Tuesday, April 28, 2009

a rant about EDD - Employment Development Department. I will start with the name. Huh? These are the people I send in my CA payroll taxes to. How is that developing employment exactly? This eve I was going to fill out my DE-6 aka Quarterly Wage and Withholding Report. I have used their pdf before and mailed it in but this eve when I google it I notice that you can now fill them out - and submit them - on-line. This might (or not) be a good option for me. The FAQ says that once I've done it once it will fill in the same people's names and soc sec #s for me in future. Not a huge deal since there are only 2 of us - but could be worth it. Then I read further. Apparently this service only works between 5 a.m. and midnight. Huh? I have never heard of a form that can't be filled out 24 hours a day. Weird. And I'll have to look some stuff up to create a log-in - and it is after midnight - guess I won't bother with that tonight. And I have to do payroll stuff on-line. They have another weird deadline - something like 3 p.m. the day BEFORE the stuff is due. I am actually allowed to postmark an envelope with my check payment the day it is due but if I submit at 3.01 p.m. the day BEFORE it is due on-line I will be penalized (literally - they have sent me a penalty bill when I did this my first month - fortunately after some correspondance they forgave me). Their log-in is abysmal. It is the only website that I can't actually remember my log-in (since I didn't get to choose it). They also have this crazy little thing called a "verification code" that I have to use when I submit. Take the number (total taxes I am paying that day) 12345.01. First you add all the individual digits together = 16. Next you count the digits = 7. Then you add the two together = 23 = my verification code. I can't sumbit my payment until I get this little number correct. Surprisingly it often trips me up. I am also supposed to submit a separate DE-6 for Pete so he doesn't pay Disability Insurance (as owner of company - altho I have to pay it for me - go figure). And hand write on top of the form (since I do it on computer and there is no space for this) "sole owner" or something like that. Then do another form for me. Guess I am supposed to send them both in. Moronic. The little paper payroll forms allow me to fill out the amount I owe for Disability and Employment Training Tax and such things. The on-line version (with the cute little "verification code") does not - it just lets me fill out Personal Income Tax (aka PIT - yes it is the pits). So I just don't bother to pay the disability et al very often. I don't know. Their forms all totally suck and usually seem to have pointless bits in them. You also have to love that if you wait too long between doing your on-line payroll and printing or saving it - it is gone for good. That is rather that EDD has my payment and I can see the date and total $ but I can't get a copy of the specifics (like that little verification code). This is surprisingly frustrating as they don't give you all that long (only minutes) and I work at my laptop and my printer (which I physically plug into) is in another room. The IRS's thing stays available for printing.

Now for the folks over at IRS. They have a much better on-line system going on. This year I was even able to do W2 and W3s on-line. That said, the IRS seems to muck things up relatively often. I say that as I have had a few error experiences so far and I only do payroll once a month. I was treasurer for our school the year the IRS entered our 2006 taxes as 2000 and sent me a bill for $10,000 (penalties for being late you know). Fortunately the people who staff the phones have been universally great. They seem fairly intelligent, speak english well, and actually often have the power to make changes in the computer system which will result in a letter arriving a week or so later stating that all is well and has been corrected. I like those people. The EDD phone people I have less experience with but the ones I have talked to have been like my computer experiences. Less than stellar. The lady I talked to re the 2006 taxes could tell right away that there had been two 2000 year filings with different amounts and no year 2006. Hmm, maybe the data entry person should have caught that?

And now perhaps a tiny rant about corporate taxes. Well not taxes exactly - just reporting. We are a full fledged regular Corp (C Corp not S). I use TurboTax to do the filing (since ours is very straight forward). I have to say with both our corp and the school's non-profit filing that I was rather shocked to discover how much more simple they were than personal income tax returns. Not only that but how much less actual hard data seemed to be needed. It appears to be a bit of an honor system. Now I am sure penalties would be quite nasty if you get audited and can't support what you claim, but the audit rate is very low. How much do you trust those corporations? Fortunately most of them use tax folks who hopefully keep them honest (altho my mind goes to Enron and Arthur Andersen). But my busy mind could think of all sorts of ways to cheat the system if I was a dishonest person. Good thing I'm not.

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