receipts are entered in the bin and then automatically totaled and alphabetized. Superflight says records can be maintained on a periodic basis or compiled in one shot on April 14. The actual filling out of the return is left to the user. System: 64K IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: $30 Manufacturer: Superflight, Inc. 752 La Para Ave. Palo Alto, CA 99306 (415) 493-5050 MoneyTrack

Designed for the non-accountant and novice computer user, MoneyTrack is a record keeper geared for people with small businesses using an outside bookkeeping service, principals of a company or firm that acts as a trustee for multiple bank accounts, and people with a variety of business activities. MoneyTrack records simple expense payments and complex financial transactions, files these transactions throughout the year with no month-end accumulated totals, and produces a variety of reports for the user and his accountant. Each transaction is related to a fund, business, account, or special ledger, with up to 99 funds, 99 businesses, 900 accounts, and 900 special ledgers provided. At the end of the year, MoneyTrack provides a summary for each category and then forwards balances and monthly totals for month-by-month comparison of the new year with the old. MoneyTrack also interfaces with Lotus 1-2-3 for custom reports. System: 128K IBM PC, MS-DOS Price:$295 Manufacturer:

Pacific Data Systems, Inc. 6090 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City, CA 90230 (213) 559-8713 (800) 343-9194 (800) 421-4706 Tax Record

With Cheapware Tax Record, income and expense records for any calendar year can be collected in one convenient, displayable file. Entries are categorized in any of eight different classes and 32 different types. At income tax time, the program will print out the entire ledger, the ledger for any single month, all ledger entries in any single type, or all ledger entries in any single class with summary totals for each of the 32 types. For example, in a class of deductible expenses, one type could be medical with accumulative totals for physicians' receipts, hospital bills, dental statements, and prescription receipts. Any entry to the program may be updated, changed, modified, or deleted from the file or to another file. The program can also establish personal, business, and landlord-type ledgers. System: IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: $22.50 Manufacturer: Robert L. Nicolai 4038 N. Ninth St. St. Louis, MO 63147 (314) 621-7618 Tax Planning Beacon

A tax planner that combines tax record keeping with personal financial management, Beacon tracks both income and non-income producing assets and keeps a running record of the net worth of one owner or any group of owners. The net worth of the entire family, the husband and wife only, the children only, and family trust, or an IRA owner, is instantly available. All bookkeeping adjustments for investment portfolios and cash accounts are made automatically and produce tax information. The program prints a summary tax return and can be modified to allow "what if" analysis. Tax tables and limits-percentages in the tax code can be edited to keep them current. The program includes a reminder system for special events, such as dividend dates, stockholder meetings, maturity dates, option expiration dates, and other mundane but important bits of information such as a spouse's birthday or wedding anniversary. System: 48K Apple II and III Price: $90 Manufacturer:

The Cumberland Company 4765 North Cumberland Blvd. Milwauke, WI, 53211 (414) 964-7877 Estate Tax Planner Designed for CPAs and attorneys, Estate Tax Planner analyzes up to four alternative plans simultaneously to aid decisions about asset distribution. Eight different analyses can be made: estate tax liability, gross estate, present value analysis, deferred payment under IRC section 6166, section 6166 payment schedule, liquidity analysis, IRS section 303 stock redemption, and marital deduction funding. Estate Tax Planner requires little computer expertise for operation. System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, Apple II and III, CP/M Price: $750 Manufacturer: Aardvark/McGrew-Hill 1020 North Broadway Milwaukee, WI 53202 (414) 225-750 Financier Tax Series

This tax planning package operates like a spreadsheet, forming rows and columns to create multiple tax cases and calculate tax years 1984 and after. The program offers graphic analysis, on-screen help, a depreciation module, and CPI indexing. Information stored within can be downloaded to Financier II, a full-featured business finance program from the same company. System: IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: $175 Manufacturer: Financier 2000 West Park Dr. Westboro, MA 01581 (617) 366-0950 Forecast

A tax estimating and "what if" tax planning program, Forecast automatically calculates dividends and interest, capital gains and losses, taxable social security income, married couple deductions, self-employment taxes, alternative minimum tax, tax credits, and income averaging. It displays a worksheet with an overview of the user's entire tax situation with an estimate of year-end taxes. Up to five different tax scenarios can be viewed simultaneously, and updates can be made as changes occur. Based upon this year's tax information, Forecast also can project tax scenarios for the next four years. System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, 64K Apple II with 80-column card, 128K Macintosh Price IBM PC, $179.95; Macintosh, $69.95; Apple II, $59.95 Manufacturer: G & G Software, Inc. 610 Park Blvd. Austin, TX 78751 (512) 458-5760 Professional Tax Planner

An updated, year-round tax planning program, Professional Tax Planner, version 4.0, has automatic calculation of the two-earner deduction, an alternative minimum tax break-even point calculation, and the ability to save results to a DOS file to be used with a word processing program. This enhanced version also allows users to enter and calculate state taxes. Professional Tax Planner details tax items for adjustments to income and calculates investment expense limitations and 10-year averaging. According to a maintenance agreement, enhancements and updates within 30 days every time tax laws change cost $100 in addition to the retail price for the first year. The agreement may be extended for subsequent years at variable costs, depending upon the complexity of a tax law changes, with a $225 ceiling. Professional Tax Planner can be used by computer novices, although it is designed for CPAs and others already familiar with tax planning. System: 256K IBM PC, MS-DOS, Apple II Price: $395 Updates: Provided within 30 days of any tax law change. $100 for first year Manufacturer: Aardvark/McGraw-Hill 1020 North Broadway Milwaukee, WI 53202 (414) 225-7500 Tax Decisions

Tax Decisions, a 1040 based tax planning package for professional tax planners and financial advisors, provides for graphic reports, tabular reports, client filing, automatic calculations, and a permanent record of up to five tax scenarios for each client. Related items may be recalculated with a single new entry change, and related schedules will be considered automatically through the "expert system" advising technique. In both report and graph forms, key lines of Form 1040 can be displayed to demonstrate tax liability in a single plan compared to other plans and options. In addition, the calc pad, which enables the user to calculate independently of the program, can be displayed through on-screen windowing along with the appropriate form or schedule. As a bonus, Tax Decisions includes a subscription to Compuserve's IRS information database. System: IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: $279 Updates: Semi-annual; first year's update free, with subsequent ones at annual subscription rate of $99. Manufacturer: Eagle Software Publishing, Inc. 993 Old Eagle School Rd. Wayne, PA 19087 (215) 964-8660 Tax Mini-Miser

Designed by financial planners and investment counselors for professional tax planning and home use, Tax Mini-Miser has its own run-time system, which making it easy for first time computer users to operate. The program employs a spreadsheet-like format in which one screen is used for income entries and another for deduction entries. Tax Mini-Miser can project tax scenarios for up to six years, perform up to six alternative scenarios simultaneously, and calculate income averaging and alternative minimum tax. The most recent federal tax laws are applied. A California version of Tax Mini-Miser is available with other state programs planned. System: Apple II and III, IBM PC Price: $295 Updates: Annual; $45-$75 Manufacturer: Sunrise Software 36 Palm Ct. Menlo Park, CA 94025 (415) 441-2351 Tax Shelter/Investment Planner

Tailored for CPAs and financial planners, Tax Shelter/Investment Planner analyzes the effects of tax shelters and investments; figures net present value, rates of return, cumulative tax benefits, and effect upon cash flow; and prints reports for clients. Three complete reports are offered: Investment Report, Integrated Investment Report, and Tax Report. Calculations can be made with Post-1975 investment interest limitations, the alternative minimum tax, and general business credit limitations. System: 256K IBM PC Price: $395 Manufacturer: Aardvark/McGraw-Hill 1020 N. Broadway Milwaukee, WI 53202 (414) 225-7500 Tax Strategist

An income tax planning program that projects tax liability for 10 years or considers different alternatives for a single year, the Tax Strategist automatically selects the optimum tax method for the individual. A key feature is the planning program that calculates federal income tax obligations and compares regular tax as determined from standard tables with income averaging and alternative minimum tax for extended periods. The program also determines the amount of tax shelter loss needed to achieve particular tax reduction goal. System: IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: $295 Manufacturer: Quadram Corporation 4355 International Blvd. Norcross, GA 30093 (404) 923-6666 Tax Planning and Preparation Bottomline Tax

Devised as a management tool for lay people and professional preparers, Bottomline Tax is a planning and preparation program that can be used to train or update individuals in federal income tax requirements. Tax returns can be prepared by correlating the information from various schedules or in a batch mode in which the data are entered and the computer calculates the tax, prints the tax return, and automatically posts the data to the correct schedules. Menu-driven with 12 categories that prompt the user for data entry, the program can create a new tax record, copy an existing record for modification, or call up a record for analysis of financial decisions. A forecasting capability allows the user to minimize future tax liability. A tutorial, which provides examples, specific summaries, and tax planning suggestions, is included. Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, SE, W, R, R&P, 1040 System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, CP/M, Apple IIe, Tandy Model III,4 Price: $295 Manufacturer: Venture Software 16200 Ventura Blvd. Encino, CA 91436 (818) 986-4110 Income Tax Spreadsheet

The BNA Income Tax Spreadsheet is specifically designed for professional tax planners involved in tax planning and tax compliance work, including CPAs, tax attorneys, financial planners, public accountants, commercial tax preparers, and IRS agents. Using an electronic spreadsheet format, it automatically calculates tax liability over a seven-year period for all categories of individuals and fiduciaries. It includes income averaging, alternative minimum tax, and automatic indexing. Multiple year or multiple projections can be performed simultaneously. Help messages display reference to IRS codes. System: 192K IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: $495 Manufacturer: BNA Software 1231 25th St. Washington, DC 20037 (202) 452-4453 J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax

This comprehensive tax planning and preparation software supplements the famous tax guides from the Lasser Tax Institute. The program opens with a questionnaire to determine which forms and schedules must be filled out and then replicates the appropriate forms on the screen. On-screen help is cross-referenced to paragraphs in the tax guide. Windowing techniques provide instant access between forms. Automatic saving of information and a four-function calculator are part of the program. A copy of J. K. Lasser's Your Income Tax is included.

A companion program, J. K. Lasser's Your Money Manager, is a tax record keeping program. Expenses and other financial information stored over the course of a year can be downloaded into the tax program. Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, SE, W, R, 1040, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4562, 4625, 4684, 4797, 5695, 6251 System: IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: Your Income Tax, $79.95; Your Money Manager, $89.95 Manufacturer: Simon & Schuster 1230 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 (212) 245-6400 PC/Taxcut

Incorporating both tax planning and preparation, PC/Taxcut tax planner calculates and print 21 tax forms and schedules, producing a complete tax return, ready to sign and file. It features the ability to produce a variety of reports, automatic limitations on IRAs, handling of depreciation, separation of tax items, optional state sales tax table, and support for PC-DOS pathnames. The program calculates the alternative minimum tax, rents and royalties, business expenses, energy credit, rollover of gain on the sale of residence, capital loss carry-forward, dual-earner deduction, and all-savers certificate interest exclusion. Newly updated for 1984/1985, it is suitable for year-round tax planning. Forms: W, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, SE, 1040, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4562, 4797, 4952, 5695, 6251 System: 128K IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: $195 Manufacturer: Best Programs, Inc. 5134 Leesbury Pike Alexandria, VA 22302 (703) 931-1300 (800) 368-2405 Personal Planner

Designed to calculate personal tax liabilities for 1983 through 1986, Personal Planner by CP Aids combines calculation of income tax liabilities with investment and financial planning. To help consumers minimize income tax liability, the program projects income into the future and shows the long-term implications of current financial decisions. Storing up to four different sets of assumptions about an individual's financial status, the program prints out two reports: one showing the comparison between years and one showing the comparison between the different options. Forms include 1040 cross-referencing, itemized deductions, interest/dividends, capital gains, income averaging, self-employment, joint filing status, 4972, special 10-year averaging, and 6251 alternative minimum tax. Forms: A, B, C, D, G, SE, W, 1040, 4972, 6251 System: Apple II, IBM PC, DEC Rainbow, CP/M Price: $49 Manufacturer: CPA Aids, Inc. 1061 Fraternity Circle Kent, OH 44240 (216) 678-9015 Personal Tax Planner

A tax planning and preparation template for Lotus 1-2-3 and Symphony, the Personal Tax Planner includes federal forms which are updated twice annually, in September for latest law changes in year-end planning and in January for conversion to new tax forms. Also available are state tax forms by region--states are grouped into Eastern, Central, and Western. To explore various tax possibilities, the program automatically recalculates data to perform a running series of "what its." Macros and help are included on the disk, and functions have been subdivided into six separate menus. Forms: A, B, C, D, E, G, SE, W, 1040, 2106, 2441, 3468, 4562, 6251 System: Lotus 1-2-3 (256K), Lotus Symphony (512K) Price: $75 Updates: With September version, the January version is at "reproduction and distribution cost." Annual updates at 60% of retail. Manufacturer: Permar & Associates 1125 Sunnyhills Rd. Oakland, CA 94610 (800) 443-0100 Quick-Look Tax Planner

For accountants, this recently updated planning program can project 1984 and 1985 tax liabilities and print reports for investment interest expense deduction, special 10-year averaging method, income averaging, and alternative minimum tax. In addition, it applies an index of 1.0425 per code section 1(f) to the 1985 tax rates, tax tables, exemptions, and zero bracket amount. Quick-Look also provides mandatory itemizers, a limit for general business credit, and an automatic computation of taxable amounts of unemployment compensation and Social Security received. Forms: G, W, SE, 1040, 4952, 4972, 6251 System: IBM PC Price: $495 Manufacturer:

Management Control Systems 230 Peachtree St., NW Atlanta, GA 30042 (404) 522-2383 TaxCalc Tax Planner

A tax planning template for a variety of popular spreadsheets, including Lotus 1-2-3, Symphony, Framework, VisiCalc, SuperCalc, Multiplan and Report Manager, the TaxCalc Tax Planner works out local and national returns simultaneously. Using the on-screen information form, the program calculates data by line number for Form 1040, Schedules D and G, form 4972 with 10-year averaging provision, and alternative minimum tax. Local templates, which follow appropriate state or city forms, are available for Arizona, California, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, Minnesota, New York, and New York City. TaxCalc Tax Planner features the ability to scroll the screen and review an addition to the input without searching for categories, the use of a spreadsheet window to watch the effect of "what ifs," and graphic capabilities with Lotus 1-2-3, SuperCalc 3 and VisiCalc IV. Forms: D, G, 1040, 4972 System: 128K IBM PC, MS-DOS, Apple, Tandy, CP/M, CP/M-86 Price: $150; state templates $50 each, except CA, NY, and NYC, $100 Manufacturer: TaxCalc Software, Inc. 4200 South Hulen Fort Worth, TX 76109 (817) 732-7307 Tax Command Planner

Designed for end-of-year tax planning, Tax Command Planner simultaneously explores six different strategies for periods of up to five years to compare taxes from year to year. The program shows methods of depreciating equipment, whether to sell stock, and how to make contributions at the lowest cost. Any input number can be changed and recalculations are automatic. The user can enter data manually or use a return prepared by Tax Command, a sister program for tax preparation. Tax Command is a simple computation program geared for casual and novice computer users to be used at home or professionally. In addition, Practical Programs offers Tax Command Professional with the added ability to print on forms using overlays. Both preparation programs perform income averaging, calculate capital gains, and use current tax tables. Forms: A, D, G, 1040 System: Tax Command Planner and Tax Command Professional, IBM PC, MS-DOS, Apple II, and C64; Tax Command C64, Atari, and TRS-80 Color Computer Price: Tax Command, $24.95; Tax Command Planner and Tax Command Professional: IBM PC, $99.95; Apple II, $79.95; C64, $49.95. Manufacturer: Practical Programs, Inc. P.O. Box 93104 Milwaukee, WI 53203 (414) 278-0829 Tax Computation

Developed by a professional accountant, Tax Computation is a tax preparation program that simulates an interview with a tax accountant. Thus, users do not have to know in advance which deductions they want and are qualified for. For example, the program may determine that a user is eligible for deductions for moving, earned income credit, babysitting, employee expenses, or self-employment earnings not taxed by Social Security. The $29.95 version includes nine forms in detail, while the professional version has 16 forms. Both versions have built-in calculators and will print IRS acceptable forms on a Commodore printer. The forms also appear on the screen so users can copy data to the appropriate forms. Forms: A, B, C, G, R, SE, W, 1040, 2210; Pro version adds D, 2106, 2119, 2441, 3903, 4562, 6251 System: C64; disk drive; printer. Price: $29.95; Pro version, $95 Updates: Annual; $15; pro version, $75 Manufacturer: K. R. Rullman Company 4550 SW Murray, #81 Beaverton, OR 97005 (503) 641-4610 TaxMode

An easy to use tax planning program, TaxMode is tailored for people who earn a diversified and changing income and want to project and analyze the effects of investments on their taxes. The program calculates federal personal income taxes and allows for income averaging, working couple deductions, capital gains, Social Security taxes, itemized deductions, Alternative minimum tax, and tax credits. Although Schedule C form for income and expenses from a sole proprietorship is not included, TaxMode does provide a category for business income and investment credit. The program also has an inflation index, a Scratch Pad Calculator, and a user's manual with clear and thorough instructions. Forms: A, D, E, G, SE, W, 1040, 1951, 1972, 6251 System: 128K IBM PC, MS-DOS, 48K Apple II; 64K CP/M systems Price: $295 Manufacturer: Sawhney Software 888 7th Ave. New York, NY 10106 (212) 541-8020 Tax Planner

A comprehensive, stand-alone program Tax Planner provides "what if" tax planning applications and allows the interfacing of tax planning with actual tax preparation. Designed for professional tax preparers, the program can compare alternate years or multiple assumptions per year. Tax tables are defined for four years, and four different assumptions can be compared on a yearly basis. Featuring a built-in calculator, the planner computes Schedule G, 4972 and 6251, with supplemental calculations for Schedule 2119, investment interest computation, and charitable contribution limits. A partnership input module is provided for developing effective tax strategies and financial forecasting. Professional printouts provide summary analysis and columnar comparisons. System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, and CP/M Price: $300 Manufacturer: CPAids, Inc. 1061 Fraternity Circle Kent, OH 44240 (216) 678-9015 Tax-Prep

A personal income tax template for both Lotus 1-2-3 and Multiplan spreadsheets, Tax-Prep is a combination tax planning and preparation program that offers professional tax consultants and CPAs a wide range of options, including multiple form selection, client letter templates, transparent overlay forms, and automatic data transfer among 22 IRS schedules and forms. The program also can be linked to other spreadsheet templates such as checkbook, ledger, and expense records, and includes crosscheck analysis to verify consistency between forms and records. It calculates income averaging and alternative minimum tax, and automatically selects the mode for lowest tax liability. As a tax planning aid, the program evaluates the effects of a tax shelter compared to a capital gain or loss, and allows the substitution of data to provide "what if" strategies. With fully accessible programming, the software can be customized by the user for particular applications. Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R, SE, W, 1040, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4562, 4684, 4797, 5695, 6251 System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, TRS-DOS, CP/M, Apple II, and Macintosh Price: $129.95 Manufacturer: EZ Ware Corporation 17 Bryn Mawr Ave. Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 (215) 667-4064 Tax Preparer

The Tax Preparer is a tax preparation and planning program that stores records of expenses, deductions and memos throughout the year, plans for next year with built-in projections to 1990, calculates current tax, and prints completed forms. Menu-driven with on-screen forms and a visible calculator, the program is designed to catch most common errors with automatic corrections and will sound a warning if the user tries to fill out a form for which he does not qualify. For the professional tax preparer, the program offers highspeed data entry, batch processing, batch printing, disk client catalogs, client pro-forma organizers, and automatic billing letters. In addition to instructions on how to run the software, the manual provides line by line detail for each IRS form and schedule, explains the newest tax law changes, and acts as a concise course in tax preparation. Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R, SE, W, 1040, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4562, 4797, 5695, 6251 System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, Apple II Price: Apple II, $250; IBM, $295 Updates: Annual; approximately $100 Manufacturer: HowardSoft 8008 Girard Ave., Suite 310 La Jolla, CA 92037 (619) 454-0121 Tax Preparer, Tax Planner

Created for the accountant and professional tax practitioner, the Tax Preparer package offers a federal program, an integrated state program, and a proforma application system. The programs offer several printing alternatives including plain paper with overlays, batch processing using preprinted continuous forms, and computer generated forms when applicable. The company also provides customized interview sheets for clients to supply tax information. Tax Planner interacts with state tax calculations for one-year projections and for developing tax strategy. State programs are available for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, with the company offering to write other state programs upon order. Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R&RP, SE, W, 1040, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2440, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4136, 4255, 4562, 4797, 4952, 4972, 56958 5884, 6251, 6252, 6765 System: MS-DOS and CP/M Price: Preparer, $750; State, $150; Planner, $200 Updates: Annual Manufacturer: Pencil Pushers United, Inc. 25 S. Greeley Ave. Chappaqua, NY 10514 (914) 238-9600 Tax Projection and Preparation Multi Pak

A collection of five applications programs that run with Lotus 1-2-3, the Tax Projection and Preparation Multi Pak is a comprehensive financial planning program combined with tax assistance and preparation. The five applications are personal income tax, personal budgeting, investment management, employee business expense, and credit card report. Presenting an on-screen facsimile of the tax form, the personal income tax module organizes tax preparation, performs all calculations, and automatically completes the 1040 form. The program features a quick tax and a full tax option, which allows either an immediate tax profile or an in-depth tax status to be generated based upon options built into the program. The other four applications in the collection are designed to organize the data necessary to file broad spectrum tax returns. Froms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, SE, W, 1040 System: IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: Multi Pak, $395; Personal Income Tax Module purchased individually, $99.95 Updates: Annual Manfacturer: Option Ware Incorporated Corporate Place Four Barnard Lane Bloomfield, CT 06002 (203) 243-2355 Tax Relief I, Tax Relief II

Micro Vision offers Tax Relief I for personal planning and preparation and Tax Relief II, with extended capabilities, for professionals. Both programs are menu-driven and automatically calculate alternative minimum tax, income averaging, self-employment tax, and deduction for married couples. Both include a depreciation module, line for line explanations of data entry sheets for year-round record keeping, and automatic re-calculations of the net effects of last-minute data changes. In addition to the computer generated substitute forms in IRS approved format that is printed by Tax Relief I, Tax Relief II also has batch printing and transparent overlays. Forms: A, B, C, D, E, G, R, W, SE, 1040, 2106, 2441, 3468, 4562, 5965, 6251 System: IBM PC, MS-DOS Price: Tax Relief I, $149; Tax Relief II, $399 Updates: Annual for both at 40% of retail price. Manufacturer: Micro Vision 145 Wicks Rd. Commack, NY 11725 (516) 499-4010 Tax Vision

Combining a spreadsheet and tax preparation and planning program, Tax Vision features an integrated set of templates of IRS forms and schedules that runs with Multiplan. Taxvision automatically transfers data entered to appropriate forms, recalculates tax based upon last-minute modifications, explores "what if" scenarios, and displays calculations and results. Users can create their own templates for check register, family budget, or ledger to record data year round and can manually prepare any forms or schedules not provided. Each template can be printed in

Irs acceptable format, with format, with Form 1040 printed directly on an official IRS form.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R, SE, W, 1040, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3903, 3468, 4562, 4684, 4797, 5695, 6251, 6252

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, Apple II, C64, CP/M

Price: $89

Updates: Annual; $36

Manufacturer: Vision Information Products, Inc. 5500 Atherton St. Long Beach, CA 90815 (213) 431-5284 Tax Wizard

A menu-driven, tax planning and preparation program geared for individuals and small business owners, Tax Wizard simulates IRS forms on a monitor line by line and calculates and organizes tax data. No tax advice is offered, but all forms are linked, showing, for example, the effects of selling one's home or stocks upon a tax base. Altering an entry recalculates all related items. Tax information can be transferred to facsimiles of government forms.

Form: A, B, C, D, E, G, W, SE, 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 4562, 2106, 2119, 2441, 3903, 3468, 4137, 4255, 5695, 6251

System; IBM and PCjr, MS-DOS,

Apple II, Macintosh, CP/M, C64

Price: $64.95

Updates: Annual at 50% of retail cost

Manufacturer: Gamma Productions, Inc. 817 Tenth St. #102 Santa Monica, CA 90403 (213) 451-9507 Volts

Especially for tax professionals with micros, Volts is a tax preparation and planning program featuring menudriven screen selection in which data are entered on screens that can be chosen randomly during the client interview; full-screen data entry that permits changes anywhere on the screen; and database structure that allows variable file length and applies data entered to every relevant screen. In addition, Volts provides diagnostic messages during the calculation phase that validate data when, for example, a deduction limit on an IRA is exceeded. This feature also prevents entering data for logically contradictory datafields. For instance, if a client has specified an individual return, joint return data fields are locked out. Up to nine different tax scenarios per client can be calculated and compared. Three different packages are offered: Volts I, Individual Package; Volts II, Professional Package; and Volts III, Partnership/Corporate.

Volts can print returns on continuous IRS forms, plain paper for use with transparent overlays, and IRS-approved substitute forms. Forms can be prepared individually or in batch mode. California state form is available, with other state packages planned.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R, SE, W, K, K-1, 1040, 1040A, 1040ES, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 1116, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2220, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4136, 4137, 4255, 4562, 4626, 4684, 4797, 4835, 4952, 4972, 5329, 5695, 6251, 6252

System: 128K IBM PC, MS-DOS

Price: Volts I, $500; Volts II, $1500; Volts III, $1000; California, $750

Updates: Annual at a "reasonable price."

Manufacturer: Hanover Software Systems 1344 East Katella Ave. Anaheim, CA 92805 (714) 385-1556 (800) 223-8385 (800) 874-9806 in CA Tax Preparation Easier Than 1-2-3 Tax Preparer

A macro-command application for Lotus 1-2-3, the Easier Than 1-2-3 Tax Preparer is visually oriented with calculations and totals changing onscreen in response to entered data. The tax preparation program continuously calculates a tentative tax using either the standard or the X,Y,Z tax tables, and automatically links all data entered on a federal form or schedule with other forms without re-entry. Command selection is based upon three letter keys and two menus, one listing the various forms and the second showing the required order of completion. Files are organized by client with the only limitations being the filenames and the necessity of keeping all records for a particular client on the same disk to allow linkage, "what if" scenarios, and income averaging. The program provides working copies of the 1040 and substitute copies of other forms, and prints directly on government forms.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, G, SE, W, 1040, 2106, 2106-2,5695

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS

Price: $175

Updates: Annual

Manufacturer: Professional Software Technology P.O. Box 269 Rockport, MA 01966 (617) 546-3494 Corp/84, Tax 84/CPA

A variety of programs has been combined into professional and corporate packages to cover a wide range of federal and state income tax applications. The Tax/84 segment is a set of programs for the preparation of individual tax returns for Form 1040 and supporting schedules. Individual programs collect information on interest and dividents, personal business, capital gains and losses, and rents, royalties and supplemental income. The Professional Package is designed for CPAs, individual tax preparers, and service bureaus, adding batch processing capability on continuous forms. Corp/84 is the basis for the Corporate Package that supplies the preparation and additional forms for corporate and small business applications. Taxstrat is a single program that can be used alone or in combination with the professional and corporate packages to calculate three options for a given set of conditions. Available states are New York, New York City, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Illinois.

Forms: Tax/84 CPA: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, SE, R & RP, W, 1040, 1040A, 2106, 2210, 2219, 2440, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4562, 4684, 4797, 4835, 5695, and 6251. Corp/84: A, C, D, E, F, J, K-1, K, L, M, L1, L2, D1120, 3468, 4562, 4797

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, CP/M

Price: Tax 84/CPA: $1000; Corp/84, $500; Taxstrat, $150; States, $200-$500

Updates: Annual

Manufacturer: Computer Technical Services of N.J. 825 North Broad St. Elizabeth, NJ 07208 (201) 353-5283 G & G 1040

Offered in a Professional Series that processes 33 IRS schedules and a Starter Series with 15 schedules, G & G 1040 is a tax preparation program that inputs to screens which match the selected IRS form. It makes all calculations and choices for the least tax consequences, offers 10-year averaging of all retirement distributions versus capital gains on part, plus alternative minimum tax, and includes optional state sales tax, excess FICA, earned income credit, income averaging, and underestimated penalties. Unlike the Starter Series, the Professional Series includes a batch computer/print mode and a depreciation module. The Professional Series also integrates with the following state income modules: New York, California, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota, Arkansas, and Colorado. If your state is not available, G & G will write the program for you when you purchase the Professional Series.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R, RP, SE, W, 1040, 1116, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2440, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4136, 4137, 4255, 4562, 4625, 4684, 4797, 4835, 4952, 4972, 5695, 5884, 5251, 6252

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, CP/M-80, CP/M-86

Price: Professional, $600; Starter, $250; state modules, $250 to $500

Updates: Annual; Professional, $300; Starter, $150

Manufacturer: G & G Software, Inc. 610 Park Blvd. Austin, TX 78751 (512) 458-5760 Lacerte Tax System

Aimed at CPAs and tax accounting professionals, the Lacerte Tax System package can produce six complete IRS returns an hour or will batch process more than 100 returns per day and will have all forms generated for both federal and state on plain white paper and in client order. While geared to the 1040 form, the 1120 corporation and 1065 partnership programs are available for federal returns as separate modules. In addition to federal returns, the company offers programs for 21 states, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Utah. All forms are generated on the Hewlett-Packard Laser Jet printer which the company markets separately for $3495.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R, SE, W, 1040, 1040ES, 1040X, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4255, 4562, 4797, 4972, 5695, 6251, 6252, most state equivalents.

System; IBM PC, MS-DOS, Tandy Models II and 2000, HP/50, DEC Rainbow 100 and 100+

Prices $2250

Manufacturer: Lacerte Microcomputer Corp. 3447 Atlantic Ave. Long Beach, CA 90807 (213) 595-0901 Master Tax, Standard Tax

For professional accountants, tax practitioners, and financial advisors, Master Tax is a tax preparation program that offers amortization and depreciation programs, overflow schedules, word processing, client instruction letter, fee schedules, and K-1 input screen. Data files transfer from year to year to provide a database that can be recalled annually, generate a pro-forma or tax organizer, and automatically choose the most advantageous tax method. A laser print option interfaces with microcomputers and laser printers without the need for hard disk storage. Preprinted, continuous forms, blank paper with overlays, and computer generated forms are standard features. The Standard Tax program is designed to meet the less sophisticated needs of the professional tax preparer, providing a comprehensive tax preparation process that includes some of the features of the Master Tax program. Standard Tax users who upgrade to Master Tax will have compatible data files for immediate expansion of client and form processing capability.

State programs with overflow schedules, editing functions, and batch printing are available for Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Prices range from $200 to $500.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R&RP, SE, WE, ES, 1040, 1116, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 2555, 3468, 3903, 3903F, 4136, 4137, 4255, 4562, 4684, 4797, 4835, 4952, 4972, 5695, 5884, 6251, 6252, Sales Tax Tables for Schedule A.

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, CP/M-80, and DEC Rainbow

Price: $1795; laser print option, $500

Manufacturer: CP Aids, Inc. 1061 Fraternity Circle Kent, OH 44240 (216) 678-9015 PC-Tax

Developed for professional tax preparers, PC-Tax presents a base system, Module A, with three separate modules that can be purchased individually. Module A prepares taxes for the 1040, A, and B, and stores returns with its Quik Tax Computation. It makes all secondary calculations required on returns, presents results on screen for inspection, and prints the complete return on plain computer paper with overlays or on pre-printed paper in an IRS-approved format. A type-bill function allows billing of clients. Additional forms and schedules are contained in Modules B, C, and D. One state form is available, California, with others planned.

Forms: Modules A--1040, A, and B; Moudle B--C, D, E, SE, and W; Module C--R, 2441, 3468, 4797, 5695; Module D--F, G, 2119, 4136, 6251, 2106, 2210

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, all major Tandy models

Price: Module A, $349; Module B, $189; Module C, $189; Module D, $239; entire system, $940; California, $395

Updates: Occur when IRS schedule changes.

Manufacturer: Contract Services Associates 706 S. Euclid Ananheim, CA 92802 (714) 635-4055 Professional Tax System

Automated, rapid in-house preparation of client tax returns is the purpose of the Professional Tax System, designed for CPAs, accounting firms, and tax preparation bureaus. Built-in reconciliation automatically reconciles taxpayer information to taxable income and maintains an audit trail to record changes to the return. The program tracks the status of a client's return while it is being processed, plans subsequent returns for clients, and offers three methods for printing tax forms. The manufacturer provides step-by-step documentation and a toll-free telephone support line for questions. Two state programs are available, Illinois and Florida, with other states promised.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R, SE, W, K-IP, K,IB, K-IS, 1040, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3468B, 3800, 3903, 4136, 4255, 4562, 4684, 4797, 4835, 4952, 4972, 5695, 5884, 6249, 6251, 6252, 1040ES

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS

Price: $150 for 1984 version.

Updates: Annual; $500

Manufacturer: BPI Systems 3423 Guadalupe Austin, TX 78705 (512) 454-4677 Series 1040

For professional tax preparers, Series 1040 displays IRS schedules on-screen, allows input of data, and then calculates and shows the results immediately. The program comes with the following automatic features: earned income credit calculation, taxable amount of unemployment and Social Security income, tax method comparison, excess Social Security tax withheld, client directory and telephone listing, cover letter, and a provision for mailing labels. Additionally, Series 1040 has a re-compute feature that chooses the desired screen and allows new information to be entered and automatically calculated. An abort feature permits interruption of a current job to switch to another client's data.

State forms are available for New York, including New York City, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont, with other state programs planned.

Printing options include preprinted forms, overlays, batch printing, and computer generated, IRS-approved forms, and schedules printed in IRS mailing order.

Forms: All lettered forms, 1040, 3648, 4562, 1040ES, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2440, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4136, 4137, 4255, 4562, 4684, 4797, 4972, 5695, 5884, 3800, 4835

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS

Price: Federal $100.50; States $395 to $795

Updates: Annual; 50% of the then-current cost. Updates within a year included with basic package.

Manufacturer: Calcu-Tec Computer Software 110 Hillside Ave. Springfield, NJ07081 (201) 467-3757 SofTax

The SofTax package provides three versions for federal income tax preparation. The Individual version, containing 20 1040 forms, is for people who prepare their own returns. The Preparer's version, containing 30 1040 forms and schedules, is for professionals who prepare forms and schedules for multiple clients. This version also offers batch printing, client bill/cover letters, and an organization form. The professional version includes everything in the Preparer's version and adds corporate, partnership, and trust returns.

In addition, SofTax now offers state packages which prepare individual and corporate returns. The following state programs are available, with the remaining states to be offered eventually: California, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, and Virginia. The state packages integrate with the federal forms.

Forms: Individual, A, B, C, D, E, F, R, SE, W, 1040, 1040A, 1116, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 4562, 4797, 5695, 6251. Preparer, all of the above plus 2555, 3468, 3800, 3903, 3903F, 4255, 4684, 4972, 6252, ES. Professional, all of the above plus K - 1 and corporate, partnership, and trust returns.

System: IBM PC, Apple II

Price: Individual, $199; Preparer's, $499; Professional, $850

Updates: Annual; Individual, $70; Preparer's, $150; Professional, $225

Manufacturer: Design Trends Ltd. 525 So. Washington St. Naperville, IL 60540 (312) 357-2664 (800) 243-4358 Software 1040, Plan 1040

Designed by CPAs for CPAs, Software 1040 is an award-winning tax preparation program that accommodates computer novices with strong after sales support. A videotaped training program is available along with a staff of CPAs, lawyers, and dataprocessors to answer questions by phone. First time users can key in data throughout the year and add updated information during the tax season. By applying current tax regulations to the previous year's income tax data, a proforma is generated that both creates an audit trail for accountants and provides a "what if" scenario for future tax situations. Forms are enclosed to show prior year data with blanks for clients to fill in for the current year. All state forms are available, except Hawaii, which will be included by next tax season. Returns are produced through batch processing and preprinted forms. For professional and individual tax planning, 1040 Software, Inc. also offers Plan 1040, which can be used as a stand-alone package or integrated with Software 1040.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, 1040, 1116, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4136, 5255, 4562, 4684, 4797, 4798, 4835, 4868, 4952, 4972, 5695, 6249, 6251, 6252, 1065

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS

Price: Federal, $1800; states, $400; Plan 1040, $150

Manufacturer: 1040 Software, Inc. 10 Nevada Dr. P.O. Box 1010 New Hyde Park, NY 11042 (516) 775-5566 Swiftax

Swiftax is a federal income preparation program with full prompting that guides the user with explanations of tax laws and instructions about which forms to file and which items need to be reported. A special backup feature produces extra copies of information, which can be printed on tax forms provided by the manufacturer. Swiftax also features an automatic check of tax alternatives, computation of the lowest amount of income tax that can be paid, and a Taxpayer File that allows changes to be made later. Amortization schedules with yearly principal and interest payments are included.

Forms: A, B, C, D, G, W, SE, 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ

System: C64, Atari 800, Apple II, IBM PC, PCjr, MS-DOS

Price: C64 and Atari 800, $49.95; Apple II, IBM PC, PCjr, MS-DOS, $69.95

Updates: Annual

Manufacturer: Timeworks 444 Lake Cook Rd. Deerfield, IL 60015 (312) 948-9200 (800) 323-9755 Taxaid

Specializing in Commodore computer tax programs, Taxaid Software has updated its Taxaid for the new Plus/4. Designed for home use, Taxaid is menu driven, has editing features for making revisions at any time when entering data, and has a manual that leads the user step by step through the data entry process. All tax tables, including income averaging, are built in; calculations are automatic; and any IRS form 1040 can be prepared with the results displayed on monitor or printer.

Forms: A, B, C, G, W, 1040, 2441

System: C64, Plus/4

Price: $29.95

Updates: Annual

Manufacturer: Taxaid Software, Inc. 606 Second Ave., SW Two Harbors, MN 55616 (218) 834-5012 (218) 834-3600 Taxexec

A complete tax preparation program for individuals and professionals, Taxexec features single question and answer messages, audit trails, and an automatic data verification and limit test that insures accuracy by producing an error if, for example, a deduction limit is exceeded. State returns that integrate with the federal form are available for Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, and California, with the remaining state returns planned.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R, RP, SE, w, 1040, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4136, 4255, 4562, 4684, 4797, 4835, 5695, 6251

systeem: CP/M, IBM PC, MS-DOS

Price: Federal program, $995; state program, $500

Updates: Annual; federal, $250; state, $150

Manufacturer: Micro Information Systems, Inc. Richardson, Rt. 309 Richardson Rd. Montgomeryville, PA 18936 (215) 855-2700 Tax Manager

For individuals and small business operators, Tax Manager is a tax preparation program that determines which forms to file and which deductions to make by posing a series of questions to the user. Hence, the program can be used by novices in both tax preparation and computer use. Tax Manager checks addition and subtraction calculations, ensures that data are entered in the correct lines, and catches inconsistencies and deduction errors. A change in one figure automatically changes related figures, enabling inspection of alternative tax situations. Printing can be done through continuous feed on IRS-approved forms.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, SE, W, R, 1040, 1040EZ, 1040ES, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4797, 5695, 6251

System: Atari, C64, Apple II, Macintosh, IBM PC and PCjr

Price: Atari and C64, $75; Apple II and Macintosh, $180; IBM PC and PCjr, $250

Updates: Annual; $30

Manufacturer: MicroLab 2699 Skokie Valley Rd. Highland Park, IL 60035 (312) 433-7550 Tax Return Helper

A tax preparation program, Tax Return requires no prior knowledge of programming or tax preparation to use, according to the manufacturer. The program allows data to be entered and modified on a screen copy of a form or schedule, updates all lines affected by a singlle change, correlates Form 1040 and Schedule A, and displays tax tables and rate schedules for every filing status. A database is included in the disk version to build files of tax related records that can be used year round.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, G, W, 1040, 2441

System: C64

Price: Cassette, $23; disk, $33

Manufacturer: K Soft Co. 845 Wellner Rd. Naperville, IL 60540 (312) 961-1250 1040 Plus

A Federal tax preparation program for the professional preparer, 1040 Plus offers a modular approach to building a professional service package as well as a VHS video demonstration tape to illustrate the mechanics of the program. The video tape shows the installation of the program, selection of forms and schedules, data entry and screen handling, and the printing of tax returns on federal forms. The partial package purchase program allows small service bureaus to tailor applications to specific client needs in personal income tax preparation. The program also features multiple schedule operations with the accumulated totals automatically entered on the 1040. A state form is available for Arizona with other states planned.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, R, & RP, SE, W, 1040, 1040A, 1040X, 1040ES, 2106, 2119, 2210, 2441, 3468, 3903, 4562, 4797, 4972, 5695, 6251, 6252

system: IBM PC and compatibles, MS-DOS, and CP/M

Price: Short Set, 1040, A, B, $75; Other schedules and forms, $25. Complete federal: $550. Arizona: $50.

Updates: Annual. 60%-75% of retail price.

Manufacturer: 1040 Plus 6730 E. McDowell Rd. #103 Scottsdale, AZ85257 (602) 941-3407 The Tax Advantage

A tax preparation program, The Tax Advantage is designed to be easy to use. It displays the necessary keystrokes for entering data at the bottom of the screen and offers explanations of all questions on the forms and schedules at the Help key command. The program includes income averaging; itemizing of wages, deductions, and assets; and computing of alternative minimum tax. With the exception of the 1040, information can be printed directly onto the IRS forms. By interfacing the program with The Home Accountant, a database also by Arrays, Inc./Continental Software, a user can transfer and automatically enter financial data in applicable forms and schedules.

Forms: A, B, C, D, E, G, SE, W, 1040, 6251, 2106, 2441, 4562

System: IBM PC, MS-DOS, Apple II, C64, Atari

Price: S69.95

Updates: Annual

Manufacturer: Arrays, Inc./Continental Software 11223 South Hindry Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90045 (213) 410-3977

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