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Journal Journal: Well, here's Sidney

Well, here it is. After eight months since the free tax filing project was announced, and over a year's work on the system before that, we've finally gone into a release. I'm not sure whether to be elated or exhausted.

Someone was asking what it was we'd been working on, so here's the potted history: I work for a Philadelphia consultancy called Solutions for Progress, as a Perl programmer. Part of what SfP does is try to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor in the US. So we've had a mod_perl program for a number of years that helps you file your taxes, and figures out what government money you're entitled to, and it has always done all this at no cost to the end user. This has always been done through community groups, but in 2008 we will hopefully be opening this up for general release on the web. This year, to prepare for that, we're letting people just use the tax part: it will help you file your taxes for free, so you don't have to pay out any refund money to preparers, but:

1. Because this year is a preliminary release, it's limited to 75,000 users total.
2. Because we're about reducing the gap between rich and poor, there is an income limit. This year it's $52,000. If you don't fit under that limit, you probably know people who do.
3. Every state does state income tax differently. The program knows how to file state income tax in PA, DC, MD, OH and MS. Also, AK, FL, NV, SD, TX, WA and WY are okay because they don't have state income tax. If you live anywhere else, the program can help you do federal taxes, but you will have to figure out state taxes without the program's help.

Everyone working in the US should have their W2s by the end of the month. So, when you do, go on, try it out, have fun, and if you like it, tell your friends, tell your grandparents, please post links in your own journals and communities and forums and things, digg/reddit/ it... you get the idea.

And the site's called Sidney.

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