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adamjc
14th July 2005, 04:53 PM
Hello Everyone,

I just got this response from the ATO on the reason behind no E-TAX software for Mac OSX.



Dear Adam

Australian Taxation Office - eTax WAY

You sent an email to the Australian Taxation Office on *******.

-----------------------------------------------------------

When e-tax was developed, a number of criteria were considered. An important consideration was to pursue developments that would ensure maximum initial uptake of the software. The information available at the time indicated that the number of users of alternative operating platforms, including Macintosh users, was quite low.

In contrast, it was found that the Microsoft Windows platform represented the vast majority of users in terms of popularity. Therefore, e-tax was specifically designed and built to run utilising the Microsoft Windows operating system.

A cross platform version of e-tax has not been an immediate priority for the Tax Office, within the resources available. Whilst the e-tax team has pursued this each year, obtaining funding in competition with other change program initiatives has not been successful.

The e-tax support team staff are dedicated to implementing improvements to the software on an ongoing basis and will seek to action your feedback at the earliest available opportunity.

I trust that this information will be of assistance to you.

Thank-you for your enquiry. Please quote reference number ETAX******** in any future correspondence on this matter.

Yours faithfully,



So what do you think?

Adam.

spargo
14th July 2005, 05:03 PM
I think that's fair enough. I think rather than developing an OSX compatible version, resources should be allocated to setting up a secure on-line system that is compatible with mainstream browsers, so that we can all access it regardless of platform.. That way I could do my return from over here if I wanted to use e-tax, and do it al via the web rather than an .exe they put together each year just for Windows-bases PC's.

Good work adamjc! ;)

JimWOz
14th July 2005, 05:13 PM
Virtual PC is the only way to make it work.
We've been using this for a couple of years now.

With Intel based Macs coming I guess any faint hope has disappeared.
Most Unix system users are Windows defectors, and I understand they can make windows software run on their machines, so no demand will come from them for a version for that OS.

Other ATO services, such as witholding variations are available via this method also.

mvjs
14th July 2005, 05:38 PM
We should say if thats the only OS you support, we then need virtual PC, then you (ie. ATO) need to pay for it :)

mikeb.aus81
14th July 2005, 07:22 PM
Well if we purchase Virtual PC then at least its a tax deduction :)

cmetom
14th July 2005, 07:25 PM
Originally posted by michaelvjsmyth@Jul 14 2005, 05:38 PM
We should say if thats the only OS you support, we then need virtual PC, then you (ie. ATO) need to pay for it :)
hehe cute and "we can wish" but in reality...

it's not like e-tax is the ONLY way to do your taxes and therefore they are absolutely forcing people without the equipment to run e-tax to buy said equipment.

not taking their side, i'm just saying. as for a solution, i think spargo's web-based idea is best.

mvjs
14th July 2005, 07:48 PM
I know, but its a good argument with them :)

the_OM
14th July 2005, 08:33 PM
I think its a fair enough response. Like spargo said, its a better that they have a secure windows version rather than a cross-platform dodgy one.

Besides, most people have access to a windows machine that they can use for an hour or so to do their tax.

mwot
14th July 2005, 08:57 PM
yeah, no big deal re that type of response. you look at it from their point of view, the more people that uptake e-tax, the less paperwork the ATO are required to process. and if they're already seeing a significant reduction in paperwork because of the number of windows users, why go any further?

in any organisation, there will always be competition for funding. e-tax has probably been very successful them, and now there are other high-value gains from other projects than appeasing us Mac users.

aside from all that, i don't really care - i use an accountant. :P

mvjs
14th July 2005, 09:10 PM
This is osist exclusion :)

(For the more s-l-o-w people at AppleTalk, os-ist)

adamjc
14th July 2005, 09:34 PM
I personally thought there was nothing wrong with their response.

Just thought a few people might be interested in the response, as many wanted a MAC OS version of E-TAX (including myself).

Have a good FRIDAY!!! :)

spargo
14th July 2005, 10:32 PM
Originally posted by adamjc@Jul 14 2005, 12:34 PM
I personally thought there was nothing wrong with their response.

Just thought a few people might be interested in the response, as many wanted a MAC OS version of E-TAX (including myself).

Have a good FRIDAY!!! :)
I thought it was fair enough too adamjc.. You did well buddy! You have to assume that the vast majority of the Australian tax-paying population use Windows-based machines, and if this is their stance then so be it. I'm not going to be an argumentative prick over it when the ATO has better things to do (like my assess my return!) than have a few hundred people bickering to them that they didn't provide an OSX version of some software..

Besides, I too will be using an accountant this year - all too hard to pull together everything from over here for my rental property etc.

And I will have a good Friday adam.. cheers mate! ;) :lol:

paulhek
15th July 2005, 09:56 AM
I am sorry guys, but I do not agree with most of you. I don't think it is fair enough at all. I haven't been in Australia that long so I do not know the legislation in this perspective, but we are more or less forced in using windows to do our taxes online. Why is it fair enough for a governmental organisation in a democracy to do this, while banks (privately owned) have no problem to set up systems that work for both windows and mac or whatever operating system you use?

I do not want to sound like the kind of person (in my country is everything better... because it is not..). But in this case...
Untill last year the situation was the same in the Netherlands. Lodging your tax online was only possible with a windows pc. A lot of mac users did not agree (and also linux users) and wrote a petition. This got so far, that in the chamber of parliament questions were asked about it and it was agreed upon that the whole situation was not according to the constitution. Within a year it has changed and a new system has been set up and the Tax office was not happy of course. But basically what they were doing was illegal.
Now I do not know all details about the Australian consitution, but I could imagine that things are more or less the same.

Maybe nobody really cares about it, because most people use windows and it is not a matter of life and death (just taxes...). But in my opinion it is not a priviledge, but a right! Mac users unite!!!
and also.. blalblalba.. large corporations.. global warming.. (sorry got carried away, but you got my point)

Paul

Damian
15th July 2005, 12:14 PM
Originally posted by the_OM@Jul 14 2005, 08:33 PM
I think its a fair enough response. Like spargo said, its a better that they have a secure windows version rather than a cross-platform dodgy one.


Reality check here: "secure windows version"??

Given the spyware/trojan etc issues with windows I doubt that very much.

BTW, I received exactly the same email from the ATO as above.
Just a drone answer.

Insanely
15th July 2005, 01:15 PM
A cross platform version of e-tax has not been an immediate priority for the Tax Office, within the resources available. Whilst the e-tax team has pursued this each year, obtaining funding in competition with other change program initiatives has not been successful.

I'm sure the ATO has all the funding that is required. I will be too scared to do it on my pc. I cannot be sure that my system has no key loggers.

the_OM
15th July 2005, 01:44 PM
Originally posted by Damian@Jul 15 2005, 12:14 PM

Reality check here: "secure windows version"??

Given the spyware/trojan etc issues with windows I doubt that very much.

BTW, I received exactly the same email from the ATO as above.
Just a drone answer.
If you manage windows correctly, then chances are you won't get trojans, spyware etc. I think your being a bit too dramatic.

I have a pc at home that I reckon I use just as much as my mac and it is completely secure and hasn't me given any problems whatsoever, so why don't you have a reality check buddy.

macsyd
15th July 2005, 01:46 PM
Might be more useful to hassle the treasurer himself (or his staff anyway!)....

http://www.treasury.gov.au/ministerial.asp

entropy
15th July 2005, 02:08 PM
Sorry, but I reckon that letter is a load of crap!

The most efficient method of producing the software would have been to make it platform agnostic from the first. Doing it the way they have means that they have spent the development costs on one version, and then have to do it all over again when they look at other platforms.

Plain stupid. A comparison would be the construction of the southeast busway in Brisbane, which at southbank constructed a major platform without allowing any room for buses to pass other buses picking up passengers. The whole section had to be rebuilt, for an additional $17million - when if it had been done at the time of original construction it would have only been around $2.5 million or thereabouts.

Making it platform agnostic from the start, by the way, would have also increased its adoption (not by much, I grant you, but nevertheless, it would still be greater than windows only), so that reasoning was a load of crap.

Speaking as a public servant, the pleb that wrote that response was probably just startign high school when the decision was made to develop e-tax. They wouldn't have a clue why, and were just winging it.

The only valid reason would be that the development costs of the windows only solution was signficantly (and by that I mean a lot) less than making the software work regardless of the platform. In a world of javascript, css and xml, this is VERY unlikely.

The truth is most likely that it simply did not occur to them to make it platform agnostic, and the developer was some mate of someone, who only knew how to make it on windows. The ATO can't say this of course, as it makes them look incompetent.

entropy
15th July 2005, 02:12 PM
Of course, now that the bed is made, so to speak, the rest of the email explaining why they haven't made it cross platform since is valid....they can't spare the cost - which sort of proves my point above.

LCGuy
15th July 2005, 02:13 PM
Originally posted by Damian@Jul 15 2005, 12:14 PM
Reality check here: "secure windows version"??
LMAO!!!! :lol: I'm sorry but "Windows" and "Security" are like "Ford" and "Safe", they don't belong in the same sentence!!!! ;)

the_OM
15th July 2005, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by entropy@Jul 15 2005, 02:12 PM
Of course, now that the bed is made, so to speak, the rest of the email explaining why they haven't made it cross platform since is valid....they can't spare the cost - which sort of proves my point above.
Holy crap dude, you live in Carindale!
I'm at Wishart.
Small world huh.

Quamen
15th July 2005, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by LCGuy@Jul 15 2005, 02:13 PM
LMAO!!!! :lol: I'm sorry but "Windows" and "Security" are like "Ford" and "Safe", they don't belong in the same sentence!!!! ;)
kind of like "LCGuy" and "Intelligent'?

LCGuy
15th July 2005, 04:44 PM
Thats nice.

mwot
15th July 2005, 05:07 PM
Originally posted by entropy@Jul 15 2005, 02:08 PM

The most efficient method of producing the software would have been to make it platform agnostic from the first.
come again? what the heck is 'platform agnostic'?

Quoted infamously from The Princess Bride:


You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means ...

Though I see your point - why didn't the ATO just build a web interface like the banks??

But then, from my experience in my role at work, the ATO seem to be fearful of the web - so much so, that in order to transfer taxation details of the company to them electronically, you have to use software that they have developed which requires that you manually kick off weekly file transfers when its required. They don't allow you to automate a single thing.

And guys ... enough of the sledging, don't you think?

the_OM
15th July 2005, 10:27 PM
Originally posted by Quamen@Jul 15 2005, 04:29 PM
kind of like "LCGuy" and "Intelligent'?
ohh man, thats like the funniest quote I've read tonight.

LCGuy, don't take it to heart, but you just got burned!

LCGuy
15th July 2005, 11:42 PM
I'm sorry, but i just don't see whats so funny about it...

Kildare
30th July 2005, 11:55 AM
Update&#33; App it will be ~2 years before a cross platform e-tax solution is offered. <_<
http://www.smh.com.au/news/breaking/macfri...2144003964.html (http://www.smh.com.au/news/breaking/macfriendly-returns-at-least-two-years-off/2005/07/29/1122144003964.html)

tempestas
30th July 2005, 01:06 PM
So anyone know who the "A staff reporter" for this article is. Are they a forum member?

MacNut
2nd August 2005, 08:08 AM
Etax in 2 years ??? By then we will have the intelmac and will just put a copy of windows on our spare drive :D

macmate
2nd August 2005, 09:15 AM
i sometimes wonder why these companies/programs don&#39;t do things the easy way. would it really have been so hard to do this in java? i mean really. it would have been the same amount of programing but would have work on 3 systems. they would have also had the ability to make it accessable from their website so as people could go to uni or an internet cafe without downloading the program and installing it.

using their brains every once in a while is all i ask.

WonderBoy
2nd August 2005, 09:21 AM
Yeah true, E-Tax didn&#39;t do a wrong thing. They just went for the platform that the majority of Australians have. More companies should do the same and then maybe every non Apple made software will be Windows only. That&#39;s cool, we can all just buy Virtual PC. Good thinking.

Quamen
2nd August 2005, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by macmate@Aug 2 2005, 09:15 AM
i sometimes wonder why these companies/programs don&#39;t do things the easy way. would it really have been so hard to do this in java?
knowing the ATO&#39;s software they would have used the proprietry MS java virtual machine and it wouldn&#39;t have been platform independant anyway :)