As I had all my tax forms, I decided to get my income tax out of the way for another year. The IRS has a program where one can file for free with one of its partner sites, so that’s what I opted to do.
I selected EZTaxReturn but it turned out to be something of a mixed bag. Yes, for the most part it was fairly simple; I picked the self-guided track as I knew pretty much what I was doing and the software was largely straightforward.
But there were some annoying glitches that made it extremely frustrating.
First of all, the little radio buttons, the ones where you can only select one of two or more items, didn’t always work. Try as I might, I’d click on the button and it wouldn’t accept the click. Luckily I was finally able to work around that by using the keyboard to tab to the button I wanted and press the space bar to select it.
Another occasional annoyance was the “Scroll down to continue” message that appeared along the right side of the browser’s window. This was apparently there to let those people who are less experienced at using a web browser know that the Continue button is sometimes hidden further down on the page. Alas, sometimes it isn’t, and that stupid message covers up the button, effectively preventing the mouse from being able to click on it.
Once again, the keyboard came to my rescue. Tab to the button and press the Return key. Once again, needless frustration.
But worst of all, even though I was working on the web site nearly continuously and only walked away from the screen for at most a couple minutes at a time to get another cup of coffee, the software was frequently timing out on me with a message to the effect that I had been idle for 20 minutes and I’d have to log in again.
No, I had not been idle for anywhere near 20 minutes. The only saving grace was that in all the times I had to re-log in, I only lost one form.
But that’s one form I shouldn’t have lost.
There were a few other glitches, but those were the main ones.
In any event, I managed to efile my taxes, and opted not to file my Pennsylvania taxes for the low price of $19.95.
The commonwealth has its own efiling system, which can be just as frustrating because it changes every year. We’ll see how it goes this year.