2014-04-28

Filing the PIT from Mac OS X

If you are security-conscious, you probably have limited all kind of things that Adobe Reader can do (Javascript, opening links, …). Probably also in you browser configuration (plugin activation or even desinstallation), you OS configuration (limiting which programs can run and when, uninstalling things, etc).

You might even have a Mac. ;P

But then some program comes around which just assumes things to be standard and doesn’t try too hard to adapt to anything. Like the e-Deklaracje program used for filling in the tax documents in Poland (PIT-37 in my case). Made with Adobe AIR, and needed (?) to minimize the red tape, so the fuckers can count on the user doing whatever is necessary to appease the monster.

The first couple of years I used a Virtual Machine with Windows XP for those things. But already for the last couple of years I have managed to do everything in Mac OS X; I only have to remember all the little tweaks that have to be done or undone so the e-Deklaracje program runs successfully. So here's the (partial?) list.

So, the thing is every option has to be set into pretty much the most permissive possibility. Note that there are so many options along the way that checking how they interact would be too much work; so I am not totally sure that everything I list here is needed. I only know that when all of this is set like this, e-Deklaracje does work.

Make sure that the Adobe Reader plugin is installed in /Library/Internet Plugins; it surely got there when you instaled Adobe Reader, unless you specifically went in to delete or disable it, as I had done.
(One note here: looks like once you install Adobe Reader without the Internet plugin, the normal installer will refuse to run, saying that you already have installed the application. So if you want to install the plugin, you have to either get ride of the installed Reader, or download the full Adobe Reader offline installer)

In Adobe Reader’s preferences, enable JavaScript, and in the Internet section, enable the plugin - if that option appears. This is “funny”, because sometimes you are presented with a checkbox, but sometimes with just some descriptive text. I am not sure what causes the change. Right now for me it shows the text, saying that “the browser will use Acrobat Reader”.
In the Security (Enhanced) section, I have it enabled.
(Want to have a chuckle? There is a link right there saying “What is Enhanced Security?”, which takes you to the browser, where you are warned that you are opening a page at adobe.com... with a self-signed certificate for “localhost”!)

In the Trust Manager section, in Internet Access check your settings. e-Deklaracje is shown there as allowed to do what it pleases, I don’t know if I was asked about it some past year or if it just put itself there somehow. Also make sure that if a PDF tries to send information to the net, it will ask, not block unconditionally.
In the Forms section I have “Automatically calculate field values”, and to show everything.

And finally make sure that Safari has all its plugin and security settings allowing Acrobat Reader to do its thing: I had to enable the plugin in the Plugin Manager in the Security preferences (it had been disabled by Safari because it does not allow for the highest security settings). Note, even if you don’t use Safari this can be necessary, since Safari does supply in fact some flavor of OS-wide internet settings.

…and I think that is all.

Just remember to lock down again everything when you finish! Personally, I disable Javascript in Adobe Reader's preferences, and manually move the AdobePDF* files from /Library/Internet plug-ins into a folder I made named "Internet plug-ins DISABLED". That way the PDF viewer native to each browser works again.

One more thing: The e-Deklaracje application doesn't seem to be really necessary, though it helps you manage other forms and all the process and history. All the filling-in of the forms themselves can be done by plain Acrobat Reader, so you only need to get the PDF document for your PIT. I am not sure about the sending step, but I seem to remember from other years that it could be also done either from Reader itself, or from the e-Deklaracje website.

EDITED on 2015: an earlier version of this post mentioned some extra settings, but I deleted them when I could ascertain that they are not necessary for e-Deklaracje to work.

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