The Australian Taxation Office has advised Australians using Apple or Linux operating systems that they will be unable to lodge tax returns electronically using the ATO's e-tax software unless they use a Windows emulator or a kiosk in one of the agency's shop fronts.
Last year, 1.9 million Australians lodged their tax returns online using the ATO's e-tax software. But e-tax still only works with Microsoft's operating systems; Windows 2000 Professional Service Pack 4, XP Service Pack 2 (32-bit) or Vista Service Pack 1 (32-bit).
However, e-tax is not compatible with Linux or Mac OS X, but according to the ATO, it has successfully trialled e-tax with Macs running OS X 10.4.3 with Windows emulator software, Microsoft's Virtual PC 7.
A spokesperson for the ATO said that the agency did have plans to make e-tax compatible with other platforms in future years, but advised Mac and other non-compatible system users to "come into a Tax Office shopfront and use e-tax on a shopfront computer" if they wanted to lodge their returns electronically.
The ATO last March said that a pilot test with users on non-Microsoft operating systems would run in 2008, with a view to a possible roll-out in 2009.
Users will also require full administration rights on their PCs to use e-tax.
According to analyst firm Gartner, 63,065 Macs were shipped to Australia in the first quarter of 2008, representing 5.3 per cent of all computers shipped here.