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Taxing Situation

It’s closing in on that oh-so-stressful time of year for U.S. residents when taxes are due. A number of notes regarding taxes have come in this last week, so we figured that we’d bundle them all together where U.S. residents can read them and everyone else can ignore them happily (unless for some reason you have to pay U.S. taxes as well).

Tax Forms Online — The Treasury Department has finally put up a Web server. Although this may not be inherently exciting, at least the IRS is doing something useful with it: they’ve put tax information and Adobe Acrobat (PDF) versions of recent federal tax forms online, including the infamous 1040s and their associated schedules. taxforms.html

Forms for the years 1990 through 1994 are available (with a searchable index) and the PDF versions of these forms can be printed and used like normal tax forms (with some exceptions due to special color-coding, including the 1040EZ and the 1099-FAMILY). Typical forms consume a little over 100K in PDF format, and can be viewed and printed with the Acrobat Reader, also available from the Treasury Department site. acroread.html

In addition, S-Cubed (a division of Maxwell Laboratories, Inc.) maintains the Taxing Times Web service, where they plan to make PostScript versions of tax forms available. Although the site is still under construction (and they don’t yet have 1994 forms online) they do have tax forms from some states, plus links to public domain tax software, Canadian Tax forms in Excel format, and the entire U.S. tax code. Thanks to Chris Habig <chabig%[email protected]> for some of this information. [GD]

Sandro Menzel <[email protected]> writes:

MacInTax users might want to check their MacInTax disks early. Last year I put off doing my taxes (and installing MacInTax) until the fifteenth of April only to find that one of my install disks was bad. Ouch!

Arthur C. Dechene <[email protected]> writes:

I just discovered a potentially serious bug in MacInTax version 94.0 (HeadStart Version – created 14-Nov-94, 1:29 AM, modified 14-Nov-94, 2:46 PM). It affects anyone who

  • is self-employed and has to file schedule C, and
  • has more than 29 items of income itemized.

MacInTax will drop the 30th item on every itemization page (one page in MacInTax holds 30 items, so if you have 70 items, it will drop two, and so on).

I discovered this by comparing a printout of my sales commissions from Quicken 5 with the total amount of income listed on schedule C line 1. It was off by exactly the 30th amount in the Quicken printout. I called Intuit and their tech support person, who was otherwise very helpful, was unaware of the problem. I called back and he told me he had spoken to their programmers and they are aware of it.

I would guess it is too late to keep the bug out of the final version of MacInTax; it will probably require a bug-fix release. Thus, I strongly recommend that if you use itemizations at all, double-check your calculations to be on the safe side. This bug would have caused me to underpay by $300.

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