Saturday, April 02, 2005

Goofy Taxes - Day One (Afternoon)

Okay, so I've got all my tax bits 'n pieces spread out all over the office now. And I realize that I don't have a 1040 packet. Of course I don't - I haven't done my own taxes in two years...the IRS figures I don't need a packet. What an environmentally-friendly policy...except that this year I DO need a packet.

Do I venture out to the nearest library and get one? Do I go online and print off the forms? Or...

I ponder advice from some friends that worked at H&R Block. They both suggested using Block's online tax program. I have resisted using this, or Turbo Tax, or any of the other 'automated' methods, because I don't like the Q&A interface. I'm used to starting at the 1040 form, then taking tangents off into each supporting form, then coming back. The Q&A interface makes me wonder what decisions the program is making for me behind-the-scenes. Can I change my answer, if I don't like the outcome? If I do it manually (paper 'n pencil), I know the answer is always "yes".

However, I decide to venture forth into the 20th century. Change is good. Right? RIGHT?!?!?

I spend 30 minutes trying to figure out if I am a 'returning client' (since I did my taxes at a Block office last year) or if I am a 'new client'. If I am 'returning', I am supposed to have a username and password. I don't. I find a cryptic note in my 2003 tax packet with a password, but no username. I try, in vain, to make this work. I guess frantically at what email address I may have given a whole year ago. I give up and click 'new user'.

This turns out to be okay, since I can tell the program who I am and have it import my info from last year. This is cool! Who wants to enter all their address, employment, etc. information. Yuk. I speed through these screens.

Just when I start to wonder if I should 'Save' (I've been a Microsoft user too long to go for more than 15 minutes without saving my work)...my Next button quits working. I'm on the Dependent screen and I clicked 'Yes'. Then 'Next'. No 'next' screen comes up...still the Dependent screen. Okay, I can't believe that Goofy Junior is here either, but c'mon. He's here to stay and I want a tax deduction for him, dammit. I "Save & Close" then sign back in. I'm back at the first screen. SHIT!

Maybe I need to think about an extension. They give you 3 months to procrastinate for free, ya know. Groan.

EPILOGUE:

After prompting me to import my info again, it asks me whether I want to continue where I left off. Ah! No data lost. It lets me past the Dependent screen this time. Okay, time for that nap now...

1 comment:

Cagey said...

You're a new user because you are "new" to the online program. Hang in there! And yes, you can go back and tweak things as needed. You aren't committed to your answers until the IRS has them in their hot little hands!