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TaxGeek News

TaxGeek07.04 has been released as the last major release prior to taxtime. The ever problematic Schedule D has been updated to pass through line 18 and 19 variables into 1040 as globals, and will now print PDFs under short/long term loss/gain conditions. Additionally, SSN validation has been added to most forms to assuage users' ire :-). Again, thanks to everyone who has helped in the debugging process. This program would not be nearly as reliable without such help.

TaxGeek07.03 has been released as a bugfix release to TaxGeek07.02. Major changes include better support for overrides on Form 1040, a script that is more robust, and improvements to Form 2441. New users or individuals with errors should download this version, whereas users of TaxGeek07.02 can download the patch tg07.02.patch1 which is the equivalent. Thanks to all testers (especially crowbert and trousermonkey) for their hard work.

We are pleased to announce the first public release of TaxGeek07. It is late in coming, but (we feel), significantly better than last year's product with more testing, the introduction of form overrides for calculated fields, and several more forms that are supported. Please visit our downloads page to obtain a copy.

After a long delay, TaxGeek07pre, a testers only release, is out. Please go to our downloads page to get it. Other than being an update of all the forms that were available last year, this release has several major changes: Please download and try this out. I will be watching the forums for bug reports.

For information about TaxGeek07pre, a testers only release, click here. At the current rate, I would expect this testing release to be out by about January 15, 2008. At that point, we will start watching the forums and our email for bug reports, and also initiate testing using the PATS data from the IRS (although, as before, we do not do eFiling!). The tentative release of TaxGeek07a is expected to be on or about January 31, when your employer owes you your W-2 Forms.

Work is underway on the 2007 release of TaxGeek. We'll be doing some reorganization of the site to make it more useful/informative to developers and users in the short term. For the time being, the progress of forms development for 2007 will be noted here.
DevTools07bTim *Helps with new forms design
*Allows developers to diff PDFs from 2006 to 2007
*Enables flattening of IRS forms so that PDF::Reuse can work
*Merges old coord files with upgraded files
*Enables coord registration of forms
Form 1040TimWorking on overrides
Schedule RRachaelDesigning/developing

This was sent to me by someone from the Vermont Department of Taxes:

Vermont releases Gateway as an open source project.
Montpelier, Vermont, United States - 17. Jun 2007 : The Vermont Department of Taxes Gateway Team is pleased to announce the initial open source release of Gateway. Gateway is a JavaEE application developed by the Vermont Department of Taxes. It provides a web services framework for accepting Streamlined Sales Tax registrations and returns. It also includes a web interface for manually submitting transmissions. The goal is to build an extensible framework upon which future tax services can be built.

Many states have struggled implementing Streamlined Sales Tax and other XML-based electronic return systems. The Vermont Department of Taxes is venturing into the open source arena in an effort to improve interstate collaboration on development projects. Gateway is built leveraging a number of open source technologies, and using open source tools. It is designed to be easily modified and easily extended for use in other states.

The Vermont Department of Taxes Gateway Team is sharing this development work in hopes that it will help other states accomplish their goals while reducing costs for everyone.

More information can be found at the Gateway project website at

As tax-year 2006 comes to a close, we will be catching our collective breaths for the next week or so. I will be grading my students's exams, submitting final grades, and working more on my biomechanics research. My wife will be enjoying my company in the evenings again, and I will be checking the tracker and forums a bit less compulsively. That said, plans are underway for the 2007 tax year. At this point the goals are relatively simple and apply to the 2006 tax year:

In short, there is quite a job sheet. By the time November 2006 rolls around it will be time to Thanks to everyone who participated this year and who submitted patches, bug reports, or feedback of any sort. Check back here for progress reports over the summer.

Version 06e is released. This is the last update prior to April 17th that is planned. There are many more bug fixes (thanks everyone!) and some new features. Please see the page here to see the numerous changes, updates and checks. This page will continue to be updated as work on 06f begins.

If you look at the TaxGeek website or that of OpenTaxSolver, you'll see that both are distrustful of some of the big tax software companies' online products. Friends have asked me to justify my suspicions, and until now, it has always been a what-if scenario. This news item mentions tax-software developers' worst fears: compromised user identity. This is probably a fear beyond that of getting your users' taxes wrong. So on one hand, I want to say "I told you so", but on the other hand, I think this is a lesson to all of us.

TaxGeek06e-pre is out. This is the result of 48 hours of crazy coding and testing. Improvements include:

This is probably the best release to date. Testers should download it to be as up-to-date as possible. Intrepid users who can't wait another 24-48 hours for the final pre-April 17th release can also give it a try. But realize that all the testing is not done.

TaxGeek06e-testing-only is out. If you are interested in testing this and submitting bugs over the next 48 hours, please download and do your worst. We want to know what breaks before people start submitting their taxes for real. It is known that the new forms will calculate proper values, but *will not* print to PDF. This will be taken care of shortly. Update: please see this page for updates to the testing progress.

Help! While on one hand we are pleased with the response that TG has garnered over the last month, we are somewhat chagrined by the bugs that have been found in certain areas over the last month. Everyone has been very understanding about the nature of TG in that it is in alpha-development and that there are definite risks to using it which increase based on the complexities of ones taxes. A fair number of you have also submitted excellent patches to make the program better.

We are aiming for one more official pre-April 17th release. We'd like to make it as bug-free as possible so that now, in the eleventh hour, people might actually be able to depend on TG not to eat their taxes. As such, this evening, I will release TaxGeek-06e-testing-only.

Any of you who are still on board to help out are invited to a "test-fest" over the next 24-48 hours to deep-six any of the bugs before they bite. I will post specifics about testing and some of the IRS testing scenarios. Please use the development group to communicate any issues that are found so that we can make an open-source product that is dependable.

Again, thanks for all your patience and help!

We are working on getting out the next version 06e by Tuesday, April 10. This version will add support for Form 8319: Federal Telephone Excise Tax Credits; Form 2439: Notice to Shareholder of Undistributed Long-Term Capital Gains; Form 4136: Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels; Form 8885: Health Coverage Tax Credit; Form W-2G: Certain Gambling Winnings; Form 1098: Mortgage Interest Statement; Form 1098-C: Contributions of Motor Vehicles; Form 1098-E: Student Loan Interest Statement; Form 1099-DIV: Dividend income; and Form 1099-INT: Interest income. There are some slightly new things under the hood that will enable us to be more productive with future forms, and there are the normal bug-fixes. The release is behind schedule, and yet slightly rushed as tax-day approaches. As such over-rides will wait until later.

The first update to version 06d has been released. This update addresses largely cosmetic issues with printing PDFs and makes them nicer to look at. For a full update on changes, see the alert page.

Slashdotted! At least the news is out there finally. Welcome everyone! Please feel free to look around, and submit feature requests or bug reports as needed to the forums. The plan is to make this program a community effort since the big corporations won't support Linux.

TaxGeek06d, a major release with *numerous* bug fixes, more extensive testing based on the IRS PATS (Participants Acceptance TeSting) test input suite, improvements to the user interface, and more supported forms, has been released. Several additional forms have been introduced as well. UPDATE: We have used the PATS test data and outputs. We have *not* been certified by the IRS in any way, shape, or form at this point!

TaxGeek06c is out. This is a major release in that it addresses a number of bugs and adds support to two more forms. Upgrades are strongly encouraged. See the release notes for a list of additional features and bugs that have been addressed.

Please see our alert page for critical bugs. TaxGeek is still alpha software and should only be used with care. We will try to publish any bugs that may affect your return as soon as possible and release fixes as soon as we are able.

A minor release, TaxGeek06b, is out. This release addresses some minor cosmetic bugs in Form 1040, and adds a new Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits for all you solar energy fans out there. We are working on adding Forms 2106 and 8853 as well, but are running into some snags. Stay tuned if you need these.

In addition to the release of TaxGeek06a, the first of the 2006 tax year, I'm excited to be finally getting some assistance with the project. As part of an independent study, a computer science student from Lincoln University will be helping me with maintenance and upgrades. Realistically, this means that bug fixes will happen more quickly, more forms will be supported, and the promised rewrite of the calculation engine (so that you don't have to open a form to get it to update) will probably begin.

One of the reasons I started this project is because I felt it was ridiculous that people in the US have to pay money to have their taxes filed in a relatively modern way. Most other countries' tax services provide free tax programs for their citizens to use. If you're not a die-hard Linux user and have the time (meaning you'd just as soon pass on using TaxGeek), I've learned of a free program in this country sponsored by AARP:

From February 1 through April 15th each year, the AARP Tax-Aide program offers free one-on-one counselling, as well as assistance on the telephone and internet to help individuals prepare basic tax forms, including the 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ and other standard schedules.
My understanding from my father who is a volunteer, is that this is free regardless of your income level unlike the free tax filing offered by other unnamed companies.

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