Electronic tax return made on Linux

Published on Sat 11 of Feb, 2006

Since three years it is possible in germany to make one's tax return online without having to print anything or even running to the post office. It's not a web interface, but a special program, called Elster Formular:

Elster Homepage

One of the main problems with this solution is, that there is no Linux version of this program - it is completely tailored for Windoze users. (More severe is, that it is no free solution, but well... let's start small.. ;) ).
Lately I experimented with Wine again, mainly because I needed to use Flash for a university project. Because I heard a lot about WineTools, I also installed them and was amazed. Install of core Windows components was no hassle (I now have IE running here for cross testing web-site designs.. yes, it sadly is a core component ;) ). Perhaps even a little more interesting was the choice to install some mysterious DCOM on which Elster Formular relies and therefore refused to install on Wine in my first try. Looking some further I even found Elster Formular in the list of supported programs!

Well, now today I again had to do my monthly tax return and went to try it out with Wine. Doh, WineTools installed last years version - ok, get the latest from the Elster webpage - install - no problem!! :)
Then doing the tax computation. I had some flickering, but I have that with IE, too. I guess, it's because of my graphics driver - my bro has no problems with flickering in IE. Apart from that everything went smooth as a baby's butt. Great! :)

Don't get me wrong - we need a native Linux solution and we need a free solution - but this is great news never the less! :)

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Born, went to school, started hacking on free software, did some major high availability sysadmin work in between, now back to my original passion: managing knowledge. :) -- Long CV

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