Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 9 / APRIL 1990



START's 1989 Federal Tax Templates


It's time once again to file those tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. On your START disk is a template for use with LDW Power. If you have the program and 1MB of memory or more, you're all set to get your return filed accurately and on time.

April 15 isn't far off, but help is on the way in the file TAX89.ARC on Side 1 of your START disk.

Tearing your hair out doing your taxes? Almost ready to hire a CPA? Before you go bald or broke, try loading our 1989 Tax Templates into the LDW Power spreadsheet program. These templates will help you prepare the following forms for 1989:

  • Form 1040 (Long Form)

  • Schedule A (Itemized Deductions)

  • Schedule B (Interest and Dividend Income)

  • Schedule C (Self Employment Income)

  • Schedule D (Capital Gains)

  • Schedule E (Supplemental Income Schedule)

  • Schedule SE (Social Security Tax)

  • Form 2106 (Employee Business Expenses)

  • Form 2119 (Sale of Home)

  • Form 3903 (Moving Expenses)

Getting Started

START's 1989 Tax Templates require an ST or Mega with at least 1MB of memory; LDW Power from Logical Design Works; your 1989 Form 1040 and Instructions; and your START disk.

For further tax assistance there are a number of books available at bookstores and newsstands or you can pick up a free copy of Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, from the IRS. You may also want to have a printer connected to your ST, so that you can print out your completed templates.

To get started, boot this month's START disk; the START menu program runs automatically. At the main screen, click on Prepare, then select "1989 Tax Templates." The spreadsheet will un-ARC directly onto the destination disk you specify. Included within the same directory is an ASCII-text READ_ME file that lists all the forms used and where they're located within the template.

Now, start up LDW Power . Load in 89TAX.LDW and you're ready to begin.

Spreadsheets and Taxes

Each piece of information is entered in a spreadsheet cell--similar to the lines and columns on your tax forms. We've already derived and included the formulas you'll need. If your data changes (you find another stack of receipts, for instance) go to the appropriate location, change the number there to the correct figure and the relevant portions of your tax return will be recalculated.

Many different taxpayers can use the same tax template. For example, you can save your own template out to disk under the name MYOWN.LDW and then reload the blank template for your brother to use. He can then save his to disk under the name BROTHER.LDW, and your aunt can then use the blank template.

Keep your IRS Forms and Instructions booklet nearby while you're preparing your taxes. While we have identified every line on the template with the line number from the forms, we couldn't include all of the notes, references and cautions on the original forms. You'll need the instructions to decide how to treat some of your income and expenses.

If you need to complete forms that are not a part of this template, you'll have to complete them manually and then transfer your figures from them into the spreadsheet. The program and template can take over from there.

You'll have to compute your own tax; we just couldn't include all of the Tax Tables and Tax Rates without ballooning the size of the template. Once you complete Form 1040 down to Line 37, Taxable Income, follow the instructions from the IRS to calculate your tax and enter it on Line 38.

When you complete your template and arrive at a correct figure for Line 63 or Line 65, save your template to disk! Then, follow the instructions that came with your spreadsheet program to print out a copy. LDW Power comes with a utility that lets you print spreadsheets sideways, enabling you to fit wider printouts on a page. See the appendices to the LDW Power manual for directions. Remember that the IRS will not accept your printed spreadsheet in lieu of completed forms; you'll have to manually copy the figures onto your official return.

As with any complex and important project, be sure to save your work often and examine your results with great care. If something doesn't look right, check your figures carefully and if you can't find any errors, seek the advice of a professional tax preparer. The most common errors reported by the IRS are incorrect data entry and arithmetic errors. To the extent possible, we've included formulas that will make correct calculations, but you're responsible for entering your information correctly. (Editor's Note: START cannot be held responsible for any mistakes that might be made in your tax calculations as a result of using this template.)

Good luck! And remember: tax avoidance is not a crime, but tax evasion is!

Andrew Reese is special Graphics Editor for START and a former attorney and tax preparer. Tom Chandler is a Certified Public Accountant in the San Francisco Bay Area.


LDW Power, $149.95. Logical Design Works, Inc., 780 Montague Expressway, Suite 205, San Jose, California 95131, (408) 435-1445.