[nSLUG] Taxes and Open Source

Joshua B. juggins at gmail.com
Mon Mar 9 16:55:40 ADT 2009


On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 3:35 PM, Hatem Nassrat <hnassrat at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 08, 2009 at 01:31:50PM -0400, Jason Kenney wrote:
>> It's not that they don't provide a warranty.  It's that you need tax
>> professionals to make something decent.  Ie, You need some accountants
>> and some lawyers willing to donate their time (every year to update in
>> order to stay useful to boot) in order to put out a free product, that
>> likely conflicts with their own business.

> 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]

Yeah, I'd be up for it. I'm not quite a lawyer yet but I survived
three years of law school including "Personal Tax 101". I also know
plenty of law students who believe in open source and in working for
the "public good".

I imagine these commercial tax applications are probably pretty
simple. I'm sure an open-source team to devise a specification by
simply starting with the paper forms. I suspect that even the
commercial ones are equipped to deal with a certain segment of the
tax-filing population before they spit out a recommendation to talk to
a tax advisor or lawyer.

>> If you are serious about starting a project, I'd suggest you give a
>> read through the Income Tax Act:

I would not endorse this course of action. Rather download the paper
forms from CRA's website, arrange them into a set of alternative
flow-charts so that you have some basic work-flows that would cover
the majority of people who can and ought to do their own taxes.

>> http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/ShowFullDoc/cs/I-3.3///en.  (Yes, all of
>> it).  If that doesn't strike fear in your heart, then you're made of
>> sterner stuff than I.
(and I, but that shouldn't be the point).

> 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].

Sign me up!



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