Wisconsin e-file



  • Somebody in my state's government seriously has the hots for Acrobat. I mean, holy crap. The e-file app runs entirely inside Adobe Acrobat Reader -- and I mean entirely. You download one of the three forms, which is more than just a form -- it's decked out in all sorts of scripts from laying out out your W-2s, taking down every detail on them, then transferring them into the correct form, carefully verifying each field and providing "helpful" messages when they don't validate ("The Employer Name field contains an invalid value" due to a comma that's there on my actual W-2) and even submitting the form -- yes, directly from Acrobat. But they're also really paranoid about data validation. When entering your SSN, you can't use dashes. It silently eats them, making you think your keyboard isn't working or something. It does the same thing with periods -- the first time around, I entered "606452"as my income because it ate a period in the income field. This system is a real piece of work, and not the good kind.

    It's live, right now:  http://www.revenue.wi.gov/wi_efile/index.html



  • @roothorick said:

    It's live, right now:  http://www.revenue.wi.gov/wi_efile/index.html

    Link FAIL.

     



  • @DaveK said:

    @roothorick said:
    It's live, right now:  http://www.revenue.wi.gov/wi_efile/index.html
    Link FAIL.

    FTFY



  • @Lingerance said:

    @DaveK said:
    @roothorick said:
    It's live, right now:  http://www.revenue.wi.gov/wi_efile/index.html
    Link FAIL.

    FTFY

    So TRWTF is this message I got when I tried updating my Foxit installation?

    Error'd

    I had, of course, the administrative prvilege at the time. 



  •  Feck! Sorry. This forum software is alien to me.



  • Oklahoma has almost the same thing. I like it because it makes it easy to fill out the form. When the form is printed it has a two dimensional bar code that encodes all of the entered information. The form still has to be mailed but it can be processed quicker and cheaper.

    The only thing I hate about it is it won't let you save the form with the entered information. You have to enter the information and print from the same computer. I had to enter my information again on a different computer the first time. I'd really like to find out what the developers were thinking about that.

     Jonathan



  • @Jonathan said:

    The only thing I hate about it is it won't let you save the form with the entered information. You have to enter the information and print from the same computer. I had to enter my information again on a different computer the first time. I'd really like to find out what the developers were thinking about that.

     Jonathan

    I remember that being an Acrobat Reader restriction, it isn't something the devs can fix. I had the same problem with the U.S. Visa form, and found out that opening it with Adobe Acrobat 4.0 (full version) would let me save the PDF with all the filled-up data.

    By the way, it always cracks me up to see questions like "Are you a member of a terrorist group?"


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @danixdefcon5 said:

    "Are you a member of a terrorist group?"

    Yes! I mean, no! No!

    I hate these trick questions!



  •  The IRS rejected my e-file because evidently I didn't get the correct income from last year?  It's not like I was looking at the exact freaking form or anything at the time.

    Why do they even need last years income to "verify" your identity?  Man, it would be tragic if somebody did my taxes for me.



  • @Jonathan said:

    The only thing I hate about it is it won't let you save the form with the entered information. You have to enter the information and print from the same computer. I had to enter my information again on a different computer the first time. I'd really like to find out what the developers were thinking about that.
    Normally Acrobat Reader cannot save any information, due to Adobe's lucrative pricing on the non-free versions of Acrobat. Embedded in the file, however, is a digital signature field that can allow Reader versions 6 and up to save the form, data intact. If the document is limited to 100 people (down from 500), you can use Acrobat Professional or Acrobat Professional Extended to enable that feature, beginning with version 7. Alternatively, you could pay tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for Adobe LiveCycle Server ES licenses, which also enable that feature. Wisconsin probably couldn't justify the half-million dollar expense of LiveCycle licenses.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    Wisconsin probably couldn't justify the half-million dollar expense of LiveCycle licenses.

    Wisconsin, did, Oklahoma didn't. The Wisconsin file says it was created by Adobe LiveCycle in it's properties, and it can be saved with data in Reader.



  • @roothorick said:

    Somebody in my state's government seriously has the hots for Acrobat. I mean, holy crap. The e-file app runs entirely inside Adobe Acrobat Reader -- and I mean entirely. You download one of the three forms, which is more than just a form -- it's decked out in all sorts of scripts from laying out out your W-2s, taking down every detail on them, then transferring them into the correct form, carefully verifying each field and providing "helpful" messages when they don't validate ("The Employer Name field contains an invalid value" due to a comma that's there on my actual W-2) and even submitting the form -- yes, directly from Acrobat. But they're also really paranoid about data validation. When entering your SSN, you can't use dashes. It silently eats them, making you think your keyboard isn't working or something. It does the same thing with periods -- the first time around, I entered "606452"as my income because it ate a period in the income field. This system is a real piece of work, and not the good kind.

    So........your problem is that it validates your input, limiting it to acceptable values before submission? Madness!

    I think the real problem here is the paper metaphor for on-scren data entry - putting the 'printed page' up onscreen mixes it all up. That's where 'fillable PDF' fails in so many implementations...
    Illinois does two things passably right - the tax code is much simpler, (3% flat tax, for now....) obviating the need for excessively complex forms, and the free web-file is a web page questionaire that files your return and produces a completed PDF at the end of the process.



  • @PeteyF said:

    I think the real problem here is the paper metaphor for on-scren data entry - putting the 'printed page' up onscreen mixes it all up. That's where 'fillable PDF' fails in so many implementations...
     

    Yeah, the one I used for federal had all these things where it would conveniently "do the math" for you, like subtracting your deductions from your total income.

    But of course I still had to manually pull up the PDF for the instructions, scroll down to page 37b or whatever and find my income bracket and tax owed on that giant table.  Some things are just too difficult for a computer to compute, I guess.



  • Actually no. My problem is that what the form considers acceptable values don't quite make sense. Why can't a W-2 contain commas in the company name field? Mine does. And it doesn't tell you it's the comma, you have to guess based on a generic "invalid value" error. Additionally, try entering "107.25" into the income field on the W-2 form. It eats the period (and ONLY the period) resulting in "10725". If you just so happened to not notice because you were in a hurry, you'd suddenly "owe" your state a few hundred dollars you probably don't have, and have to go through the agonizingly long correction process, not getting your money back until September. (Exactly that happened to me last year, when their system was an even more WTFy JavaScript monster that actually put a time limit on filling out the form.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @vt_mruhlin said:

     The IRS rejected my e-file because evidently I didn't get the correct income from last year?  It's not like I was looking at the exact freaking form or anything at the time.
    FRAK! I forgot about that and don't have ANY FUCKING CLUE where last year's tax PDFs went to...



  • @Weng said:

    @vt_mruhlin said:

     The IRS rejected my e-file because evidently I didn't get the correct income from last year?  It's not like I was looking at the exact freaking form or anything at the time.
    FRAK! I forgot about that and don't have ANY FUCKING CLUE where last year's tax PDFs went to...

     

    I had to spend a couple hours resurrecting a dead hard drive to find mine.  Maybe I need to backup next time.



  • @Weng said:

    @vt_mruhlin said:

    The IRS rejected my e-file because evidently I didn't get the correct income from last year?  It's not like I was looking at the exact freaking form or anything at the time.
    FRAK! I forgot about that and don't have ANY FUCKING CLUE where last year's tax PDFs went to...


    Mine are on my hard drive under "Official Stuff", and on both backup drives (the local backup and the offsite backup) under "Official Stuff", and on my other computer under "Official Stuff", and encrypted on my webserver under "Official Stuff", and...



  • @roothorick said:

    Additionally, try entering "107.25" into the income field on the W-2 form. It eats the period (and ONLY the period) resulting in "10725". If you just so happened to not notice because you were in a hurry, you'd suddenly "owe" your state a few hundred dollars you probably don't have, and have to go through the agonizingly long correction process, not getting your money back until September.

    Which would be devastating if you actually have W-2s with that small of an income on them.  Sadly, I think that must be the case with you because if you made the mistake with a less shameful (and poor) sum of money--say "51,234.56" which would be translated by the software to "5123456"--you would owe the state several hundred thousand in taxes and the mistake would be immediately noticeable.  So basically this is only going to happen to someone with very small W-2s.



  • If you think that's bad, try being self-employed with an S-Corp as a means to handle the legality of the business.  Now the state "requires" that all businesses efile their monthly and annual paperwork and deposits using their system (WAMS) no matter how big or small you are.  It would be fine if it were like the SSA's Business Services Online site, or even the IRS's EFTPS site.  The WI site is full of dead-ends that dump you out becuase you cannot use the back-key function and there is no way to return to the last page you were on.  It is extremely cumbersome to work with.  Also, WI "allows" a business to transfer its SSA's W-2 file for state filing, saved in PDF, into their system as a way of avoiding submitting it by paper.  Would work fine IF the darn system actually accepted the Social Security's file like it said it would.  It rejected mine becuase my file "exceeded the allowable number of errors".  How can that be when it was a file genererated by the Social Security Admin using their tight format?  If its supposed to take the SSA file, it should be patterned after the SSA format.  Evidently, WI has its own ideas of what the SSA should accept.  Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

     I guess the real question is why is Wisconsin's efile system for both businesses and individuals so inflexible.  Its as if you have to be a programmer to understand what it wants.  I don't have that kind of time or patience.  Its forcing small businesses to spend money on professional tax preparers just to submit their regular data.  WI should send their programmers to see the IRS and SSA  IT people so they can learn how to program.



  • I known Michigan doesn't allow cents on their tax forms - you are instructed on how to round - they even print  .00 appended to each box on the form - both paper and PDF version.

    I'm guessing the "decimal eating" is probably due to this type of thing.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @vt_mruhlin said:

     The IRS rejected my e-file because evidently I didn't get the correct income from last year?  It's not like I was looking at the exact freaking form or anything at the time.

    Why do they even need last years income to "verify" your identity?  Man, it would be tragic if somebody did my taxes for me.

    Ugh. I didn't file last year (yay being SHIT BROKE and having no taxable income). That probably means I have to mail shit again. God dammit.



  • @Weng said:

    That probably means I have to mail shit again.
    PROTIP: Mailing them shit is not an effective way to get on the IRS's good side.



  • @roothorick said:

    But they're also really paranoid about data validation. When entering your SSN, you can't use dashes. It silently eats them, making you think your keyboard isn't working or something. It does the same thing with periods -- the first time around, I entered "606452"as my income because it ate a period in the income field.
     

    Now we know what the creators of CS are doing thesedays. Working for the IRS. 



  • @bstorer said:

    @Weng said:

    That probably means I have to mail shit again.
    PROTIP: Mailing them shit is not an effective way to get on the IRS's good side.

     

    rimshot



  • @Nyquist said:

    @roothorick said:

    But they're also really paranoid about data validation. When entering your SSN, you can't use dashes. It silently eats them, making you think your keyboard isn't working or something. It does the same thing with periods -- the first time around, I entered "606452"as my income because it ate a period in the income field.
     

    Now we know what the creators of CS are doing thesedays. Working for the IRS. 

    Well, on the other hand, maybe they've fixed it since this thread was last actually alive, best part of a year ago.

    Any of you guys actually download the latest one to check?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     @bstorer said:

    @Weng said:

    That probably means I have to mail shit again.
    PROTIP: Mailing them shit is not an effective way to get on the IRS's good side.

    So THAT'S why I always get audited. That kind of makes sense now.



  • @DaveK said:

    Well, on the other hand, maybe they've fixed it since this thread was last actually alive, best part of a year ago.

    Any of you guys actually download the latest one to check?

    Doing my taxes right now. It's the exact same system, with the 2009 forms and NOTHING fixed. I even noticed more:

    * The SSN field still silently eats dashes, but THEN adds them in when you continue to the next field. So apparently, you're not good enough to put dashes in your SSN, you have to have a computer do it for you. Lovely.

    * W-2 address fields don't take periods either. Apparently "E. Evergreen Dr." isn't a valid street.

    * Minor, but...The counties on WI-Z are in a drop-down box. That reacts to any keypress as if that's the FIRST letter of the county name. Given that there are no less than SIX counties in wisconsin that start with W, that's horrible design.

    * The instructions that are supposed to be on the back of WI-Z were taken off and replaced with... a note saying "GO TO THE NEXT PAGE TO CONTINUE FILING YOUR RETURN" (yes, in all caps) and 3/4 of a page of blank space. They didn't even bother to remove references to the directions on the first page.



  • @roothorick said:

    * Minor, but...The counties on WI-Z are in a drop-down box. That reacts to any keypress as if that's the FIRST letter of the county name. Given that there are no less than SIX counties in wisconsin that start with W, that's horrible design.

    That could be a browser issue. Most non-IE browsers will do a sane incremental, whereas IE will do a "I forgot what you pushed last time so I'm starting over mmm-kay?" incremental.



  • @roothorick said:

    * W-2 address fields don't take periods either. Apparently "E. Evergreen Dr." isn't a valid street.

    I'm guessing the form doesn't accept abbreviations for the very good reason that it can create ambiguity, so this is not a WTF - unless you'd like your tax refund to be paid to someone else.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     @The_Assimilator said:

    @roothorick said:

    * W-2 address fields don't take periods either. Apparently "E. Evergreen Dr." isn't a valid street.

    I'm guessing the form doesn't accept abbreviations for the very good reason that it can create ambiguity, so this is not a WTF - unless you'd like your tax refund to be paid to someone else.

    The postal service is actually very good about ambiguous addresses and beating the shit out of local authorities when they let them happen. For instance, there are two TOTALLY DIFFERENT "Falls Road"s in my post office's region - and for awhile the house numbers overlapped until a collaboration of the fire, police and postal services beat the shit out of the county planners until they renumbered some houses.

     

    Google Maps still gets hopelessly fucking confused, though.


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