open data

Free the 990! Why Searchable Tax Forms Are Way More Important Than They Sound

Originally published on Inside Philanthropy on June 22, 2015. Named one of the Five Best Ideas of the Day by The Aspen Institute, cross-posted on Time

One rabble rouser has been trying to get the IRS to make individual nonprofit tax forms available in an electronic format anyone can easily search. What may seem to a casual observer like a minor battle would actually be revolutionary for the entire sector.

Quick disclosure: I hate 990s. Not the concept of them, of course, as they are the chief method of accountability that nonprofits entities must file annually in exchange for tax exemption. But I hate just about everything else about them.

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Boston Programmers Join International Push for Open Government Data

Originally published in Open Media Boston by Tate Williams (Staff), Feb-26-13

BOSTON - Hidden within the endless bytes of government data is information on everything from how corporations are influencing the votes of politicians, down to when the next bus will arrive.

But even if governments make data available to the public in a clear and accessible way (which is often not the case), there is still a mountain of information to process that, for citizens and government staff alike, is often far too much to approach in a useful way.

That’s the problem that Open Data Day—an annual event of more than 100 affiliated hackathons around the world that took place over the weekend, including one in Boston—hopes to tackle.

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