This picture illustrates the government’s attitude towards your money.

Tried to do my taxes yesterday. It was an interesting exercise in Bad Software Design and the apparent inability of some state governments to get their acts together. I have N federal exemptions according to my W-2. So on the Michigan tax form that the tax preparer provides, there’s a box for the number of federal exemptions you claim. I enter N into this box. “Error: You have to claim the same number of exemptions on state and federal.” Except that there was no box to fill in anywhere for the number of federal exemptions you were claiming. I guess they filled that in automagically. And the form conveniently neglected to tell me how many federal exemptions they thought I had.

So, I tried every integer from 0 to 5 in the box on the Michigan form. I got the same error message for all numbers except 0 and 1. 0 and 1 gave me “Michigan does not support EWT”, whatever that means. This spectacularly craptastic set of design errors and bad code meant that I couldn’t file my Michigan tax return electronically.

And since I only lived in Arizona for 5 months in 2007, I had to file a partial-year return as a first-time AZ income tax payer. It is apparently impossible to file one of these electronically. No errors, no bad code that I could see, just the state government having a hole in its procedures. Paper filing is just so much less convenient (and costs the government more) that I don’t know why they haven’t switched to requiring everyone to E-file (or telephone file).

The only partially positive thing is that I should get a small refund this year. After the expense of tax preparation and printing things out, it comes to about $20. Usually, I owe about $200. Oh well.

A recruiter called me yesterday and I should have an interview this morning. Problem: It’s not with an actual client, but with a recruiting firm. This “looking for a job” thing is getting really old.