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Re: GNU/Linux taxed in Poland ?! (fwd)

On Tue, Nov 14, 2000 at 12:57:20PM +0100, Marek Habersack wrote:
> > you will have a receipt for a software CD called Debian GNU/Linux.
> > that's what it cost you to buy it, including the cost of materials
> > and the cost of the license.

> I'm wondering whether it could be proved that one had some substantial
> expenses even downloading the software - after all, the time spent
> downloading it is directly measurable using a simple calclulation of time
> vs. e.g. leased line cost :)). That way you could prove you spent some real
> money on downloading, say, 2Gigs of Debian :)

i don't know how much internet access costs in poland, but that could
end up costing as much as, or maybe more than, just buying NT or
whatever....and possibly incur a greater tax liability.

IMO (and IANAL or a polish tax expert) the thing to do is to ignore
the "license" issue and just focus on the price of the CD. the tax
department aren't the software license police - they don't and shouldn't
care whether you are running licensed or pirated software, they should
only care about income, expenses, and profit.

> > importantly, it also establishes that MS software is not an
> > appropriate reference for price.  MS Windows etc cost hundreds of
> > dollars.  A Debian CD costs $2.
> Craig, we're talking tax collectors here... they're really dumb in
> that matter. They ask their specialists "hey, Frankie, what's the
> most popular software on the PC server market?", and Frankie says
> "Why, it's M$ Windows NT!". Then the taxie just takes NT pricelist
> and uses that as a reference.  And they don't give a damn about GPL
> and stuff. Besides, in mentality of many people and particularily
> those involved in finance, there's NO such thing as free software - it
> simply doesn't fit their view of the world.

yeah, i know. but they can only do that kind of thing if there isn't an
established market price for the item in question. e.g. they couldn't
get away with deeming a $2 hamburger to be worth $20 because real
restaurants are more popular than hamburger shops and $20 is what a real
restaurant would charge for steak dianne (which is sort of vaguely like
a burger...to a tax inspector's eyes anyway :)

> [snip]
> > btw, another possible line of argument is that free software is not
> > a personal gift, it is a gift to the public of the world - anyone,
> > anywhere is licensed to use it at no cost. it's like a public park, not
> > like an individual present.
> yes, but you don't have profits out of a public park. 

the thing is that free software is like a public good, which everyone
already owns. everyone has a license to use it and copy it and modify
it, whether they choose to take advantage of that license or not. (this,
of course, means that the tax office also has a license to use it and
should therefore start taxing themselves :)


ps: yes, i know we're talking about tax office bureaucrats here rather
than any kind of logical thinking people....but their world-view is so
bizarrely distorted it needs to be refuted just on general principles.

craig sanders

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