Art Alexion on 18 Mar 2008 12:57:15 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Windows themes (ON-TOPIC, i promise)

On Tuesday 18 March 2008 14:14:39 Andrew Libby wrote:
> Actually, what we should do is try to find a way to get a grant
> so that we can build the system -- and be paid for it!
> The system itself could be GPL, or whatever the best license would be.
> The People make a wise investment.   A few lucky propeller heads get
> a (hopefully) fun and exciting project.
> But then the IRS does not seem to be in the business of making the payment
> of taxes easy or simple.
> I'd certainly be interested in building a facility to make paying taxes
> online easy
> and low cost rather than padding the pockets of TurboTax.
> Any publicly spirited entrepreneurs about the list?
> Andy
> K.S. Bhaskar wrote:
> > I find it rather interesting that we are discussing open source
> > software tol allow us to pay our taxes.  Is anyone else surprised (no,
> > offended) that the IRS does not provide citizens with a way to file
> > taxes electronically except the very simplest tax returns?  I can file
> > my Pennsylvania tax returns electronically, but if I want to file my
> > federal taxes electronically, Uncle Sam requires me to pay an
> > intermediary to file my taxes.  It would save the Government time and
> > money, and it would save me time and money if they allowed me to file
> > my tax returns on the web.
> >
> > Instead of bemoaning the fact that there isn't a Turbo Tax work-alike
> > for Linux, we should put our energy into demanding that the US
> > Government provide us with a way to file our tax returns
> > electronically via a W3C standards compliant web browser.

Bhaskar is right about what **should** be the case.  But where there is a buck 
to be made our government isn't going to stand in the way of enterprise by 
giving away what campaign contributors can sell (sorry for the jaded 
cynicism) Sure there may come a time when the IRS provides this to the public 
for free (i.e. taxpayer subsidized), but it will be a proprietary solution 
that we, as taxpayers, will pay more for than a copy of TurboTax or its 

By the way, PNC Bank provides its customers with free access to a web based 
version of TurboTax.

The best hope as far as I am concerned is a hybrid solution, with the IRS 
providing some standards based set of logical rules, formulae and algorithms 
that proprietary concerns and open source developers can create an interface 
and features for.  That cuts out the need for accountants in the development 
and lessens liability to users.

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