Be Free from Imposed Tax Software: IRPF-Livre 2008 liberated
Campinas, Brazil, April 25, 2008---FSFLA is honored to announce the availability of a completely Free program to prepare Natural Person's Income Tax (IRPF) returns for 2008 in the standards set by the Brazilian Receita Federal. It's a major step with regards to transparency, safety, freedom and respect to the taxpayer, on whom the non-Free Software IRPF2008 was imposed by Receita Federal.
"In 2007 it was much easier", says Alexandre Oliva, FSFLA board member who's worked in the development of IRPF-Livre. Although Receita Federal's IRPF2007 didn't respect taxpayers' safety and freedom, copyrights over several Free Software packages used in IRPF2007, and even the Federal Constitution, due to a number of details it was relatively easy to turn it into Free Software, technically and legally safe.
In spite of some progress in IRPF2008's respect for third parties' copyrights, there were significant regressions as well. More serious were the regressions in respect for taxpayers and for the transparency principle established in the Federal Constitution. "It would still be possible to decompile, with some additional effort, the binary code obfuscated by Receita Federal", explains Oliva, "but the resulting source code wouldn't be Free, because of arbitrary decisions in the licensing of the 2008 version that amount to even more violation of third parties' copyrights."
The solution we found was to update IRPF2007-Livre, published by FSFLA a year ago, as needed to generate tax returns files for 2008, indistinguishable from those prepared by Receita Federal's IRPF2008. To this end, it was necessary to run the non-Free IRPF2008, making the only socially-beneficial use of non-Free Software: the use in developing its Free replacement.
Although the program has worked perfectly preparing Oliva's returns, it may still lack adaptations to cover other situations. Our suggestion is that the returns file be prepared for submission using IRPF-Livre 2008, then compared with the file generated by IRPF2008, as per instructions detailed in the program itself. Any differences would indicate an error we'd like to fix. In the absence of differences, there's complete trust on the integrity of the declaration prepared with Free Software.
Unfortunately, this scenario is far from ideal. Instead of wasting efforts finding out and duplicating software development work already done by Receita Federal, it would be far more efficient if Receita Federal itself published as Free the software it develops and that belongs to the public, and all of us could help improve it, rather than competing with it.
The stated security reasons that allegedly prevent this publication, besides the technical implausibility, are not confirmed by internal sources involved in the development and maintenance of the non-Free IRPF. This puts us at ease to one more time offer Brazilian taxpayers the ability to fill in their IRPF returns in safety and freedom.
It's a software development project to prepare Natural Person's Income Tax returns in the standards defined by the Brazilian Receita Federal, but without the technical and legal insecurity imposed by it.
IRPF-Livre is Free Software, that is, software that respects users' freedom to run it for any purpose, to study its source code and adapt it to their needs, and to distribute copies, modified or not.
The program can be obtained, both in source and Java object code forms
at the following location:
About FSFLA's Campaign against Softwares Impostos
We understand the Brazilian law, particularly the Federal Constitution, grant preference to Free Software in the public administration, both internally, for compliance with constitutional principles, and in interactions with citizens, for respect for their fundamental constitutional rights and for compliance with the same and other constitutional principles.
This campaign, started in October, 2006, seeks to educate public
administration managers about these obligations that are beneficial
both to citizens and to the public administration itself, such that
they pay attention not only to compliance with the law, but also to
respect for citizens and for digital freedom.
http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/anuncio/2007-03-irpf2007 (in Portuguese)
About Free Software Foundation Latin America
FSFLA joined in 2005 the FSF network, previously formed by Free Software Foundations in the United States, in Europe and in India. These sister organizations work in their corresponding geographies towards promoting the same Free Software ideals and defending the same freedoms for software users and developers, working locally but cooperating globally. For more information about FSFLA and to contribute to our work, visit our web site at http://www.fsfla.org or write to email@example.com.
Board member, FSFLA
+55 19 9714-3658 / 3243-5233
+55 61 4063-9714
Copyright 2008 FSFLA
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