Friday, July 01, 2011

KRA online

So it's that time of the year again. Time to declare my [non-]income. Pass by times tower but there's no tent outside there, and no signs that there will be one. Shucks. I consider joining the queue of people being frisked before going into the buildings, but I'm stopped in my tracks by the fear of indeterminate queues. Which leaves me with one option. KRA online. Oh boy.

Now, the things I've heard about fulfilling my tax obligations online weren't that encouraging but it was either this or be banded in the same category as politicians. So I plucked up the courage to open up a browser and go to the site. Downloaded a couple of pdfs to tell me what I'll need to do. So far so good. Go to the login page. Nice link there inviting newbies like myself. Click on that. Brilliant.

But before anyone could say "Danger, Will Robinson!", I find myself being asked about my mother's names. This seems a bit fishy. Why are they asking me such questions. But there's nothing else to do so I provide my mum's first name and click on the button. What I see next is a stacktrace. Wonderful. My mum has a pretty ordinary name. No unicode characters or anything so why would it cause an error. I take a cursory look at the exception details and see that the problem is in some authentication filter class. I think that's what it was. Still don't understand why the error. Scroll down a bit more. Ah! They're using jboss. OK. Enough of that.

I go back to try again. This time I use my mum's last name. Click the button. It turns out, this time, that they don't know me. I'm invalid. I don't exist. And there's nothing there that I can click on to say "Help!". I panic for a moment. Is my mother really my mother? I was expecting this exercise to give me some problems but certainly didn't envision it exacerbating my existential crisis.

Third time lucky perhaps so I go back and try the first name again. [I refuse to give the middle name] This time, the page loads nicely with a bunch of fields ready to be filled. Joy! Short-lived joy. My birthday is listed as July 1. Which would be really nice if it were true. Give me a reason to get out and about. Moving on. My mother's last name is not my mother's last name. No wonder. Where did they get this info. I fill in the required fields and submit.

Their email sending code doesn't seem to have problems cause I get one with my password and this security code thing. I fire up the login page and try the details I see there. Their response is that I don't know what I'm doing and should check if I have CAPS LOCK on. I can't help but feel a bit insulted. I'm a power user! CAPS LOCK ni wewe. Try again a couple of times but the result is the same. I give up. I hear that things work better late at night. Doesn't sound so farfetched now. As aJamaa says, sometimes code needs time to iva.

A couple of days go by and I decide to give it another try. I'd heard in this intervening period that the forgot password option works like magic. I laughed so hard as this guy narrated how each time he needs to access the site he uses the forgot password option. Each and every time. I wasn't laughing now. Or, more accurately, I was silently laughing at myself. Chuckle, chuckle. I try the new password they've sent me. Nothing. Desperation is now kicking in. Deadline day is near. Perhaps the problem is firefox. For the longest time I couldn't use firefox 3.6 to access the orange internet portal to buy internet bundles. Open up IE, and go through the motions, with the same predictable results. Maybe it's this security code thing. Perhaps l is actually 1. So I click on forgot password once again. Get another nice email. This time I open the jpeg attachment instead of relying on the preview yahoo is showing me. It turns out that the preview wasn't showing the whole picture. Literally. Now I really feel silly. So much for being a power user. I try the login again, this time confident that I'm using the absolute correct details. It turns out not. What now. I can see that when I click on the login button some stuff is being added to the password field. Maybe that's the problem. What is this that these guys are appending, and why are they appending it.

Since online is not working that well for me, I'll have to try some offline options. Call up the call center number. Wait a while and finally get to talk to a human. It's always a huge relief when you call a customer care number and get to talk to a human before getting frustrated by the constant you'll-be-served-shortly type prompts and hanging up. After explaining my problem to the lovely lady on the other end, she suggests that I should use the forgot password link. I really don't know why I still bother calling customer care numbers. I almost never get any helpful answers. There was this one lady at the KPLC pre-paid desk who sorted me out. Wrote her name down somewhere here. Anyway. Big-up yourself.

What to do now. Download the income tax form, print, fill and submit? Don't see as I have a choice. Did my civic duty. See you next year? Now that I'd finished that for this year, I started thinking that I should try this login thing again. After all, I'll be in the same situation next year. Maybe my account had been locked out after so many invalid login attempts. This time there's no deadline pressure. And would you know it... Yes. The forgot password link sent me an email, like it had 5 times before. Entered the details like before, and this time they were accepted. Perhaps they know that I've already submitted a manual return so I don't really need the login now. Nah. Probably just one of those things.