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CopyPasteTaxes.com

The official Scroll of the CopyPasteTaxes project.

Questions to Figure Out

February 22, 2021 β€”

At this stage there are more questions than answers.

What are the main compile targets?

Another way to ask this questionβ€”what are all the forms that the IRS accepts from citizens that the citizen has to fill out?

These forms can be thought of as the "compile targets". CopyPasteTaxes will be a Tree Language that "compiles" (aka generates) these final forms.

These forms may be PDF. Or maybe XML. Or JSON. Or something else. I'm not sure what the IRS accepts. This is something to figure out.

It will be good to see how many types of forms there are, who files what, and how many are filed each year (and trends).

What are the supporting forms the IRS accepts?

These would be things like W2's and 1099's. How many of these types of forms are there?

How many does the average citizen send in each year?

My guess is these forms we just need to understand in terms of what fields we'd need to extract for the language for copying into the compile targets.

What are the checklists?

Who has made some great checklists on every workflow that can happen with the IRS?

What are the formulas and business logic?

This one will probably be a real snoozer. What are the all calcuations necessary to help figure out the right numbers to put in the compile targets?

How are things different for personal vs business taxes?

Should CopyPasteTaxes only do personal taxes? What about for self-employed people? It may be hard to only do personal, as that might exclude self-employed people, who may be the ones who most need CopyPasteTaxes.

How can CopyPasteTaxes generate state tax returns?

Federal is first, but then how can we make it so we compile to other state level targets as well?

How can CopyPasteTaxes help with self-employment taxes?

Should CopyPasteTaxes help with itemized expenses? What would that entail? Would a sub DSL for receipts make sense?

What are the key dates to be aware of?

Everyone knows April 15th. What are the other dates to have on the calendar?

Alternatives to CopyPasteTaxes and Related Links

February 9, 2021 β€”

Here is a list of alternatives considered and related links.

  • https://github.com/thegrims/UsTaxes
  • https://sites.google.com/view/incometaxspreadsheet/home
  • https://www.freetaxusa.com/
  • https://docassemble.org/ (looks really cool, just would be a lot better with Tree Notation under the hood and not YAML)
  • https://www.propublica.org/series/the-turbotax-trap (Reading about the industry)
  • https://openfisca.org/en/
  • https://github.com/MLanguage/mlang

Crowdfunding Campaign Launches

February 6, 2021 β€”

Today I launched a crowdfunding campaign as one way to gauge interest in the CopyPasteTaxes project.

If we can get to $50,000, this will become a real thing.

Subreddit, Twitter, and GitHub launched

February 6, 2021 β€”

In addition to the GitHub, today I created a Subreddit and Twitter for the CopyPasteTaxes project.

I am confident in the technology and believe if we can build a community we can solve this problem for the American people.

Announcing CopyPasteTaxes

February 6, 2021 β€”

Your taxes should be a single text file that is easy to read. You should be able to use a nice spreadsheet to do it or a plain old notepad. Filling out your taxes each year should mostly just be updating a few lines in that text/file, and copy pasting the whole thing into IRS.gov. Experts who understand the deductions should be able to provide snippets that you can copy/paste into your taxes.

The whole thing should take just a few minutes per year, and you should be able to do it yourself, for free, if you so choose.

Proof of Concept

A tiny demonstration of how it will work can be found here.

The Plan

Here's the plan.

βœ… Start the community

βœ… Build a dumb little working demo

βœ… Make a screencast

βœ… Launch a $50K crowdfunding campaign to see if people care

πŸ”² If enough people care, build the thing.

πŸ”² If not, return to other things.

About CopyPasteTaxes

This is a community project to build a public domain open source tax engine so all Americans can do their taxes using simple copy and paste.

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