Excel1040 Free Spreadsheet-Based Tax Software

Blurred image of an Excel spreadsheet with data

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If you ever wished you could just do your taxes in Excel then you're in luck. Tax calculator creator Glenn Reeves developed Excel spreadsheets to prepare Form 1040 and related schedules back in the mid-1990s. 

Reeves has produced spreadsheet versions of Form 1040 for the years 1996 through 2017. As of the 2015 tax year, Reeves offers a full 1040 version in the .xlsx format that supports Schedules A, B, C, D, E, F, and SE. It also supports Forms 2441, 6251, 8949, 8959, 8960 and 8962. 

New Additions 

While Reeves updates and tweaks his custom Excel template every year, the most significant changes since 2015 include:

  • An added sheet for line 66 which is the earned income tax credit
  • An added sheet (Form 2555) for foreign earned income
  • A student loan interest deduction worksheet for line 33 on Form 1040
  • A mortgage insurance premiums deduction worksheet for line 13 on your Schedule A

How the Excel Tax Software Works 

The spreadsheets are organized with tabs that allow you to enter data from your Form W-2s, Form 1099s and Forms SSA-1099. Tabs for Form 1040 appear after these data input screens, then there are tabs for other supporting forms arranged in alphabetical order beginning with Schedule A. Data input cells are formatted with a blue background, and the spreadsheet updates its calculations after the date is entered. 

Each tax form is formatted in the spreadsheet to look like the paper version of the form, which makes the spreadsheet visually appealing and easy and familiar to work with. All the worksheets are password protected. Excel1040 is pretty fast and easy to use, especially if you're comfortable using spreadsheets and you're familiar with working manually with tax forms.

These spreadsheets are a useful and quick way to calculate federal income taxes but keep in mind, the Excel1040 is for Federal income tax returns only, so it won't help you much with your state returns. Reeves also offers a "lite" version of Excel1040 in the .xls format, but it does not include support for Schedules C, E, and SE, or Form 6251.

The Best Part 

The spreadsheets are offered free of charge, but donations can be made to support Mr. Reeves' work on his website. 

A Couple of Precautions

Reeves recommends checking your Excel results against the results obtained when you do your taxes the old-fashioned way with Internal Revenue Service forms and instructions, although the spreadsheet does include some error-checking prompts. Reeves can't guarantee that the IRS will accept printed versions of his Form 1040, and even he says he uses his Excel program first, then he transfers the information over to file his tax return online

You might want to try Excel1040 out before your taxes are due so you're savvy with the program when crunch time comes. If you're a spreadsheet lover and find the Excel 1040 helpful, then you'll want to check Reeves' website for updates and new features in upcoming tax years. Reeves can probably be counted on to continue tweaking his product. 

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