The French Commission for Access to Administrative Documents Opens the Way for Liberating Software Developed by Government's Services

Paris, 9 March 2015. Press Release.

The Commission for Access to Administrative Documents (CADA)1 has issued an opinion favourable to communicating the source code of software that simulates the calculation of personal income tax. As far as we know, this is the first ruling of the CADA on this subject. This very important opinion opens a way towards putting software developed by government services under a free license.

At the end of November 2014, the CADA received a request from Mr. X, who was asking the Public Finance Department (Direction Générale des Finances Publiques, DGFiP) for the source code of the software for simulating the calculation of personal income tax, in order to use it for his academic research. At its board meeting on 8 January 2015, the CADA rendered its decision [fr], which was “favourable to communicating the requested source code to Mister X, in the format under which the government services store it. The requestor is free to reuse it under the conditions stipulated in Section 12 of the Act of 17 July 1978, barring any intellectual property rights held by third parties to the government services, which were not mentioned by the General Director of Finances”.

April welcomes the CADA's opinion, but remains vigilant on the issue of the user licenses under which this source code will be made available.

The release of the source code under a free license would be a very good way to highlight the work carried out at the DGFiP. This liberation would be in line with the Ayrault circular [fr] regarding good practices in the use of software by government services, and would follow up on the release of Openfisca [fr], a free program for simulating tax and social reforms.

“The DGFiP, which, apparently, holds all the copyrights on the source code of the tax simulator, should choose to release it under a free software license as soon as the source code is communicated”, said Frédéric Couchet, April's executive director.

About April

A pioneer of Free Software in France since 1996, April is a major player in the democratisation of Free Software and open standards, and in their spread to the general public, professionals and institutions of the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation of information and knowledge by private interests.

The organisation is a non-profit and it has over 4,000 members, who use or produce Free Software.

For more information, you may visit, contact us by phone at +33 1 78 76 92 80, or use our contact form.

Press contact:

Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, +33 6 60 68 89 31

  • 1. The Commission for Access to Administrative Documents (CADA, in French) is an independent administrative authority responsible for ensuring the freedom of access to administrative documents.