Wednesday, April 04, 2007

User-centric tax filing

Yesterday evening, I used an online service to do the family's Canadian personal income taxes.

The mechanism for electronic filing of the returns to the Canada Revenue Agency captures both the benefits and issues of the 'user-mediated' channel for identity flow through the user-agent.

The process is illustrated here:

You download the special .tax file to your desktop, and then in a separate browser session, upload it to the CRA site. Repeat for spouse.

How very empowering! I am in complete control of transfer of our tax/identity information from the tax provider to the CRA. In fact, without my explicit consent and actions, the info just will not flow.

For me personally, I would have much preferred for the tax service provider to interact directly with the CRA to submit the files 'on my behalf' - saving me
  • the effort
  • the security risk of having such sensitive information sitting on my laptop.

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