Types of reports required

Jason Rennie jrennie@ai.mit.edu
Sat, 15 Jul 2000 22:22:38 -0400

Am Son, 02 Jul 2000 schrieb Robert:
> * Tax-related transactions?  Basically
> just a transaction report with
> 	appropriate accounts selected.  Do we want to do this?  Not
> 	straight away, to be honest - too risky! 

Might it be worthwhile to have a property for each account that indicates 
whether or not the account is tax-related?  We might even want to make it 
specific to the acc. type.  i.e. if "Income" is chosen as the account 
type, show a checkbox that says "Taxable Income"?

Am Son, 02 Jul 2000 schrieb Robert:
> *Investment Income Report - Dividends
> 	                   (taxable/non-taxable)
>  			  -Interest (taxable/non-taxable)
> 		          - capital gains
> 		           redistribution
> 			  - expenses.  
>                            - realized/unrealized
> 			    gain loss.   

poldiwinkler@ngi.de said:
> FIFO - first in, first out  - that should be the rule! 

You can't safely make that assumption.  U.S. taxes allow you to match up 
buys and sells to reduce gains (compared to what you would be paying with 
FIFO or some other simple algorithm).  Maybe we could allow the user to 
choose one of three or four cost basis calculation styles?

Am Son, 02 Jul 2000 schrieb Robert:
> Instead, we need to give the ability for our 
> users to save report options.  As we already have global options 
> saving code, I can't see this being a huge problem.  In that way,  
> users can select the categories and dates that should be included in 
> the reports to make their own "tax reports" - or anything else.   
> To make this easier, we need to be able to specify dates in a relative
> manner, such as "this month" or "current accounting period". 

Yup.  We should definitely have something like this.  I'd suggest having
"Report Templates" (e.g. investment income, incompe/expense, budget,
etc.), "Reports" (report template coupled with user-specified options) and
"Statements" (equivalent to the papers the bank sends you every month).  
It would be good to make these distinctions and to allow Reports and 
Statements to be saved.  Report Templates would be built into GNUCash.

Am Son, 02 Jul 2000 schrieb Robert:
> Quicken defaults
> to assuming to a FIFO discipline, but lets you specify explicitly if
> you wish.  Accordinging to a friend who works at a big stockbroking
> house, they use an weighted-cost (so the cost of the sold 25 shares
> would be deemed to be $2.25) system.

poldiwinkler@ngi.de said:
> FIFO is OK! 

So, the book that I've read most recently on Money ("Making the Most of
Your Money" by Jane Bryant Quinn) describes two systems for keeping stock/
mutual fund tax records.  The first is the weighted-cost method (called 
"Average Basis" by Quinn).  Average Basis matches the weighted-cost 
system Am Son describes.  The nice thing about average basis is that you 
don't have to keep track of which sell goes with which buy.  The second 
method Quinn calls "Cost Basis" and allows you to be selective about when 
you realize your capital gains.  Here, every sell is linked to a specific 
buy (sounds like Quicken lets you do this).  Quinn says that if you use 
Cost Basis to calculate your capital gains and you don't specify to your 
stock broker exactly which stocks/shares you are selling, everything 
defaults to FIFO.

I don't (yet) know the specifics of the GNUCash engine, but I think if it
doesn't now allow you to link a sell to a specific buy, then we ought to
add that functionality.  I'm sure that FIFO is enough for most people, but
given that arranging buys/sells to reduce capital gains isn't a totally
obscure thing to do (evinced by the fact that Quinn talks about how you
should do it in her book), I think we should leave the door open for the
functionality to be eventually added.

Am Son, 02 Jul 2000 schrieb Robert:
> The final issue I have is how we select which accounts are included in
> reports, and which are displayed explicitly and which are subsumed
> into the display of a parent account.

poldiwinkler@ngi.de said:
> Is it not possible to choose it in each "own report"? 

I agree with Poldi.  Make it specific to each report.

Jason D Rennie          www.ai.mit.edu/~jrennie/
MIT:  (617) 253-5339          jrennie@ai.mit.edu
MITRE: (781) 271-7249          jrennie@mitre.org