ATO commissions study into e-Tax for Mac

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has commissioned a study into the feasibility of making its popular e-Tax application usable on Mac operating systems.

The downloadable application, which allows tax-payers to lodge their tax return online, has caused consternation amongst Mac users ever since it was launched nationally more than ten years ago in 1999, because is only compatible with Windows.

However, new capabilities have been added to the latest edition of Delphi, with which e-Tax was built, that have opened up the possibility of making the application Mac-compatible.

The XE2 edition of the Delphi application development platform was released in 2011 and features the ability to build applications deployable in both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.

On 14 March 2012, the ATO published details of a $156,000 contract with Capgemini for an ‘E Tax 2012 Apple Macintosh Project Governance Review’, signed through the agency’s IT Application Services Panel.

“The ATO is committed to providing a sustainable outcome for Macintosh Operating Systems and we continue to test out concepts to ascertain their viability,” said a spokesperson for the agency.

“To this end, and given recent developments in the Delphi platform on which the current e-Tax product is built, we have engaged Capgemini to provide advice as to the feasibility and extensibility of the current outsourced development platform to support e-Tax on the Macintosh Operating System,” he said.

The Capgemini contract expires on 5 April 2012, so submission of the study will assumedly take place near to this date.

The feasibility of a Mac compatibility project will hinge upon the availability of ATO resources, which have not extended to the task in the past, according to the ATO website.

“The highest priority each income year is updating e-tax so that it is compatible with changes to tax legislation to preserve the current level of service for 2.5 million taxpayers who use the service.

“We are considering the future of online interactions with taxpayers more broadly, having regard to technology advancements in recent years. In that context, the major redevelopment of e-tax which would be required to enable it to be compatible with non-Windows operating systems, and which would come at a significant cost, is not considered to be viable or appropriate at the current time.”

The development and maintenance of the e-Tax application has been the responsibility of DWS Advanced Business Solutions since December 2007, when it entered into a contract with the ATO which is now valued at $32.2 million.

The contract falls under a Standing Offer Agreement (SOA) between the ATO and DWS that will continue through to at least 30 June 2012.

Usage of e-Tax surpassed paper lodgement on tax returns for the first time in the 2005-06 financial year. More than 2.2 lodgements were conducted via e-Tax in 2008.

 

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