Deduction”Pro”, not so professional

So H&R Block’s TaxCut software comes with a web-based separate app for handling deductions.  It’s a straight-forward application but doesn’t have much in the way of external file importation support.  Enter a good text editor.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, DeductionPro will only allow for the most basic recurring cash donation entry.  For instance, I can add donations based on weekly, daily, monthly, and bi-monthly recurrence.  But what about quarterly?  What about x-number of days between?  As such, it makes for a lot of hand entry, if you’re recurrence schedule is not included.
So I did some snooping with the program’s pseudo-XML user file format.  It’s fairly easy to interpret.  Here’s a snippet of the relevant charity entry:

<Cash ZX="0">
<Contribution organization="Sample Charity">
<Event contribDate="04/Feb/2010"><Entry ZX="1" amount="400" benefit="0.00" date="#DATE#" donType="MoneyDonation" organization="#ORG#" payMethod="Check"/></Event>

Note the line in red.  this is the important charity entry.  If you have multiple entries, duplicate that line.

Rather than be content with the alternative of hand entering a block of quarterly, irregular donation amounts by hand, I saw the benefit in hacking this XML for a more automated import.  I fired up my financial software 1 and exported last year’s donations to a particular charity in CSV format.  Next, condition that a bit in a spreadsheet.  Then open that in my favorite text editor 2.  The do some block select to get your date and amount columns.  Paste and voila!

A sample DeductionPro saved file is included for you hacking joy.



  1. the excellent MoneyDance
  2. the awesome free TextWrangler

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