The Australian Taxation Office is weeks away from releasing the first version of its individual tax return software, e-tax, for Mac users.
The ATO has offered e-tax as a free download to Windows users since 1999 and planned to develop a version for Apple’s Mac operating system since 2007.
It has worked with IT services company DWS to maintain and develop e-tax since 2006 but was unable to develop a stable enough Mac version in time for the 2012 tax period.
ATO first assistant commissioner for enterprise applications Steve Hamilton said last year that the Mac version fell short in key areas of security, reporting and accessibility.
A spokeswoman for the department told iTnews this week that it expected to deliver e-tax for both Windows and Mac users from late June.
“We are working to deliver a version a version of e-tax for Apple Macintosh users for this tax time, which is currently undergoing iterative development and testing by the ATO,” she said.
“E-tax is the most popular method of lodgement for self-preparing taxpayers. As at 31 March 2013, over a million taxpayers have lodged their 2011-12 income tax return using e-tax.
“It is expected that over 2.65 million taxpayers will use e-tax to prepare and lodge their 2012-13 income tax returns for this tax time.”
According to web analytics firm Net Applications, Windows accounted for 91.78 percent of desktop users last month, with Mac and Linux accounting for 7.01 and 1.21 percent respectively.
For contrast, analyst firm Gartner estimated Mac OS to account for 3.0 percent of desktops in 2009 and 3.4 percent in 2010, although it said last month that desktop and notebook sales would fall in favour of tablet and mobile devices in the five years to 2017.
The ATO said it had “recognised the future requirement for a web-enabled online tax return lodgement service” that would be compatible with a greater range of devices.
“This work has not yet been scheduled in the ATO information technology program of work,” the spokeswoman noted.