How to Use Your Computer to Print W2s and 1099s

I found a nifty little template which costs $9.95 and allows me to print to the IRS approved pre-printed W2s and 1099-MISCs.  It is well worth the cost to purchase this template so that I can use my computer and printer, rather than try and type each form with a typewriter.

I have been keeping the books for a small company owned by an elderly couple for going on five years.  One of my year end tasks is to type the W2 forms and my own 1099.  This year before I actually sat down and began the task I looked around on the Internet to see if there were any other options.

It seems everyone uses an electronic accounting program that produces or prints to the necessary forms. What about those of us without a big fancy electronic accounting program who only need to print out a few forms and don’t want to spend forty bucks?

I didn’t see any way past my old way of doing things which was to use my very old electric typewriter, a Royal Apollo 12-GT.

Every year I hope it will turn on and type for me.  And every year, like a dunce I wait until the last week of January to type the forms.   This year the ribbon isn’t doing well and it took me twenty minutes to type the two W2 forms, only to realize the ink is spotty and this may not go over well with the Internal Revenue Service.  I called Staples and Office Max and neither one of them could help me aside from suggesting I come into the store and bring the “cartridge” with me. Guys, it’s not a “cartridge” it’s a spool!!

Old Fashioned Spools
Old Fashioned Spools

They still want me to drive 30 miles in to bring the “cartridge” so they can see what it looks like.

I momentarily considered purchasing an inexpensive typewriter.  I even mentioned it to Mr. A who asked if it would be a business expense. I said it would, but eighty bucks (for the cheapies I’d seen) was still a lot of money to spend on a tool that was only going to be used one time a year.  Especially after I read the reviews on the eighty dollar typewriters, then I was really discouraged from taking that route.

Finally I called AJ, who was in town and he said he would be happy to see if he could find the ribbon for me.  I sent him a text message with a photo of the ribbon spools.

While he was looking, I went searching again on the Internet, trying to find an inexpensive solution. That’s when I came across Patrick Chisholm’s Accentance, Inc.  After all the stress I’d been through, it came as a great relief to find an reasonably priced Office Word Template that I could purchase which would allow me to use a more sophisticated piece of equipment – my printer! You can order the W2 forms template or the 1099-MISC forms template for $9.95 each. The transmittal sheet templates for the W3 and 1096 are included.

Please note:

  1. This product will not work with Word 97. It only works with Word 2003 and 2007.
  2. You must order the preprinted forms from the IRS, or pick them up at your local IRS.
  3. Be sure to follow the instructions included with the template download.
  4. If you have any issues, don’t hesitate to contact the seller, he is extremely helpful.

The W2 template

The IRS is very picky about Copy A.  You must use pre-printed forms from the IRS, or you can buy them (W-2 Tax Forms 2011 For Laser Printers).  This year my employer six part laser pack.  We usually put an order together in November from the IRS for any forms we’ll need between the two of us, and then the order from Amazon.   It took me only minutes to fill out the W2 forms and print them!

The 1099-MISC template

I had a bit more trouble with the 1099-MISC forms.  The problem was not the template itself; the cell positioning is quite good on the 1099-MISC.  The problem arose while printing.  We’d ordered 1099 Misc Laser Forms (4-Part) – we paid for them, but I believe they are the same thing you get free from the IRS.  Now my printer at work – a Brother MFC-8870DW Wireless Flatbed Laser All-in-One Printer handled the onion-skin paper with no problem at all.  (Thank goodness!)

Mr. Chisholm tells you to order the standard carbonless forms through the IRS, says to take them apart and feed through one sheet at a time.  The IRS pre-printed Copy A is regular weight paper, so it fed through without problem. Unfortunately, when I got to the carbonless copy sheets, which are like onion skin, I did not have very good luck.

At home I use an Old Workhorse of a printer, a Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 4. To tell you the truth I was afraid to send the onion skin sheets through it, for fear they were rip into shreds so I tried my son’s printer, an HP Photosmart C3180 All-in-One.  Unfortunately it crinkled up the onion skin beyond recognition.

Finally I had the idea to put a piece of tape at the very top of the onion skin copy and attached it to a piece of regular paper, and fed it through Old Workhorse.  That worked fairly well. The onion skin paper creased slightly as it went through but it will work fine. I ended up putting a small piece of tape at the top, bottom and sides which helped considerably, although I still had slight creasing.  Since these are the copies going to the state, employer and employee copies, I think they will be just fine.

ALSO, instead of tearing off the strips from both sides as suggested, I left the strip on the right side intact.  The IRS forms are 8 inches, where regular paper is 8 1/2.  If you leave one strip intact, the form is exactly 8 1/2 inches. You might need to test and see which side to leave the strip intact depending on your printer.  Old Workhorse hates to feed through manual feed so I had to use the drawer and didn’t have the option to use the printer’s edge guide (which is what Mr. Chisholm recommends after you tear off both strips).

The 1096 (1099 transmittal) template

Good, but the font is yellow.  Difficult to see on the screen and will not print correctly. For me it printed light grey. The template allows changes to font color so be sure you change to black font to avoid wasting your pre-printed transmittal sheet.

The W3 (W2 transmittal) template

Every cell is filled with letters which need to be removed manually.  Not a problem otherwise.

These templates are well worth its cost of $9.95 each.  Many thanks to Mr. Chisholm for this great solution.

Other resources:

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3 thoughts on “How to Use Your Computer to Print W2s and 1099s

  1. Hi,

    I have just came across your site 2 years after your post with the Royal Apollo typewriter, and I have some difficulties finding out how to open the top cover to replace the ribbon of the machine ( which i have just possess for a few days). So i would like to know if you can help me with that by such giving me some instructions( may be ). thanks.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Schawn, I haven’t used my typewriter in such a long time. It is buried in my closet… if I remember correctly though it was only a matter of pulling up on it by holding the opening at the top. I hope you have figured it out. Best regards, Mrs. A


  2. Just in case anyone needs to fill out a tax forms, I found a blank forms in this site PDFfiller. This site also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a tons of fillable tax forms that you might find useful. Here is a link to the blank 1099-MISC form that I was able to fill out


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