The much-complained-about issue of Mac compatibility for e-tax looks set to be resolved this year, with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) giving Melbourne-based company DWS a further AU$5 million to get the software ready for tax time this year.
DWS has made millions of dollars out of the Windows software that allows Australian taxpayers to fill out their tax returns. The ATO initially awarded DWS AU$32 million for the software back in 2007, and was given an additional AU$5 million in December last year for enhancements to the software.
As tax law changes on a yearly basis, the software requires constant maintenance and updating, which is why DWS is recontracted by the ATO to update the software.
The ATO and DWS had previously finished making the software Mac compatible following an upgrade to the Delphi XE2 platform; however, on advice, the ATO delayed in making the Mac version available for tax time last year until security and accessibility issues with the new software had been addressed.
Over the next three to five years, the ATO is also looking at releasing a web-based version of e-tax, so that it is available for all platforms. The main task that the ATO will face will be ensuring that it is compatible across a variety of web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, as well as multiple versions of those browsers.
ATO chief information officer Bill Gibson said last year that the ATO has a lab set up to test its websites across a number of different browsers and platforms.
"Each year, we put a significant investment into quality insurance; we have a large conformity test we undertake across platform and across browser, and we have a lab to test that," he said. "We use our simulation centre, where we would test out different scenarios for what makes sense in terms of products and platforms."