Mon, 14 Apr 2008

TurboTax for Linux users

Linux has been my primary OS for several years. I used to keep a Windows box simply for the purpose of running TurboTax once each year. Then Intuit began offering TurboTax online, and I was able to prepare my returns using my Linux desktop system and Mozilla browser. The Windows box went on the scrap heap.

In past years, I've always received a browser compatibility warning using TurboTax Online. I ignored the warning was always able to complete my return without any difficulties.

This year, however, the browser compatibility check page has no continue button. It is no longer a warning; it is a brick wall.

I found a reasonably painless way over the brick wall using the User Agent Switcher plugin.

When presented with the browser compatibility check page, I use the User Agent Switcher to lie to TurboTax, telling it I'm using Internet Explorer 6.0, then I reload the page. The compatibility check passes and the sign on page loads.

Next, and this is actually the most important step, I immediately set the User Agent Switcher back to default and reload the sign on page. Failing to do so results in a sign on page that doesn't work for my Mozilla browser.

After scaling the brick wall, it's clear sailing. I was able to complete my tax return without a hitch, including Schedules C and D.

I found a post on the ArchLinux BBS that was helpful, but using the alternative Start.htm link provided didn't work for me since I was initiating the process from a brokerage account that netted me a discount price on TurboTax Online. Using the simple URL bypass resulted in the full retail price.

It also failed to mention the need to set the User Agent Switcher back to default and reload the sign on page.

Intuit should really test their online tax filing application with Linux. With the exception of the browser compatibility check failure, it seems to work just fine. Surely there are enough Linux users to warrant some testing and a simple modification to the compatibility check.

[/linux] [link]

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