[nSLUG] Taxes and Open Source

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Sun Mar 8 15:47:35 ADT 2009

I think I'm with Hatem on this one. I think open-source tax software
would be great; I think it's not been done because it's considered
boring, and the imagined user-base would likely ask a lot of difficult
questions in a short-tempered way (given the inherent deadlines in tax

> On Sun, Mar 08, 2009 at 01:31:50PM -0400, Jason Kenney wrote:
> If your returns are very simple, you
> can get worksheets to do them on pencil and paper from the government
> for free.  If they're complicated enough to require a computer to
> organize them, who is going to trust some unknown software

I think the place to start for open-source tax software is "simple".
Sure, you can download the forms from the gov't, but as far as taxes
are concerned, I'm Joe Naive. I would love to have a simple program
with a wizard that guided me through the steps.

"Click Next to download the 2008 Canadian Simple Tax Form from
"Please enter your name and address..."
"You should have received a T4 slip from your employer, which looks
something like this [example.png]. If you have a(nother) T4 slip,
enter the number from box ABC: "
"Do you have any T5 slips? These are given out by your banks to cover
interest income [exampleT5.png]. If yes, enter the number from box
...[more stuff]...
Congratulations, your basic tax form is complete. For more complex tax
requirements, please consult an accountant. This program is offered
with no warranty and the authors disclaim any liability from the use
of this software. GPL. Thank you.


2009/3/8 Hatem Nassrat <hnassrat at gmail.com>:
> Open Source doesn't necessarily mean "to work for free", there are many
> open source projects that have the funding to put professionals on their
> payrolls.

> As for the conflict of intrest, i don't see this as being any different
> than a programmer writing free software. [Place all arguments for Open
> Source and Free Software Development Here; s/Programmer/Lawyer]

> I am not saying that it is an easy task, but I think that many Canadians
> would likely want to contribute to such a project. As for the user base,
> i think they will come around [Place arguments here that Linux is more
> reliable than Windoze].

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