Wednesday 4 April 2007

For Once I Agree with Jack Layton of the NDP

I didn't think it would happen but if what Jonathan Chevreau says is true in his April 3 blogpost about comments made by Jack Layton leader of the federal NDP party then I have to say I agree wholeheartedly. The comments in question are that the Canada Revenue Agency should provide tax calculation software for download or as a web application for free to every citizen / taxpayer. After all, the CRA provides the paper forms for free. All we taxpayers are doing by using the commercial tax packages is data entry for the CRA and paying for the privilege!

The CRA is partly along that path that would be necessary to develop free software for taxpayers since it has developed comprehensive test suites for certifying the commercial packages. Since the CRA seems to be stuck on saying no to going the rest of the way, perhaps the next best alternative is for people to develop their own. There is one free package out there that is Netfile certified called StudioTax but it has a few situations it won't handle (see this CRA webpage for details). Is it time for a true public, permanently free version under open source licensing to be created? Any views out there? Are there software developers and accountants willing to work on creating such software?


Anonymous said...

I fully agree, and have been doing my taxes by paper in protest since I turned 17. Although my situation is getting pretty complicated to do over paper, I held out at least one more year before I cave.

CanadianInvestor said...

So as someone formerly in the software business do you think it's worth doing an open source tax program?

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