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Submitted My 2006 Income Tax Form Via e-Filing

June 29, 2007 by  

I’ve told myself not to wait until the very last minute before I file my B income tax form. Unfortunately that’s exactly what had happened. Well, I did the accounting stuff a week earlier but only submitted my income tax form today. Lucky for me, we have e-Filing to help me do this quickly over the Internet. This was my second time using this service.

While I’ve noticed some marked improvements in the service (it’s working for a start), there are a few things that they could have done to improve the service further.

Since e-Filing is only compatible with Internet Explorer 5.0 (IE) and above, I had to switch to IE for that purpose. By default, IE 7.0 that comes with Vista is actually more much secure than Firefox when it’s run on Vista because it’s running on a Protected Mode.

Protected Mode is another name for low rights that blocks access to all but temporary files folder. It protects users from attack by running an IE process with reduced privileges. While it’s not a complete security sandbox, it significantly reduces the ability of an attacker to write, alter or destroy your data.

Trying to submit my income tax form using IE on Vista was initially a little frustrating. I was unable to download the digital certificate that would let me log into the system even after trying several options. When I managed to download it, it didn’t install properly.

I was sure I wasn’t the only one who was screaming at my computer screen at that moment.

Then later I noticed a link for Vista users on that page. It turned out – as usual – I needed to select IE and “Run as administrator”. I should have thought of that earlier.

Anyway, the least they should do is to place the link in the middle of the page to make it more visible.

I’ve noticed that their FAQ is recommending a practice which could potentially compromise your computer’s security. In particular, they recommend enabling the ‘Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls’

 

faqactivex.JPG

 

This will prevent the Information Bar from being displayed for all websites and allow all those websites to automatically prompt you when downloading an ActiveX controls.

 

iebar.JPG

 

ActiveX controls are executable programs that add functions/features to your browsers but they can also be used to attack your computer. Allowing any website to run them by default will make IE less secure and most users aren’t aware of this.

Instead of recommending the above, LHDN should have advised their users to add the LHDN website to the users’ “Trusted Zone”, and set the security privileges of the Trusted Zone accordingly.

Completing the form was the least of my problem. Certain calculations were done automatically for me and the form only shows sections that apply to me which was good.

Talking about the online form, I think it’ll be helpful if they could include the sections alphabet to assist those referring to the guidebook and explanatory notes.

When it comes to sending my payment, LHDN offers two online options, namely their own e-Bayaran and Internet banking via CIMB and PBB.

The reason why I wanted to pay online was because I didn’t want to drive 60KM to the nearest bank just to pay over the counter.

I tried e-Bayaran a couple of times, but it didn’t work. Calling their Customer Service Center wasn’t of much help except that they advised me to visit the nearest bank to pay it manually. If I did that, what’s the point of creating e-Bayaran if you can’t even use it?

E-Bayaran was crawlingly slow, probably because everyone was paying their tax at the last minutes.

The second option was to use my online banking service. That should be easier I thought but then just before I submitted the form, it asked for something called ‘No. Taksiran’.

I know that’s not my Tax reference number. The info was no way to be found in my Form B. So I contacted their Customer Service Center again and I was greeted with a voice message that said they were “VERY” busy at the moment. Not just busy mind you, and it asked me to call back later.

I called my bank to ask them what I should put in there but they had no idea what it is. Then I called the local LHDN branch, they left the phone rang for a minute or two and they just disconnected it. That happened three times I think. Thanks LHDN Keningau.

Later, I called the Customer Service Center again and finally managed to talk to a staff who told me the No Taksiran was ‘095′. Unless I’ve missed it, it’s not even mentioned in their guidebook.

Anyway, the LHDN website could use some re-organizing. They should forgo the flash animation as it doesn’t make the users’ experience any better. All the page elements seem to compete with each other for attention and are causing users a headache – at least that what I think.

They should also redo the navigation scheme and prioritized the content based on the average users needs. Also some of their instructions like the one that shows you how to install your security certificate is unhelpfully brief. I know users could still follow it but they should at least include the appropiate screenshots.

 

arahan.gif

 

A search facility placed on the main page should help users locate information quickly too.

Despite those complaints, at least e-Filing works (besides the nagging but non fatal javascript error). I didn’t experience any slowdown while filling up my tax form considering that I was doing it at the last minutes. I came across an amusing post from Kay about his experience when using the e-filing system.

I hope they will do things better next year and really live up to their motto “Easy, Accurate & Safe”.

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9 Comments »

Comment by Izwan
2007-06-29 16:42:48

Stuffs like that just happen with *gov.my

I am also having the same difficulties filling my e-rayuan process for UPU (IPTA intake).

 
Comment by Azmeen
2007-06-29 17:42:24

Nice writeup except for this bit which I find sounding more like Microsoft propaganda, rather than fact;

Since e-Filing is only compatible with Internet Explorer 7 (IE), I had to switch to IE for that purpose. By default, IE is actually more much secure than Firefox when running on Vista because IE is running on a Protected Mode.

Protected Mode is another name for low rights that blocks access to all but temporary files folder. It protects users from attack by running an IE process with reduced privileges. While it’s not a complete security sandbox, it significantly reduces the ability of an attacker to write, alter or destroy your data.

By your own description, essentially running apps under “protected mode” means that normal user level (ie. non-admin) priviledges apply.

If you were to run Firefox (or any other applications) using a normal user level account, then you’d already have such restrictions apply. At least that’s how I expect it to work on proper ACL-enabled OSs.

The fact that IE can’t function properly without elevating priviledges for the simplest of things show how flawed, rather than secured, it is.

OK, now that’s off my chest. Here are the bits that are related to the e-Filing stuff :)

Man, you should have written this much sooner before the deadline. A lot of early birds could’ve benefited from it.

Comment by Gaman
2007-06-29 18:12:43

Hmm I can tell you haven’t tried IE7 on Vista yet :) The Protected mode is NOT the same as UAC. The current version of Firefox DOES NOT run on Protected Mode on Vista mind you. In fact, the Firefox developers are actually looking into ways how they could integrate similar security feature into v3.0.

The fact that IE can’t function properly without elevating priviledges for the simplest of things show how flawed, rather than secured, it is.

Come on… it’s not as simple as that :) . When I experience Vista personally – I find most of of the ‘negative speculations’ about it were actually unfounded.

About the write up – can only write if I’ve experienced it myself :) Sooner would have been better of course.

 
 
Comment by Azmeen
2007-06-29 17:45:35

P/S: You spelled “Submitted” wrongly in your post title.

 
Comment by Gaman
2007-06-29 18:14:02

Corrected. Thanks!

 
Comment by Turk Subscribed to comments via email
2007-06-29 22:32:02

Good write up Gaman. So how much did you pay for 2006 assessment? Just kidding :)

 
Comment by Wing Loon
2007-12-06 23:31:19

I still don’t trust the e-Filling. I prefer doing the manually way of submitting the income tax, :D

 
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