Tax day is fast approaching, and I’ve been working (on and off) on my tax forms. The IRS lets you download just about every form you could need from a forms page – pick the form you want and save the PDF, simple. The forms are not just printable forms, they really are PDF forms, in that you can fill in the forms using Acrobat Reader and save them locally while you work. And then when you are done, print them, sign them, and send them in. The big advantage is that the final printed forms are far more readable than my handwriting, oh, and making edits while you work is a whole lot easier.
But I am filling in the forms and see instructions like “Gross profit. Subtract line 2 from line 1c. ” and “8 Total income (loss). Combine lines 3 through 7. ” and “Cost of goods sold (Schedule A, line 8) ” (that’s right, just copy a number you entered elsewhere on the same form), and I can’t help but think: No! I just typed in the numbers, you calculate them for me! Come on IRS, in 2004 you started distributing fill-in PDF forms, that’s great. Now take the next step, it’s not that complicated, you just add some very simple computation logic when you design your forms, and you’ll have more accurate returns and happier users. For 2008? Please?