Open Season on Tax Software

posted in: Linux, Software, Ubuntu | 0

Tax software is a big deal, and now that it’s a sure cash cow come the new year, everybody wants a piece – and everybody has an opinion.

In comparing different versions of popular Tax Prep software, TurboTax seems to be the favorite. I have little interest in testing HR Block’s Johnny come lately TaxCut and is the world really ready for TaxAct? Maybe. I found this Forbes’ article the most informative on the future of personal tax software as well as this article from delewareonline which offered some insightful approaches to cutting costs at tax time.

Currently, Intuit is the only major company writing / supporting Tax Software for the Mac, so that’s a lock for TurboTax but here’s another question…

When is someone going to take a chance on an open source tax solution? Seems to me, the average PC user does not want to file their taxes with someone that is giving away the software, which can be said for anything in the open source realm. How is this different for the software provider? If they have experience in filing personal taxes, they can use the code they write or that is generated by the open source tax crowd – but it’s a long shot in bringing it to the masses considering the foothold that other more popular MS based systems currently maintain.

Especially when one has to consider that established tax prep software companies traditionally generate revenue from selling licenses. Do they want to commit resources to technology upgrades on a public platform? Highly unlikely.

While this is more of a closing argument for these already rapidly growing companies – leaving me to wave my linux flag somewhere else, I still believe that there is a way – there is another…

Check out the Taxcode Software Foundation – If anyone has a chance of pulling this off, they do. In looking through the forums and the general layout of the site, things are off to a slow start. I have to wonder – what is the niche of tax professionals that have the time to devote to writing code, keeping pace with the malestrom of new tax policy and trying to scratch out a day to day existence?

Geeks still have to file taxes, so there is a way. Perhaps this is the start of something special…

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