The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) last week put the contract to maintain and develop its e-tax system out to market, with indications remaining that Mac OS X and Linux versions of the software are a ways off.
The selected contractor would need to work on the server infrastructure and client application components of the 2009 e-tax system to result in the 2010 version, which has to be operational by 1 July 2010. The changes will involve including the 2010 system legislative changes which are required by the Tax Office.
Local IT services firm DWS Advanced Business Solutions has held the e-tax contract until now. The company will work together in a transition period with whichever firm wins the e-tax contract up for grabs. DWS CFO Lachlan Armstrong said that the company definitely intended to rebid for the contract.
The software for the e-tax system has been written in a mix of Delphi, VB, C++, C# and VB.NET, with the user application being mainly in Delphi, which the ATO would like to maintain.
The w-tax user application is currently able to be run on computers running Windows 2000 Professional Service Pack 4, XP Service Pack 2 (32 bit) and Vista Service Pack 1 (32 bit).
The tender documents expressed that tweaking the e-tax system so it could be used on alternate operating systems was still on the agenda, however when ZDNet.com.au contacted the tax office, a spokesperson said that getting the system working for non-Windows operating systems was not a mandatory requirement, only "identified as a consideration".
The spokesperson also said that the ATO had not determined which operating systems it hoped to target.
The ATO said in March 2007 that it intended on making the system workable for non-Windows operating systems such as Mac and Linux, promising a trial in 2008 and a new product rollout in 2009. However, the program encountered "significant challenges and complexities", according to the ATO spokesperson, which has meant the trial has been indefinitely delayed.