I am supposed to be paying estimated taxes this year. At least that’s how it looked like at the beginning of the year when the stock market was rosy. I am not sure if that situation has change with all the things happening around the world about Greece and rest of the Europe. I am afraid I would forget the T-date, June 15th. So, I even had a post-it note on my big 27″ iMac. At the beginning of this month, an email was sent as a remainder by the tax board. At that time I knew I would remember thanks to this post-it note. But guess what? On June 16th night, I finally saw the note and I was frantically trying to pay it online. But then, how much should I pay?
Well, that’s where the SAAS part comes into picture. For the last 10yrs or so, I have been using TurboTax. I am a loyal customer of theirs and I even store my tax documents online with them. So, back in April when I prepared my taxes and the estimated taxes for 2010, I didn’t bother to print the estimated tax statements. I thought that I will be paying online, so I could save some trees not printing.
So, on June 16th, one day after the deadline, when I was frantically trying to pay my estimated taxes, I tried to sign-on to TurboTax to get that magic number that they computed. Guess what happened? TurboTax and their owning company Intuit had a major infrastructure failure. You can see more on this here.
Now, what am I supposed to do? Since I am late by a day, make it two days and hope for the service to return back online on the next day? Well, I did something else which I will tell you soon.
I am not a tax expert, but I used to think that the estimated taxes are going to be the same for all the 4 installments. Well, may be for businesses it might defer, but for an employee with some capital gains from stocks, I thought that’s how easy it would be and that’s how it had been in the previous years. But this time, TurboTax calculated that the numbers are different for each quarter.
Now, back to what I did. While I didn’t have the exact number, I just wanted to pull up my previous number and then use the same. Something better than nothing right? Now, how do I get my previous number? For that, the tax board’s website requires SSN and some account id which I have no idea what it was. So, that wasn’t an option any more (luckily, for the payment itself, this account id is not needed. I guess their logic is people might want to steal personal info but not pay on behalf of someone else :)).
One more flash of genius, and I went to my bank’s website, logged in and pulled up that number and went and paid my estimated taxes for the second quarter of this year. May not be accurate, but good enough for me (as I told, since the stock market tanked, I may actually have not required to pay anything, but I just did it anyway).
Here is the thing. Even if a SAAS provider gives you a 99.999% uptime, sometimes it’s when that 0.0001% time that might really matter to you!