Tax Assistant for Excel is a set of Excel worksheets that assist users in completing their income taxes using forms 1040 or 1040A. We're not sure why a user would want to use Excel for taxes when there are so many programs and Web sites that are better-suited to the job, and functional problems in Tax Assistant for Excel make it even less attractive.
The workbook presents users with Excel versions of IRS forms and workbooks with an introductory page that's supposed to provide instructions. Unfortunately, we kept receiving error messages about macros (although we had enabled macros in Excel), and clicking the arrows to expand the instructions resulted in a message about protected sheets. Although we suppose it would be possible to complete our taxes using the workbook anyway--it does come with PDFs of the official IRS instructions--in the end, we just didn't see the point. There are plenty of programs and Web sites that will walk users through the tax preparation process, make sure that users maximize their refunds (or minimize their liabilities), and then file the tax return electronically. Excel is a comparatively low-tech way to prepare one's taxes, and though this program may have been a good idea in the days before electronic filing was available, it's all but obsolete now.
Tax Assistant has a 10-day trial period. It installs and uninstalls without issues. We do not recommend this program; there are many more-efficient ways to do your taxes.
Your sources of income, deductions, capital gain transactions as well as partnership and S corporation income are entered on separate worksheets. The data from these worksheets is then automatically entered into the correct forms. Tax Assistant for Excel helps you determine whether to itemize deductions, automatically calculates your tax and provides a computerized record of your tax filing. The program also provides an automated Schedule D and Form 8949 preparation that is especially helpful for active traders and other taxpayers with a large number of trades to report. The program allows you to easily enter or copy and paste your trades into the Capital Gains sheet and print out a Schedule D attachment as a substitute for preparing multiple Form 8949's, although the program will prepare up to 100 Form 8949's. In addition to the more common income reporting, you can report income from up to five different businesses, rents, royalties, estates and trusts, as well as income from partnerships and S corporations.