Apple Macintosh and Linux users will have one less excuse to pay the taxman when development gets underway on an improved e-tax application compatible with any computer system.
Commissioner of Taxation Michael D'Ascenzo announced yesterday the plan to make the eight-year-old application, which allows taxpayers to file their tax returns via the Internet, more widely available to computer users.
"Looking even further ahead we will redevelop e-tax to make it compatible with any computer system that has Internet access," he said.
A spokesperson for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) said compatibility of the application would extend to the Apple Macintosh and Linux operating systems. E-tax has so far required taxpayers to use Microsoft's Windows OS.
A pilot test with users would run in 2008, with a view to a possible rollout in 2009, according to the spokesperson.
More taxpayers (1.6 million) used e-tax than paper-based forms to file their 2005-06 tax returns. This was the second year running that more taxpayers opted for e-tax to file their returns.
D'Ascenzo said e-tax had become one of the most popular government services and the improvements were due to recently-received government funding.
"We can reduce the time they need to spend completing their return, reduce the amount of paperwork people need to keep and help them get it right the first time, leading to fewer amendments after lodgement," he said.
Developments to e-tax in 2007 will include expanding pre-filled options to allow users to download accumulated interest from over 20 banks and credit unions.
The ATO will also pilot the automatic loading of salary and wage information into taxpayers' returns by using payment summaries provided by employers.