It’s well-known that the IRS adopts to new technology grudgingly, if at all — the jump to punched cards would still be a long way off if taxpayers didn’t happen bradley witham to be voters, too. So it should come as no surprise that, even though the IRS allows some online filing, they haven’t made it easy to do your 2007 tax return online. But even if they don’t want it to be convenient, they have made it possible to complete that filing almost entirely via Internet.

The IRS rules are fairly bradley witham complex, but what they boil down to is straightforward: you can do your current taxes online, with the help and blessing of the tax authorities. But if you want to do any obscure, complex, or late filings, you’ll need to jump through some hoops. If you’ve tried to fill out your 2007 tax return online before, you know what that means: they want you to send in a paper copy, along with another form telling them that the current one is late. It might sound like lots of extra work, but it’s actually quite simple.

Of course, the obvious question is: if I could do my 2007 tax return online when it was due, why can’t I do it now? It’s hard to say for sure — late taxes are already more work-intensive than taxes paid on time, so forcing people to do them on paper only compounds the problem. In fact, this might lead the IRS to collect even less money than they’d usually get, since people might steer clear of the late-filing process altogether. But perhaps the IRS thinks it’s better to make it more inconvenient to do your taxes late: if you can’t file them online, they might think, you’re more inclined to fill out your 2007 tax return right when it’s due.