Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

January 1999

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By: Herb Anderson

I had been using TurboTax tax preparation software for 9 years and am using OS/2 for my 7th year. TurboTax de-emphasized their DOS version by 'popular demand'. I always found their Windows versions to be buggy, difficult to print forms, and bloated with unnecessary items on the screen. So I have been interested in electronic Tax Return alternatives. Since OS/2 does not have a native program, as far as I know, I heard of AM-Tax and downloaded a demo. Subsequently, I purchased the registered version.

The Federal Tax Preparation program compressed files are on one 3+-in. HD floppy disk and requires DOS 3.0 or later. It is y2k ready where all dates must be entered with a four-digit year.


Install is quick and easy. I inserted the program disk in drive a:, read the readme.1 file and double clicked on install.exe. The installation steps were easy. I used the OS/2 Add Programs feature and the program icon is in my Taxed applications folder. There is no mouse support. You have to use the PgUp or PgDn keys to move from screen to screen.

Main Menu in a DOS window

The first page of the 1040 Form which is a personal information section

A page from the 1040 Form overlaid with the Help Menu which a part of lists the 26 supported State Income Tax Returns.

To familiarize new users, there is a "Ten-Minute" tour of AM-Tax

There is no financial program tax data import feature, but I always prefer to manually enter my data. If you used AM-Tax last year, some of that data can be transferred to this year's form. There is no interview feature. You are expected to be a bit familiar with income forms and go to the worksheets and schedules to enter data. There is a pop-up calculator. The key combination Alt-k gives over 100 checks, looking for omissions, errors, and inconsistencies. It results in an audit report.

The 1040 version includes 78 Forms and Schedules. Numerous worksheets, a "Notepad", and comments are available. There are a number of function keys. They include Help, Save, Recalc, Return (to previous selections), Supplemental (files or documents), Menu etc. They are available through various F1, F2, etc. keys. There is a Professional 1040 designed for Professional Tax Preparers which has some more forms. That includes the 1040X. It seems to me that the 1040X should in the standard program.

So far, printing is not a problem. I easily printed a worksheet with my HP DeskJet 692C defining it as HP DeskJet 600C . They recommend that a laser printer is used. Other printers might not satisfactorily print the 'official-looking format' and even so the printing of that form could take up to 10 minutes. Some state forms that contain bar-codes may not be accepted unless a true laser printer is used.

Electronic filing is done through Neloc PEF, an approved IRS transmitter. The software can be ordered through AM Software.

URL link is
AM Software
P.O. Box 25010
Kansas City, MO 64119
Order (800)859-8537
Support at

Federal Return Early Bird plus Final Return $49
Federal Return Final Only due by Jan 25 $39
State Return for 26 states due by Jan 25 $29
Shipping & handling $5
Expedited Delivery Extra
Neloc PEF $19

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