Time for my annual gripe. I use tax preparation software, have used it for a long time. I have two ways to file my taxes, efile and paper. Paper filing costs the government (and all us taxpayers) a lot more money to process a return. Efiling saves the government (us) money. So what is the incentive to efile? Well, I can print the forms out on paper and mail them in to the government for the price of the paper, toner, and a few stamps: under $2 for state + federal. Or I can pay the tax preparation software company $30 to efile my return. This is in addition to the price of the software. That is, I can pay extra for the privilege of saving my government money! This makes me mad every year, no matter which way I do it.
Slightly more complicated note about the situation: For federal returns, the only way to efile is through a private company. Individuals cannot directly efile their own taxes. Private companies get to make money off our legal requirement to file tax returns. Yee-haw. There are firms that offer free efiling for lower income people: I don’t know whether or how these firms are compensated for free efilings they process. I do know that none of them will also do your state return for free. If you have the privilege of a professional income, you have to pay to efile your federal taxes, there is no free option except paper. My state does offer free efiling for everyone on a web portal. So if I’m willing to reenter all the information I have already entered into my tax software, I could save the $15 for the state return. But, of course, I think my time is worth the $15, so I’m back to the choice between printing and paying. I may look into a new tax software vendor next year to see if the situation is less insane for other companies, although there are time/labor costs involved in switching.
I don’t know why other people are not griping about this.