No tax support for Mac or Linux yet

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.

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.

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