Hardest part about doing taxes


The hardest part about doing my taxes: which calculator do I use? Totalling deductions seems best done on an HP-97. But for routine calculations, do I use an HP-25? 19C? 32S? Maybe a business calculator? It's so confusing. The IRS website gives no guidance for this at all.


I had the same dilemma - ultimately I choose my 42S and leveraged the infra-red printing so that I had a ticket for each category.


They've made it too complicated, so I haven't done my own in years. It takes me more than a whole day to prepare everything to take to the accountant.


LOL! All I'm doing IS preparing everything to take to the accountant... and it does take all day!


Hi, Doc;

and Yep, we have the same problem here in Brazil. And I gave up computing our equivalent to the IRS about five/six years ago. Now I just press [R/S] in the accountant´s keyboard...


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 20 Feb 2010, 10:02 p.m.


I usually use tax preparation software, but for short calculations, I usually reach for a financial calculator (12c, 17b).


To start doing them ... ;-))

Seriously: Spreadsheets because of documentation.

Best regards,

Peter A. Gebhardt

Edited: 20 Feb 2010, 7:04 p.m.


Though the tax calculation procedure here in Croatia is a bit complicated, each year in February I implement the same approach: I download the Excel spreadsheet from the site of Erste bank, fill the data in, print it out and save it into a zip file for the next year.

They at Erste Bank always prepare the actual sheet taking into account possible changes of regulations during the year and the printed spreadsheet looks exactly like the paper form that other people use and fill manually. I only have to sign it and to send it to the local office of Tax administration.

Next year, I copy/paste the most data from the previous year sheet.


There has to be a role for an HP calculator in this process somewhere. Maybe to double check the spreadsheet? I don't trust them computers.


Yes, it is essential to double check the output (spreadsheet figures) by my wife's HP12C (btw, dr Mike, she is your colleague, but a pediatrician).

From time to time it happens that the original form is stupid and
requires you to enter the same figure (e.g. life insurance premium) into two different cells in the spreadsheet. Normally, the actual calculation can take only one of them into account. You do not know which one. It is the best practice to go through the output manually (meaning with a HP calculator), to help you check the figures mentally.

The main advantage of the spreadsheet is the possibility of "what if". You replace one expense with a zero and see what happens.

However, the spreadsheet is useful as
it produces the filled form you have only to print into pdf,
and file both the xls and pdf versions together.


A 200LX, of course. Huge screen, Lotus 1-2-3, Pocket Quicken, a financial calculator that rivals even the 19BII in functionality...


I used a 97 calculator for the first pass, then for the different sections, used a 17bii and 82240B printer- It's a little faster and has the TVM calculations at hand if needed. The 42s is also an excellent Idea- saw that above.

Lastly, I double checked the math on my HP 30b.




I have done my own taxes for sixty years. All that I have ever needed is a four-banger calculator, a pen, some scratch paper, the appropriate forms, the appropriate instructions, and the ability to read and follow the instructions. It really isn't that hard. I could probably do it using a chisel and stone tablet if I really had to.


I wound up using my HP-48G+. I could have just as well used the 49g or 50g. The only reason for these and not a simple scientific or 4-banger is that it's nice to have a bunch of stack levels visible at the same time without having to store the figures in a variable or a register and then having to recall them. And, the 48, 49, and 50 series machines have an "infinite" stack.


I love all the feedback... as you know, I wasn't being entirely serious. If I use all of my calculators, can I claim them all as deductions for business equipment? I should be able to claim them as dependents (They are my babies)!


I got your tongue and cheek tone; but I had to admit that my taxes were ever so bit delayed due to the dilemma of what calculator to use. In theory, the 17BII had to be the right choice, but I the elegance of the 42S won. The biggest decision was whether to sacrifice the full stack of the 48G.

So, yes I got your humor, but was nevertheless trapped in the same scenario....


Turbotax grabs your dats from previous years, can download from Scottrade or Citibank. Used it for years, no hassle. Sam


I need a calculator just to prepare my taxes to give to the accountant!

Which one to use is certainly a dilemma and it took years to figure out the best solution for me: a 17BII with 82240B printer.


Dear, are an Italian citizen resident in Como (nearby Milan) and I
have a HP 97 calculator purchased in 1980. For 2 years more to read
cards; can't (do not enter into the slot). (The probable problem in
your calculator is a damaged transport wheel inside
the card reader).
Everything works perfectly. I do
not know where address repair not having any address where address. I tried
shops in Palo Alto, but did not have a proper address. I ask you if you are
able to provide me with an address where I can address and that it is

Thank you in advance one awaiting your reply.



try www.fixthatcalc.com

Your HP97 will be in very good hands.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 21 Feb 2010, 11:19 a.m.


Gentile Luiz C. (Brasil)

Obrigado por darem fornecido o endereço do fixthatcalc.com

Agora eu tinha perdido esperanças para poder reparar minha HP 97.

Já me contatou a empresa e na aparência próxima poucos dias uma resposta.

Obrigado novamente

Gian Carlo Caratelli


Gian Carlo,
ad integrazione del post precedente, vorrei aggiungere che il mio intervento è puramente gratuito, escluse le spese di rispedizione, e può interessare anche la modifica del sistema di trascinamento della spampante, che dopo svariati anni smette di funzionare correttamente.
Garantisco il massimo della serietà.

Un saluto



Hi, Gian Carlo;

I do not write in Italian so I cannot answer you in your tongue as you cordially did in mine, sorry! But Portuguese knowledge allows me to understand and agree with Ignazio. If the problem is related to the traction parts, replacement by a new, working part is not hard. And Ignazio has shown us here more than the necessary skills to perform this sort of repair, it is a good idea to take this opportunity mostly because you are both in the same country. Post charges and delivering period will be smaller, no doubts about.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 21 Feb 2010, 7:23 p.m.


Ciao Luiz,
ti ringrazio molto per le tue parole.

Saluti dalla Sardegna ai cugini brasiliani.



Hi Dania,
I live near you in Italy and I can help you with your beloved HP-97. Let me know at my mail address ignaziocara(at)tiscali(dot)it.




This year, I will be using a HP30b :)


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