One of the most important needs of this, or any, open source tax project, is forms testing. Inputs from a given
taxpayer should result in the same output values no matter which tax program one uses (presuming there are no
special algorithms in play to look for and maximize deductions). This is where we need the most help.
In the case of this project, in addition to testing forms as they are created to ensure that the calculations are
happening correctly, we have run a few cases of different fictitious tax-payers to see whether the numbers
are consistent with what is expected. However, we are just now starting to test TaxGeek against other
tax software to validate our results. This may be the easiest way to quickly determine the accuracy of TaxGeek.
However, the Gold Standard for tax software testing is what is known as PATS (Participant Acceptance Testing
System). TaxGeek is not at this point an IRS approved program, but to get there (if ever we do), we would need to
show that our product passes PATS. The test scenarios offered up by the IRS are located
here. The IRS has listed
a number of test cases which all approved software must pass. At this juncture, since we do not support e-filing,
nor do we support all of the IRS forms, only a portion of such tests could, theoretically, be run successfully.
Update: Sadly, the IRS has discontinued the use of answer files. As such, this year we shall be running
our data through competing tax packages where possible to ensure that we get the same results.
If you are interested in doing such testing, please do the following:
- Download TaxGeek
- Get some test data
- Run the test data
- And let me (niiler - at- users .dot. sourceforge *dot* net) know about the results by specifying
- Which test was run
- Did TaxGeek pass (i.e. all calculations/lines were correct?)
- If TaxGeek didn't pass, which lines were calculated incorrectly?