Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

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Tax Spreadsheets?

Posted by taxguru on March 10, 2007

Q:

Subject: Form 1040 & Other Estate Related Spreadsheets
 
Kerry,
 
I have browsed your 1040 Tax spreadsheet many years with interest.  I have recently been given the responsibility of preparing tax forms as an executor of an estate.  I have tried to find an EXCEL spreadsheet fhat addresses Form 1041, Depreciation, and other related forms and schedules.  Do you have any or know where I might look?  Any place I might get  assistance with questions regarding estate related taxes.  Every one seem to skirt the subject and tells me I need to consult a Tax Specialist or Lawyer.  That may be my only source.  How about it? 
 
Any spreadsheets for rental property management (inherited)?  I keep reading that Schedule E and other forms are made easier by using spreadsheets.  They must be out there somewhere?
 
Thanks for any help!

 

A:

I’m not sure what spreadsheets you are referring to because I don’t use any Excel sheets for tax return work. 

The absolute best way to prepare records for any kind of tax return is with everything entered into QuickBooks, with a Class set up for each schedule that does allow you to produce spreadsheet-like income statements with columns by Class. 

I have seen people try to set up Excel spreadsheets to do accounting; but they are much more work and much less reliable than what QB does automatically.  This is in addition to the fact that most home-made spreadsheets use very unreliable single entry accounting methods rather than proper good old double entry accounting that QB does automatically. 

Since you’ve never prepared a 1041 for this estate, you are taking an unnecessary risk by attempting to do this on your own.  There are too many variables to work with, starting with the choice of the estate’s fiscal year, for you to tackle this on your own.  As executor of the estate, you will be personally liable for any screw-ups you make; so the wisest move would be to use the services of a tax pro who has experience with 1041s to reduce your potential personal liability.

Any professional fees related to the settlement of the estate, including yours as executor, can be paid from the estate’s assets and deducted on the estate’s tax returns.  If you have to buy a copy of QB for this task, that cost would also be deductible by the estate.

These may not be the kinds of answer you were looking for; but they are the best I can provide.

Good luck.

Kerry Kerstetter

 

 

 

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