Defiling eFiling

A few years back, the South African Revenue Services (SARS) introduced eFiling, which was supposed to make paying your income tax easier – filling out your tax forms “from the comfort of your armchair”. That is to say, if you’re not blind.
Blind people don’t have the liberty to fill in their tax returns from the comfort of their armchair, thanks to an inaccessible eFiling site. “No problem,” says the tax-man, “They can come to tax offices where it will be done for them.” No armchair comfort for us.
The other alternative of course is to get a trustworthy sighted person to do the honours for you, which is the option I have to resort to, because I like my armchair comfort. I have a right to it, same as everyone else, don’t I?
In the first year of eFiling, I was a late payer, for this very reason. A survey (accessible one at that) was sent to me to complete. “What was the reason for your late payment?” I answered promptly: “The eFiling website is inaccessible to blind people using screen-readers.” Not a word of feedback did I receive.
The next year I had to pay in, and, guess what, the page where you make payments is totally accessible. Ironic?
Complaints from the blind community are not heard. In all the hype about the site improving each year, from cellphone access to a smartphone/tablet app, no improvements are made to the accessibility of the site for blind users, which is a crying shame.
Oh, yes, and while I’m on the subject: On the eFiling website, you are told to type it in on your cellphone, and you will be directed to the mobisite. That doesn’t happen yet. It will apparently be active in the near future. How weird is that? Bragging about something that’s not yet launched. And as for the app, many news sites are publishing one of two variants of what must be a press release from SARS about an eFiling app for use on smartphones and tablets, such as the iPad. Nowhere is the NAME of the app mentioned, so that people can go and get it. Again I say: weird.
When SARS eventually gives me the same armchair privileges as everyone else, I will stop defiling eFiling. Sarsefiling, please make your site accessible to all.

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