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RE: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind Developed.ht m

From: Simon White <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 17:53:07 +0100
Message-ID: <FDFC0668A850D246BC4231715D94904E0CDFAF@uranus.jkd.co.uk>
To: "David Poehlman" <poehlman1@comcast.net>, "Nissen, Dan E" <Dan.Nissen@UNISYS.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

So, if they are set up to be printed even by non-disabled people, can this be accessible? A blind user cannot print them off and use them in the conventional sense and if they used a Braille printer would the tax office understand what is sent in???

Clearly not accessible as Dan has conveniently shown.

A rethink is needed. In the UK tax returns can be filed online and saved as either HTML or PDF versions for your own records. I don't know if these forms are accessible, I haven't checked, but at least I don't need to print them off...

Again, it appears from this thread that the American system of tax filing is different to the UK...

Kind regards

Simon

-----Original Message-----
From: David Poehlman [mailto:poehlman1@comcast.net]
Sent: 30 August 2002 17:38
To: Nissen, Dan E; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind
Developed.ht m



I wish I was jumping to conclusions, but in fact what appears below
supports what I and others have expressed.  This is not the means to the
correct end and this is also pointed out below.  How can $2,000 per form
be cost effective?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nissen, Dan E" <Dan.Nissen@UNISYS.com>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 12:28 PM
Subject: RE: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind
Developed.ht m



All,
I think there is a bit of "jumping to conclusions" here.  First, the IRS
forms online are not usually filled in online, they are set up to be
printed
and filled in offline, even by non-disabled people.  Then, they are
sorted
into the correct paper form order by number, and you add the W2 form,
and
any other paper forms, documents, explanations, you may be required to
supply, put the mailing label on the front page from your mailing, put
it in
a big envelope and mail it to one of the many service centers.  There,
they
run huge Kodak scanners, and read the forms and the data and file the
paper,
etc.  This is not an online service.  And, the forms that are printed on
the
personal computer should look just like the forms you get at the post
office
or in the mail, thus the use of PDF that is very capable in getting
scanable
documents.  Accepting tax returns from the Internet is a good idea, but
one
that has not come to the IRS center near you yet.

I don't do much of that any more.  I use TurboTax to do the forms
filling
in, because it handles the arithmetic, is hooked to Quicken where I keep
my
personal financial records, downloads the financial records from some of
my
brokers, etc. If I was brave, I'd do the eFile that is included in the
$20
or so I pay for TurboTax each year.  But, I'm not brave, so I print the
schedules front TurboTax and mail them.

So, I'd be more concerned about whether we are getting an accessible
version
of TurboTax available, or if the IRS is going to build a web site that
does
all the things that TurboTax does.  I'd like to have the IRS replace
TurboTax, not supply accessible ways to print paper forms.  But, they
have
chosen to do that through partners.

Regards,
Dan

-----Original Message-----
From: David Poehlman [mailto:poehlman1@comcast.net]
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 10:37 AM
To: Simon White; WAI List
Subject: Re: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind
Developed.ht m



in the case of these particular pdf documents, they are not accessible
outside their environment.  In the case of pdfs in general, you must
create them with specific mark up in specific tools in order that they
are optimized for accessibility which in this case means that there are
two screen readers whose more recent itterations allow some sort of
access.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Simon White" <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>
To: "WAI List" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 10:49 AM
Subject: RE: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind
Developed.ht m



Dear All,
Slightly off the topic, but this minimum accessibility seems to be the
problem with UK government sites as well. By this I mean that PDF meets
the minimum requirements for accessibility on government sites (usually
a minimum of single-A compliance) also noted by the statement that Joel
cut and paste onto his last email:

"As new publications become available
in Acrobat 5.0, which is 508 compliant, they will be posted on the
site."

So, Acrobat is 508 compliant but is it accessible? I would state that it
is not fully accessible, like HTML, and therefore it is not the best
solution for filing tax returns online. In the UK we have a single-A
compliance threshold, although I do want to say that the vast majority
of UK government websites use HTML for forms rather than PDF (or offer
both so that the user can choose).

I guess it is the usual <interpretation of standards> that is at play
here.

In addition, aren't PDF documents only accessible if they have been
created correctly in Acrobat and the client-side reader only plays a
small part in allowing access to the information with assistive
technologies?

Just a bunch of my thoughts on the subject, I am not au fait with
American tax filing so I cannot comment on the systems they might be
using or what might best apply in your Tax system.

Kind regards to all
Simon



-----Original Message-----
From: SHARPE, Ian [mailto:Ian.SHARPE@cambridge.sema.slb.com]
Sent: 30 August 2002 15:26
To: WAI List
Subject: RE: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind
Developed.ht m



Am I missing something? Firstly, the article doesn't explain how the
technology works or what the technology used is? I can't see what is
going
on from "he clicked on the form and the he heard, First Name"?

Secondly, for $2,000 per form I'll offer them a full HTML conversion
service
and pay someone else to take the information and fill out the form!! OK,
there's privacy issues but it wouldn't be hard to automate a process to
automatically fill out the PDF forms anyway. As someone else has pointed
out, it depends how they are storing the information back end anyway? If
they're storing it in another system then it surely doesn't matter how
the
information gets there?

Cheers
Ian



-----Original Message-----
From: Joel Ward [mailto:ward_joel@bah.com]
Sent: 30 August 2002 14:40
To: WAI List
Subject: Re: washingtonpost.com 'Talking' Tax Forms For Blind
Developed.htm



> easy answer to your last question, that is what the decided to do
years
> ago so rather than find a real solution they decided to cludge.  Html
> would have been vastly superior and there are many other things they
> could have done and can do, but dispite frequent pounding on them,
they
> like some other agencies have stayed a particular course for what ever
> reasons but the bottom line is that the consumer looses in the end.
The
> gains in this case apparently are the same forms can be served to all
> and pdf is their favorite route so they can still use it.  They have a
> lot of money tied up in it apparently.

Could they provide both a PDF forms and HTML forms to cover all the
bases?
And both would integrate into the same back-end system?

Maybe they do?

Maybe they're going that way?

Standard web forms would no only help assistive technology users, but
also
text browser users, PDA users, WebTV users, and anyone else who can't
run
Acrobat.

BTW, I found this on the IRS web site's accessibility page:
http://www.irs.gov/accessibility/display/0,,i1%3D43%26genericId%3D10167,
00.h
tml

<snippet>
Persons using screen-reading devices, who generally cannot directly read
documents in PDF format, will find a HTML version of many of the forms
and
the publications on the IRS site. Over the next several months, the IRS
plans to make all PDF files accessible. As new publications become
available
in Acrobat 5.0, which is 508 compliant, they will be posted on the site.

For information on Forms and Publications Accessibility:
The IRS Alternative Media Center has prepared hundreds of its most
popular
tax forms, instructions, and tax publications using full text
descriptions
where needed and is making these files available for download through
the
IRS web site. Adobe Acrobat PDF format has been used as a means of
distributing government forms as well as other documents.
</snippet>

BTW, I checked their forms section and selected a few forms to see what
formats they had available.  Of the dozen I selected, none had any other
formats than PDF.  Where are the HTML versions they speak of?

Even the "list of forms you can fill-in using your computer" are all
PDFs.

I guess the eFile program offers some forms online.  But none are
through
the IRS itself, and some cost money.  Maybe that's why the IRS is
reluctant?


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Received on Friday, 30 August 2002 12:53:10 GMT

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