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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 17, 2012 12:17 AM. The previous post in this blog was Another noteworthy Pulitzer. The next post in this blog is Talk nerdy to me. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Perfect timing

It's the night before the income tax filing deadline, and the Postal Service's online postage calculator is down.

Comments (7)

I got a similar message when trying to e-file my federal taxes Monday afternoon. Chilling.

Fortunately, the other way of verifying (using last year's AGI instead of a PIN) worked.

Of course, for my state return--taxes-due go regular mail--my printer ran out of ink and my scanner just stopped copying until I rebooted, meaning I had to shut down Turbo Tax and various spreadsheets.

How do they know, these machines?

We gotta stamp that out now!

I'm too fraidy cat to mail my taxes. Always makes me nervous something is going to go wrong or I'll screw up the postage and I'll pay for it later. I hand them in to the IRS downtown on Main St. and to Oregon over by the Lloyd Center. Can't figure out how to e-file for $0.

I sometimes have to try to navigate the Post Office website for work. I'm pretty sure it was patterned after an MC Escher drawing. As my boss says, no wonder they're going broke!

I'll NEVER use TurboTax again.

They've migrated users to their online version, without amaking ny reference to the reduced features/functionality (like easily viewing each form you've prepared, or calling up blank forms).

They say it is possible to "download" the more robust version to your computer gratis, but (when I tried) they wanted me to buy it all over again.

It was easier to use TurboTax five years ago, and my taxes were more complex then.

TurboTax:

Completed son's return online, free for Fed and State. No issues, but a simple return.

Me, the Premium package; free online filing for Fed; nominal fee for State. Only issue was TT did not like the zipcode for one of the charitable deduction addresses. Deleting the zipcode got the E-file accepted. Not worried about a missing zipcode.

For E-file, you get a confirmation within a day or so from Fed and State indicating return has been accepted.

Son got refund within 5 business days, directly deposited to bank account.

Been using TurboTax since it first came out. No complaints, except for the very early days when additional pages for schedule D did not exist.

Finally, waiting until the last minute to file will lead to frustration as everyone tries to file at the same time. The Internet and the various servers just can't handle the peak load. Though the P.O. issue is interesting - how about looking at the PDF that documents the various rates, or use one of the many other online calculators for postage?

Wow. Maybe the feds should look into a competent delivery service, rather than USPS.

That noted, I sent in my taxes and the additional $1450 owed on Saturday, using TurboTax. In my version, fed filing's free, but they hit you up for a fee to e-file state.

Still, I've used a couple of other tax programs in the past, and find TT to be the least aggravating. Unlike the experience of users such as Mister Tee, my version of TT comes on a disk, though it does (unsurprisingly in my view) ask if you'd like to go online and search for any updates. Since the governments make changes right up to the very end, it seems like a good idea to me, although mileage may vary depending on habits and tire pressure and distance traveled and....

But as noted, for me, the proggie's not especially aggravating (although the company's television ads certainly are). I can either do the "let's guide you through" thing, or simply go to the forms - which I find is easier. Probably their "guidance" wouldn't miss anything, but for some reason, I just don't like the idea of being led around by the nose.

Taxes were a lot more fun, though, before Packwood "put more money in your jeans".

Back then, you could treat it like a game: they already have my money; how much can I legally get back?

Then Packwood "put more money in your jeans" by eliminating almost every tax deduction.

Remember when you could deduct gasoline taxes paid? Gone, thanks to Uncle Bob - along with most of the other deductions that an average schmoe could take. Boy, those were some good times.

I never liked Bob much; didn't break my heart to see him run out of office (though compared to Wu, Sam Adams, and a lot of other politicians these days, his transgressions were indeed relatively benign).

One thing I'll never forget was that at the Time, The Oregonian's big campaign motto was "If it matters to Oregonians, it's in The Oregonian". Naturally, they sat on the Packwood story, which was broken by the Washington Post. A popular bumper sticker followed: "If it matters to Oregonians, it's in The Washington Post.

As I say, good times....


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