First Person: E-Filing our taxes was a nightmare this year

First Person: E-Filing our taxes was a nightmare this year
Eileen St. Pierre, The Everyday Financial Planner

Pulling Your Hair OutI just can’t do it. I can’t pay someone else to file our taxes. My husband says it’s like him paying someone else to change the oil in our cars. We St. Pierres have to do things for ourselves. To add to that, our taxes were a bit more complicated this year because we had to file two state returns. I worked for a while in Kansas but we reside in Oklahoma.

Some of you may call us cheap or stubborn. We consider it principle. Here is my saga of e-filing our tax returns this year. It ended up costing us $2.84 in postage but many more hours of my time than originally anticipated.

The two on-line providers I tried had errors that were impossible to fix.

I managed to find an online provider that would e-file our federal and two state returns for free. I had never heard of them before, but since they were part of the IRS Free File Alliance I figured they were legitimate.

  • My husband and I have health insurance through healthcare.gov so we had to input the information on our Form 1095-A.
  • The on-line provider kept telling me my husband did not have health insurance so we would owe a fee of $417. I kept yelling back at the screen “Yes he does!”
  • I checked the appropriate screens we were supposed to fill out about 5 times. I must have re-inputted the information in Form 1095-A at least 3 times. I got nowhere.
  • After wasting an afternoon of time I did not have, I decided to just use another provider.

I then tried H&R Block’s on-line system because they were promoting free e-filing of federal returns. I had used them before successfully. But this time around, they kept inputting a strange symbol in my business name on my Schedule C during the e-file process. As a result, the IRS rejected my return. I could not for the life of me find where the symbol came from. I think they may have merged information I used the last time I e-filed with them. I was able to print out our completed federal and state returns so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

I ended up using Free File Fillable Forms.

After inputting all my information by hand from my H&R Block printed forms, I was able to e-file our federal return for free. The IRS accepted our return and I’ve had no problems since.

Boy, I’m exhausted and I still haven’t told you about my experience filing our state returns!

I wasn’t able to use either state’s free e-filing system.

We did not qualify for Oklahoma’s OkTAP system because I earned income from another state. We also could not use the Kansas WebFile system called KanAccess because this was our first time filing a Kansas income tax return (we will be able to use it next year). So we ended up having to mail both state returns the old-fashioned way. That’s where the $2.84 comes in.

Yes, we have to wait longer to receive our Oklahoma and Kansas tax refunds. Our Kansas refund has to be in the form of a paper check. We have already received our federal tax refund. All of this is going straight into our IRAs. If it weren’t for our IRA contributions, we would not have received any tax refunds. So investing for our retirement literally pays for itself!

Visit my Taxes page for more information.