why small business owners in pa might take up day drinking

Sigh….it feels like everything is so darn difficult when dealing with Harrisburg. Today was the day that I contemplated taking up day drinking.

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue used to have small biz owners use eTIDES. But then a few months ago, they announced they were migrating us to the shiny new better than ever myPATH.

Well getting on myPATH which is supposedly so simple is seriously enough to take up day drinking.

I have been trying to get everything set up for well…weeks. Kept getting error messages.

Getting error messages asking you to confirm correct information again and again and again is MADDENING.

Today I was at the end of my rope, when finally after like 4 1/2 hours of bloody god damn error messages, I was allowed into Harrisburg Valhalla. Then fool that I was, I tried migrate eTIDES to myPATH.

Error error danger Will Robinson! Abort abort! Does not compute! System tells me on myPATH that I don’t have access to eTIDES. But hey I go to eTIDES and log on no problem.

Cursing at my computer I go back to myPATH of hell. The eTIDES stuff I was told I didn’t have access to apparently transferred? But maybe not all of it?

Meanwhile at different points of time I tried to call the PA Department of Revenue. Every single time I get this auto message that essentially all of their lines are busy and the call disconnects. Yeah GREAAAAATTTT service. They want us to pay our taxes, file our taxes, but it’s a freaking maze to try to get things to work right and try to get someone on the damn phone.

And let’s talk about eTIDES. It worked fine. It was basic but did what it was supposed to do. I am terrified of myPATH.

Compounding this general feeling of taxpayer helplessness is for years I used GoDaddy Bookkeeping. Which self destructed and pushed all of their users to QuickBooks. I went to GoDaddy Bookkeeping because I hated QuickBooks a few years ago. Now I am stuck in that loop of hell as well.

I am a rule follower. Not a rule breaker. But if you are just trying to do the right thing like your government not at work, and they tell you how nifty marvy something new is going to be, only it’s not? IT PRETTY MUCH SUCKS?

Any oh the press release on November 30th:

New Online Tax System Launches For Business Taxpayers In PA

11/30/2022

Harrisburg, PA — Starting today, business taxpayers will have a new and improved online system to handle their registration, filing and payment obligations for Pennsylvania taxes. With myPATH now available to these customers, this system will be a one-stop shop for all Pennsylvania taxpayers.

“This move to a new system is about contributing to Governor’s Wolf’s goal of improving online services and providing our customers with new tools that will make their lives easier,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “This system is already used to process personal income tax returns and payments, as well as rebates on property taxes and rent for older residents and Pennsylvanians with disabilities. It has been very well received by the public, so we are looking forward to expanding this resource for more people in the business community.”

Among the new taxes that can be managed on myPATH are employer withholding tax, sales tax, and corporation taxes. Revenue from these taxes make up a substantial portion of the annual revenue that is collected and deposited into the commonwealth’s General Fund to pay for government operations and services for people in Pennsylvania.

That’s one of the driving reasons the Department of Revenue has been working to launch a new system for the customers who collect and remit these taxes. myPATH is user friendly and designed to work on any device — a computer, mobile phone, or tablet — so that customers can access their accounts from just about anywhere. It is built on software that has been implemented with great success in many other states and countries throughout the world. 

e-TIDES to myPATH Transition

As part of this transition, the Department of Revenue is asking business taxpayers to register for a new account on myPATH. You can find information on what you’ll need for this process by visiting How to Enroll for myPATH.

Once customers are logged in with their new username and password, they will have the option to migrate their existing access from e-TIDES, the previous online system for business taxpayers, to myPATH.

Customers will then have the option to enter their existing e-TIDES username and password (e-Signature account credentials) to access their prior account information that was available in the old system. This should be a seamless process that the Department of Revenue is encouraging business taxpayers to complete as soon as possible.

New System for Registering a Business for PA Taxes

myPATH is also taking the place of the prior Pennsylvania Online Business Entity Registration (PA-100), which was an online platform that businesses used to register for state taxes. Starting today, this registration process will now be done through myPATH’s Pennsylvania Online Business Tax Registration.

Taxpayer Assistance

The department encourages taxpayers to refer to several self-service options available through the department’s website, revenue.pa.gov. These include:

Customers can also contact the department by phone at 717-425-2495, ext. 72841 (PATH1). Agents in the department’s call center will be working overtime and will be available from 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning today, November 30.

Department of Revenue Tax Modernization Project

The launch of myPATH and the transition of all the state taxes the Department of Revenue administers into this system is part of an ongoing tax system modernization project. This project has remained on time and on budget since its launch in 2018. Meanwhile, as part of this project the department has decommissioned several prior tax systems that were costly and working on outdated technology. 

“Governor Wolf set a priority early in his tenure of improving customer service and providing a ‘Government that Works’ for the people of Pennsylvania,” Hassell said. “Our work with myPATH is us doing our part to help the Governor achieve this goal. This system will be a great benefit for our customers for years to come.”      

Media Contact: Jeffrey Johnson, ra-press@pa.gov

Now maybe it will get better, but right now it sucks is an understatement. And you can’t get anyone on the phone. The taxman is the biggest boogeyman in anyone’s adult life and it’s the whole trying to be a good soldier of it all. Oh but they have cute little instructional videos on YouTube.

I think I am giving up for the day. My husband told me for everyone’s sanity I should walk away from the computer.

If you need to contact these fine folks in Harrisburg, try to contact the Department of Revenue at (717)-425-2495, ext. 72841(PATH1). Agents at the department are supposed to be available to assist Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 6:45 p.m. (if you can get to a real person.)

They say the only life certainties are death and taxes, but truly…I am feeling like the old guy in front of the old time general store lamenting why we need new fangled modern conveniences. I just do not understand new and improved websites when they do not feel new and improved. Hello abacus?

Sign me frustrated and not a computer Luddite.

just tacky

I used to live in Lower Merion Township.

Growing up, it was a marvelous place.  Nice people, clean streets, pretty houses. It was safe.  Kids could even ride their bikes on their neighborhood streets and play kick the can and other games with neighborhood kids on warm summer nights.

“Back in the day” as they say, there was still big money living there, only it wasn’t so tackily or arrogantly displayed.  I mean, you knew there were people with lots and lots of money, only it was considered somewhat déclassé to discuss it and to be so showy.

Well, anyway,  that all  has long since flown out  the window as a policy of polite behavior in polite society, and it is part of the reason why a lot of people are leaving the Main Line.  Yes there are rubes to still buy into the myth, but there are a lot of people leaving and considering getting out of dodge.

Yesterday I saw something that literally left me slack-jawed.   A press release out of my former township basically bally hooing that they have more money within their boundaries than anyone else.

In an economy where people are struggling to make ends meet, losing their homes, losing their jobs, I find such an announcement somewhat staggering.  Also interesting to note is as much as Lower Merion would like to ignore it, they have a fair amount of Sheriff Sale action in the Magic Kingdom too, and not just in the low rent district.

But in Lower Merion they have long denied this economy was a problem.  Just look at the crazy salary and benefit package they ended up giving the township manager, Douglas Cleland.  Look at the taxes all the way around. Everything is relative, and while they are patting themselves on the back, the simple fact remains that a heck of a lot of residents feel like they work to support the township.

And for this great amount of wealth they support and applaud in Lower Merion, one would think they could do the basics like keep the roads in good repair.  But they don’t.  And when you go into the business districts, well there seems to be a lot more trash around than there used to be and sometimes you can smell  certain smells on the street like you do in more urban areas. And there is crime they don’t want to talk about and a school district always teetering on disaster.  (LMSD seems to be having contract issues too, and they just made another large land purchase too.)

There are a lot of lovely places where people can choose to make their homes along the Main Line and into Chester County.  And they don’t have municipalities that feel the constant need to point out the top 2%.  And of course there is the thought process that  maybe Lower Merion should think about these residents with vast resources who don’t feel like being pointed out.

Lower Merion, you aren’t the Hamptons.  Here’s the press release:

Lower Merion Near the Top of CNN Money’s Top-Earning Communities in America

Township ranked fifth for median family income and home price  Posted Date: 8/21/2012 5:05 PM

CNN Money, an online combination of CNN, Fortune Magazine and Money Magazine, has ranked Lower Merion Township near the top of its recently published “Top-earning Towns” list – part of its ongoing “Best Places to Live” series.

Next to a photo of a student entering Pembroke Hall on the campus of Bryn Mawr College, CNN Money puts Lower Merion’s median family income at $153,309, and the Township’s median home price at $553,498.

“Part of Pennsylvania’s wealthy Main Line corridor that popped up along the rail line of the same name, Lower Merion got its start when railroad executives built massive summer homes here,” the online newsmagazine wrote. “Today, it’s an elite suburb of Philadelphia and dotted with colleges, including women’s liberal arts school Bryn Mawr, which is also one of the township’s largest employers.”

Overall, Lower Merion is ranked 5th among the 25 national locations listed.

“We have a terrific community here in Lower Merion, and a wonderful quality of life,” said Lower Merion Township Manager Doug Cleland. “Our residents already know that, of course, but it is nice to see the national recognition.”….

“Residents bring lawn chairs and blankets to twilight concerts at the Bryn Mawr Gazebo all summer long and enjoy their pick of sledding hills in the winter months,” CNN Money wrote about the Township. “The area’s 682 acres of parkland and top-rated schools in the state form a well-rounded nest for well-heeled Pennsylvanians.”

Lower Merion is the only Pennsylvania community ranked among the top 25. Ranking 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, are the towns of Greenwich, Conn., Palo Alto, Calif. and Newport Beach, Calif.

There are lots of places with outdoor concerts in the summer around the area, not just next to a very contentious library re-build at Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr inhaling car and truck fumes from Lancaster Avenue.  And you could of course consider they might be speaking of sledding on the roads since Lower Merion is not always so speedy with the snow plow.

Anyway, did not mean to go off on a tangent outside of Chester County, but I just found this whole thing distasteful.  And predictable.  Personally, I prefer communities that don’t have to brag about things like how much money residents have.  I prefer communities that have local governments that just do a decent job.

Can’t say that about Lower Merion.  After all, how many years later, and there is still no new train station in Ardmore or a real “redevelopment” there is there?  Wouldn’t it be best for all concerned if Congressman Jim Gerlach who gave Lower Merion $6 million for a transit center just took the money back?  Over half has been spent, there is no station and yet little boroughs like Malvern can complete a train station makeover complete with pedestrian tunnel and Paoli can get a shovel in the ground?

Face it when it comes to dollars and cents, some local governments may see dollar signs but have no sense.