Mac, Linux users still miss out on e-tax

Mac, Linux users still miss out on e-tax

Summary: The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is currently revamping its technology strategy to bring it up to date with the needs of customers, but Mac and Linux users hoping to use this year's DIY e-tax software will be once again left out in the cold.

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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is currently revamping its technology strategy to bring it up to date with the needs of customers, but Mac and Linux users hoping to use this year's DIY e-tax software will be once again left out in the cold.

Tax

(Tax by definition image by Alan Cleaver, CC BY 2.0)

"Users of Macintosh and Linux operating systems will not be able to use e-tax 2011 without the use of an Intel-based Macintosh with a utility, such as Boot Camp, and a recommended Windows operating system, or the use of emulation software," the ATO told ZDNet Australia in a statement today, adding that approved operating systems include Windows XP, Vista and 7.

"We are in the process of developing our forward work-plan for our information technology program for the next five years, and one of our key focus areas will be investigating how to support various platforms and increase usability for the community."

The ATO said that it is aware of the constraints that it has placed on non-Microsoft users over the last five years, and as a result and will offer some financial relief as a result.

"We are aware of the constraints our current environment has for users operating on non-Microsoft platforms and the need to bring our systems up to date. Depending on your personal circumstances, emulation software or the Windows operating system acquired for this purpose may be tax deductible." the ATO said.

A trial of e-tax software on Mac and Linux operating systems was indefinitely delayed in 2008 following what the tax office called "significant challenges and complexities". Non-Windows users have missed out on the e-tax software ever since.

Topics: Apple, Government, Government AU, Linux, Open Source

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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6 comments
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  • Once upon a time - in a galaxy far, far away - there was Australian Federal Government commitment - via its own "GOSIP - Government Open Systems Interconnection Profile" to make it COMPULSORY for ALL Federal software, financed by taxpayers, to NOT be restricted to ONE SUPPLIER of IT systems. How times change - and the mandatory requirement by the Australian Government for its citizens to use an imported software product from one manufacturer/supplier alone to access its services is now regarded as acceptable behaviour! Sad reflection on Federal Government attitudes towards those of us who would like to use a safer system, e.g. SELinux, etc. to interact with OUR government.
    caelli
  • That's the first time I've heard windows or emulation software may be tax deductible if you have to use it to do tax. What's the bet when you get audited it isn't. I suspect we will get a mac or linux version some time after Microsoft stops making windows (yes a very long long long way away).
    deonast
  • I'm trying to work out why a desktop app is even required. At this stage of the game, with java, html5 and modern browsers, surely a desktop app is overkill? Isn't this service a prime example of a web app through the browser?
    And don't get me started on the legality of supporting only one manufacturer of OS, which is why I think they're dangling a carrot of deductibility to purchases of other OS s to run in emulation or VM. So where's the legal challenge going to come from? Where is thee scope to make it a browser interface?
    wheelyweb
  • The whole eTax system could have been done using W3C-compliant HTML, an SQL server and web-based developer program (such as MySQL and PHP) and SSL or other web security protocol. All of these would pretty much ensure that any browser, on any operating system, would be able to utilise these online facilities.
    dmh_paul
  • Can't believe it. Wish the Fed Govt would get it's act together.
    mrk86m
  • Ridiculous. I'd love to know how much money has been wasted in getting so behind the times. Having experienced the fed gov's ineptitude and money wasting in other areas of IT, it's not really surprising though.
    sophiecross