Sunday, January 3, 2010

State Board of Equalization Blues

For those of you in California who own a business and must submit sales and use tax to the Board of Equalization (BOE), I have a word of warning. The BOE efile system seems to be having some serious problems this year.

Last year, I chose to file online and don’t recall having any problems at all. This year I was required to file online and it’s taken me multiple attempts over a 3-day period to get it done. I have finally prevailed, but not without a lot of frustration – many “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage” messages that required re-logging in, pages within the system that refused to open at all, fields that refused to accept data, and the list goes on.

From the way it acted, you’d think that I was one of millions overloading the system but I think not. How many businesses are small enough and simple enough to have all their tax info ready to input on January 1? And how many are choosing to spend time on New Year’s Day taking care of that? So you can see my point about being in an extreme minority when accessing the system during this time.

Not sure if it’s the coding for the split tax (remember – it went up 1% April 1st) causing the problems or what. The bottom line is this – if you must file online, allow plenty of time. DO NOT wait until the last day or so. And if you experience problems, be sure to let them know. They have a nifty link at the bottom of every page that you can click to tell them if you have problems with the site. (Of course, they may remove it after they get all my comments!) Also, once you’re finally finished with the return, there’s an opportunity to take a survey on your experience. Do it. It’s only a few questions long and allows you to give feedback on your experience and suggest improvements.

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