OTS Survey Results - So far ...

1. How did you discover OTS ?
Already knew about it Search engine Youtube Friend Facebook Discussion forum News Article IRC 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

2. How many years have you used OTS ?
0 1 years 2 years 3 years 4 years 5 or more years 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

3. Your preferred method of usage ?
GUI only Text Editor Both Don't know 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

4. Which tax forms do you use OTS for ?
Federal only Federal and State State only Don't know 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

5. Coverage: OTS covers ...
Most forms I need Some forms I need Few forms I need Other forms needed 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Other forms needed:
Form 8960 Spillover form for Sched. B; Sched SE Schedule B for amounts earned overseas Forms 8965, 8962 8949, SchE, SchF,1116,4797,8959,8582,8829,4562 Sched E 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

6. What kind of computer(s) do you use OTS on ? (Check all that apply.)
Linux (Mint, Ubuntu, ...) Microsoft Windows Apple Mac OSx, FreeBSD 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

7. Have you had problems with the programs ?
Never Sometimes, but could deal with/fix Sometimes, and not able to fix Always, or major problems 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

8. Ease or difficulty in using OTS ?
Easy to install & use Average, or mixed Difficult to install and/or use Don't know 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

9. Documentation: Web-documentation & Readme.txt files
Adequate Not enough Too much to read. Prefer videos. Don't know. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

10. What other documentation would you like to see ? (Check all that apply.)
How to use it. More details. How to resolve errors. How to run from command-line. How to add new forms. Tax guidelines & help. Detailed design docs. How to modify & re-compile it. Other ? How to contribute (intellectually) to project (write-in) Capital gains and dividends section (write-in) LINE BY LINE INSTRUCTIONS (write-in) 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

11. How do you like the PDF Auto-Fillout Feature ?
Have not tried it. Worked great ! So-so. Had to switch viewers, etc.. Did not work properly for me. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

12. Movies / Youtube-Videos: (Check all that apply.)
I watched video(s) They were helpful Want more videos 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

13. What additional Videos would you like to see ? (Check all that apply.)
More details about how to use it. How to resolve errors. How to run from command-line. How to add new forms. Detailed design overview. Tax filing guides. Other ? 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

14. Would you be interested in a secure Web-based version of OTS for smart-phones, tablets, ChromeBooks ?
Yes No Maybe Don't know 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

15. E-Filing ?
Yes, needed Maybe, but not essential No. Unnecessary or unsafe 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

16. Your overall satisfaction with OTS ? (0=Bad, 5=OK, 10=Excellent)
10 Excellent 9 8 7 6 5 OK 4 3 2 1 0 Bad 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

17. Comments or suggestions for improvement ?

  • Tax guidelines and help sounds good, but I'd rather you focus on improving the program instead of duplicating irs.gov.
  • I prefer written instructions rather than videos.
  • As for more videos, the code is fairly straight forward. leave it.. its VERY easy to understand and grasp very quickly. don't be clever. be clear! :)
  • From my experience, all I needed to do was just explain visually the mechanics of OTS (usually, only took ~2minutes) and friends/new-users were on their way.
  • GUI: Old vs New version - Almost all the non-computer savy people I introduced OTS too, were intimidated by the older version of the GUI. I really like the newer GUI (simpler look, nicer flow, visually applealing). Thanks for all your hard work PS: The explanation about what "??" means (opening pg of the GUI) was helpful (I always forget about it).
  • It's really a joy to see people's faces when they completed their taxes using OTS. Again, Thanks.
  • Make OTS available from the official Debian repositories? It would be nice to get notifications through my normal package manager of updated versions.
  • I'd like an easy way to calculate Sched.A Line 5 sales tax (for states with no income tax, or where taking sales tax on Sched.A may be more beneficial than taking income tax).
  • I started off using OTS to double check my math years ago. Last year and probably this year I'll use the fillable forms from the IRS website. I still use OTS to double check, but I've used it more often the last year or two for projecting tax for the next year to better tune withholdings.
  • It's great for what it can do, but some of the leg work I need to do myself (child tax credit, for example). It has gotten better over the years at doing deductions, capital gains calculations, etc. Thanks for the work, I appreciate it. I bet your market isn't very large and is probably getting smaller each year as more states have become automated (CA, for instance, does most of the work for you now).
  • For me, forcing GUI-only would be a mistake. It would ruin the advantage OTS has over the other ridiculous tax programs by limiting my flexibility in the order of data entry too much.
  • I'm on MS Windows and managed to get in a weird mode where I compute tax and then close the window (top-right-corner force-close window button) and there were junk windows left behind to close. Once I realized hitting the application's "Exit" button avoids this, I was OK :-)
  • Thanks for making this available. This is my first year using OTS and doing my own taxes. Pretty straight forward, and being able to edit the text file in a regular text editor as well as the GUI is really handy. I've not really used the command line tool directly (i.e. only GUI and text file).
  • Moving OTS to public-discussion (e.g. google groups) and git-based development (e.g github) would improve and expand the software at ten times the rate seen in the last 10 years. Consider for example Libreoffice, which is improving fantastically every year since moving to open discussion and contribution. Try it for a couple of years, go back to the closed workflow if it does not work, that would be the scientific way to settle the question.
  • I give this project a "10". This prog is just so easy & straighforward. When there are discreptancies between my math & your prog, I always learn something. Thanks for all your hard work'
  • More State forms.
  • GUI could be improved... of course, functionality is more important.
  • I finished eight returns yesterday for my family using taxact. Works fine but costs more each year. Am sick of keeping a windows system running to do taxes. I use linux for everything else. Just found your application today. Did a test run and it is great. I expect faster than the comercial products even though I can not bring in personal info from prior years. I file montana, ca. va. and wv. I hope you product is available next year. Where can I send a paypal donation to?
  • Addition of "business use of home" would be often used I think.
  • Will definitely put OTS to use this year. Have depended upon working from Excel and Open Office Calc spreadsheets and some Basic programs using past years experience. My income and deduction profile does not vary appreciably from year to year. The only fly in the ointment is I have a partnership for which I have to put together the 1065 k1's.
  • Should consider making OTS spreadsheet based--there are several free spreadsheet apps capable of running simple spreadsheets.
  • More forms, please. For example, last year I used Sched E; and Forms 8949, 8917, 8582, and 4562. You don't have my state, but it's easy enough to do manually.
  • Any chance of adding the following data entries for the US-1040: Line 15b IRA Distributions, Taxable Amount, Line 16b Pensions and Annuities, Taxable Amount, Us retiree's could be a growing segment of your user base! :-)
  • This is my first year really considering OTS, so I gave it a 7. I'd love to see SE, as well. It's pretty simple, so it's not onerous to do manually, but it shouldn't be onerous to program, either.
  • Couldnt find form 1116 foreign tax credit.
  • This an excellent program. It's ease of use provides me with a better method of understanding tax issues from year to year. Thanks to the developers. Keep it moving.
  • Since I have to make up a form 1065 and the resulting k1, I have to do some of the work to translate the results over to the OTS framework. This is not a complaint; it would be difficult for OTS to encompass the needs of LLP and LLC users.
  • Please add IRS Form 8960. Thank you!
  • It's better than when I tried it a few years ago, but I'm not yet sure it will do what I need.
  • Please document process of adding fill-in data to PDF forms. I looked for it but couldn't find anything available.
  • E-filing is both unsafe and outside the niche I believe this program fits. It may also add substantial liability which I would recommend avoiding.
  • I would like to have worksheets included in the generated PDFs, especially capital gains tax computation. The CA 540 could also benefit from a PDF form showing California income adjustments (making it easier to doublecheck calculations). Fantastic project overall! Thanks!
  • Please include Georgia State taxes.
  • Overall a great tool. However OTS does not appear to detect the need to fill out form 8960, a fairly new additional tax on income above a threshold ($200K for Head of Household filer).
  • Although i have an accountant.. I plan on using OTS to double check their numbers, and to give me daily estimates of what my Final taxes are to be every April. But most importantly, I want to use it as "THE CALCULATOR" so i can do what-if scenarios, and regression algorithms on it to optimize my taxes. LEAVE THE COMMANDLINE CODE! its awesome! Text File in Text File Out.. All the "pretty" GUI/PDF stuff..leave Optional. As it currently is.. Thanks!
  • CVS is so ancient! GIT and GITHUB!! probably more visibility, and more contributors!
  • Instead of a mailing list.. how bout a reddit subgroup?
  • I want to address the areas where I gave less than perfect scores. This was the first year I tried it. In the past I have been using paper forms as I use Linux, and won't use web-based on-line apps because I'm afraid they will get hacked.

    The OTS program was fairly easy to get/install. Would be nice if the latest versions were in the Linux repos. Initially I was a little confused as it was not like installing other Ubuntu software.

    The use difficulty was that there was no real help for each line, so I had to keep going back to the correct tax book. After a while, I just gave up. It is vital that there is a good help for each line that explains it. An even better approach is an interview like many of the tax programs use. They ask a lot of questions, and based on the answers, fill out the forms. I will settle for a blue question mark to indicate help that explains (in consumer English) what I need to put into the box.

    The only other rough edge was when the pdf's were created they were not in the order I expected, so I thought something was wrong. I think I would pop a dialog box listing the pdf forms, so I could click to see it. Or, just one pdf for federal and one for state - actually a better idea. The single pdf would have a cover sheet for federal/state and year, then each form starting with the main one.

    On-line filing is not of interest to me because I worry they will be hacked.

    E-filing is of great interest, but not required

    My rating of '4' is mostly due to the fact I had to keep reading federal/state documentation to do my taxes, and a little due to the confusing pdf's. If they get improved, then I will be very happy.

    All that said, I think you are doing a good job and I look forward to using OTS next year.

  • The PDF autofilling improvements are great! I still have to review it (for missed checkboxes, mostly) but it saves a bunch of time.

    I would LOVE an E-Filing option, but would still probably print a set of PDFs for my records.

  • First time user. Worked great - no problems. The pdf feature which transfers data to the forms is super. Using Linux Mint.
  • The GUI could use a lot of structured improvement. You have to be looking at the PDF forms to correctly fill in the lines, especially for form 8949.

    On the PDF side, the dollars and cents need to be separated on either side of the vertical bar for form 6251 and schedule B. Negative sign within brackets is unnecessary (schedule D).

  • Thanks very much for this wonderful software.
  • The auto-filled forms appeared unfilled when opened with Adobe Reader. Was able to correctly view (and print) the auto-filled forms using SumatraPDF viewer.
  • Include checksum and digital signature with download so user can verify file has not been tampered with. This is important considering the sensitive data that goes into a tax form. Thanks to the developers for all their excellent work on this project!

    {Checksums are provided. See them by mousing-over the download links. --Aston.}

  • Little bit more description for line items might be helpful. Lines for check boxes for marital status, exemptions, ACA should be added (easy to miss when reviewing printouts!), and refund direct deposit account #'s. Also add 8949 stock sale description box entry.
  • Reading is faster than seeing a video, but a video does show what works well.
  • It's really quite easy to use--perhaps easier than my last commercial solution. When there were problems, you were quite helpful except when you couldn't get around to adding a couple of forms late in the season. I survived; they were generally easy forms.
  • I /might/ use a Web-based solution, but security is an issue. What about using a Google Doc for the file storage, letting Google manage security except for the time the app is calculating. Still, I'm more confident in a program running on my computer that I can examine and recompile than an app that's doing something I can't easily see.
  • As I recall, last year's version for Schedule B didn't include amounts less than $10 in the sum if they didn't fit on the form, but I think they're supposed to be included.

    {All amounts are summed, but might not have fit on PDF form. --Aston.}

  • It would be nice to be able to have comments in the input files. Thanks for doing this!

    {You can put comments in the input files. Assume you are requesting more help-comments in the template forms. --Aston.}

  • Wonderful that you cover so many of the major forms. And totally free. An idea to support the extra forms being requested would be for you, or anyone actually, to add them for a small fee. Wouldn't take much, since all the infrastructure is already there. This would help fund your project, while providing more forms.
  • This is extremely useful mostly as a tax planning tool. Thank you for maintaining it. Last year I used OTS to get my final taxes dialed in, then manually filled in the forms at eFile to actually file., but having the pdf forms from OTS was still very useful. The most helpful addition would be a mid-december release of a preliminary version for the new year's taxes to help with year end planning.'

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