The Massachusetts Online Tax System is Excellent, so naturally they ditched it.

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The Massachusetts Online Tax System is Excellent, so naturally they ditched it.

Chief Inspec­tor: Now, I know what you’re going to say, but the fact is, you’ve been mak­ing us all look bad.
PC Nicholas Angel: I’m sorry, sir?
Chief Inspec­tor: Of course we all appre­ci­ate your efforts, but you’ve been rather let­ting the side down. It’s all about being a team player, Nicholas. You can’t be the Sher­iff of Lon­don. If we let you carry on run­ning round town, you’ll con­tinue to be excep­tional and we can’t have that. You’ll put us all out of a job.

Hot Fuzz 2007

Yes­ter­day I did my annual tax walk though, that is I did my taxes in pen­cil not final­iz­ing any­thing and will now do my rit­ual of wait­ing about a week and then re-​doing them in pen dou­ble check­ing every­thing with a fresh set of eyes to make sure I didn’t miss any­thing. Then once I have the fed­eral taxes done It’s time for my state taxes.

Of course that’s not been a bad thing. One of the few plus sides over the last few years has been the Mass­a­chu­setts online fil­ing sys­tem, as a per­son who was once a com­puter pro­gram­mer I was astounded at how well writ­ten it was, how easy it was to use. As I wrote back in 2013

If you qual­ify (and odds are you will) you can e-​file through the site for free and the e-​file sys­tem is ele­gant and easy.

You can save eas­ily, jump back eas­ily, double-​check eas­ily and before you sub­mit see a PDF ver­sion as if you had filed by paper.

I have a lot of words to say when the state does some­thing wrong, so I’m obliged to say some­thing when they do some­thing right.

When it comes to online fil­ing, Mass DOR does it right, take a bow.

So nat­u­rally Mass­a­chu­setts, hav­ing devel­oped a sys­tem that was ele­gant, easy to use and help­ful to tax filers has decided to do away with it.

Mass­a­chu­setts has joined a grow­ing num­ber of states that have ditched their free online tax-​filing sys­tem, push­ing res­i­dents to use soft­ware devel­oped by pri­vate com­pa­nies, and in some cases to pay for it.

Thou­sands of Mass­a­chu­setts tax­pay­ers who have been sub­mit­ting their state tax returns through Web­file for Income, a sys­tem in use since 2009, will this year be directed to a coali­tion of tax-​preparation soft­ware com­pa­nies instead.

Mass­a­chu­setts joined the Virginia-​based Free File Alliance last fall, and this marks the first full tax sea­son that the state’s tax fil­ers will be using the new sys­tem. State offi­cials antic­i­pate that Free File Alliance will save the state money and improve the secu­rity of tax returns.

Are you kid­ding me?

You had a sys­tem so good that even I, a big fan of paper fil­ing was actu­ally pleased to use your online sys­tem and you decide to ditch it? Fur­ther­more it’s one thing to have the gov­ern­ment, who already has access to my tax into have access to it, now I’m expected to use other com­pa­nies and per­haps their servers and give them access to my info?

Not this Sicilian.

So this year my state tax form will, like my fed­eral form, be filed on paper, yes it will slow down my refund, but it’s a small price to pay for keep­ing my tax info between me and the state and if it means an addi­tional expense for the state to process the form, well that’s just life.

I wish I could say I was sur­prised at this devel­op­ment but after all why should the tax fil­ing sys­tem be user friendly and effi­cient when the rest of state gov­ern­ment isn’t?

Chief Inspector: Now, I know what you’re going to say, but the fact is, you’ve been making us all look bad.
PC Nicholas Angel: I’m sorry, sir?
Chief Inspector: Of course we all appreciate your efforts, but you’ve been rather letting the side down. It’s all about being a team player, Nicholas. You can’t be the Sheriff of London. If we let you carry on running round town, you’ll continue to be exceptional and we can’t have that. You’ll put us all out of a job.

Hot Fuzz 2007

Yesterday I did my annual tax walk though, that is I did my taxes in pencil not finalizing anything and will now do my ritual of waiting about a week and then re-doing them in pen double checking everything with a fresh set of eyes to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  Then once I have the federal taxes done It’s time for my state taxes.

Of course that’s not been a bad thing.  One of the few plus sides over the last few years has been the Massachusetts online filing system, as a person who was once a computer programmer I was astounded at how well written it was, how easy it was to use.  As I wrote back in 2013

If you qualify (and odds are you will) you can e-file through the site for free and the e-file system is elegant and easy.

You can save easily, jump back easily, double-check easily and before you submit see a PDF version as if you had filed by paper.

I have a lot of words to say when the state does something wrong, so I’m obliged to say something when they do something right.

When it comes to online filing, Mass DOR does it right, take a bow.

So naturally Massachusetts, having developed a system that was elegant, easy to use and helpful to tax filers has decided to do away with it.

Massachusetts has joined a growing number of states that have ditched their free online tax-filing system, pushing residents to use software developed by private companies, and in some cases to pay for it.

Thousands of Massachusetts taxpayers who have been submitting their state tax returns through Webfile for Income, a system in use since 2009, will this year be directed to a coalition of tax-preparation software companies instead.

Massachusetts joined the Virginia-based Free File Alliance last fall, and this marks the first full tax season that the state’s tax filers will be using the new system. State officials anticipate that Free File Alliance will save the state money and improve the security of tax returns.

Are you kidding me?

You had  a system so good that even I, a big fan of paper filing was actually pleased to use your online system and you decide to ditch it?  Furthermore it’s one thing to have the government, who already has access to my tax into have access to it, now I’m expected to use other companies and perhaps their servers and give them access to my info?

Not this Sicilian.

So this year my state tax form will, like my federal form, be filed on paper, yes it will slow down my refund, but it’s a small price to pay for keeping my tax info between me and the state and if it means an additional expense for the state to process the form, well that’s just life.

I wish I could say I was surprised at this development but after all why should the tax filing system be user friendly and efficient when the rest of state government isn’t?