Subject: Re: a bit OT- Fully Open Standards for Citizen-Government
From: DV Henkel-Wallace <>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 10:30:31 -0700

CA tax forms are like this.  The electronic submission form is just the 
figures from the manual form, all in the same location on the paper.

On 15 Apr 2005, at 08:13, Chip Mefford wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Interfacing.
> On CSPAN yesterday, I half-listened while commuting, to a presentation
> having to do with tax collection and management in the United States.
> Presenting was a fellow from Intuit. I felt his presentation was quite
> good, clueful within it's rather narrow scope and informative.
> He gave a stat, that for tax year 2004 (I think) over 50 percent
> of individuals filed their taxes "electronically". As I don't use
> Tax software, I don't completely understand what this means.
> However, he whenged a bit concerning "freeware" (as in beer) lowering
> the bar for the bread-and-butter software his company sells,
> forcing his company to enter the "freeware" with a product that
> will undercut their own corporate health in order to maintain
> a market share.
> I felt his points were valid to a degree. I am not a big fan
> of "freeware" (as in beer) which I also call shovel-ware.
> (seems folks load new computers with all this free garbage,
> requiring a full rebuild upon delivery. Value added). And
> so much of this stuff is just a delivery vehicle for banner
> ads, and other commercial tie-ins. But all of this is beside
> the point.
> Surely, some one is out there, pushing for a Open Standard for
> "documents" with which the citizenry interfaces with it's government.
> In this one particular case, it seems to me, the great unwashed,
> that a simple human-readable, machine parseable flat text
> file, cryptographically signed (or encrypted) is all that is needed.
> A person, such as myself, could do their taxes on paper with a pencil
> as they have for over 30 years, input the data into a script,
> and output a file, that could be delivered as a tax filing return.
> Intuit would sell a software that does this "automatically" and that's
> fine. But I would hope, that I would be able to help in the social
> contract with my government to lower their work by submitting
> data that they can digest more easily WITHOUT having to use any
> proprietary software, unless that is my choice.
> Is anyone on this list aware of group that is lobbying in this
> direction? Doing some work like this? If so, could they please
> share that information? I should like to assist in whatever small
> way I can.
> I think the implications of this is intuit-ivly obvious. (sorry)
> Thanks kindly in advance,
> - --chipper
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