After a decade, ATO finally launches Mac e-tax


blog Long-time Australian users of Apple’s flagship Macintosh line will be rapt with the news that the Australian Taxation Office has finally launched a version of its e-tax electronic tax return lodgement software which works on Mac OS X. As first reported by ZDNet (that we know of), the software landed on the ATO’s website this morning. There’s no media release announcing e-tax for Mac that we can find, but if you’re interested in the troubled history of the software’s development, there’s a good article published in July last year by Crikey on the issue. Probably our favourite paragraph:

“Complaints about the ATO’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of Mac and Linux have been rife for a decade or more … pretty much every other country surveyed has conquered the apparently insurmountable problem of allowing non-Windows users to file their tax online.”

ZDNet also has a yarn published this time last year, where the ATO defended its decision to delay the launch of e-tax for Mac OS X for another year. Doubtless the ATO has had the software ready to go for many months, but had to hold off on releasing it until 1 July this year (the new financial year), lest people try and use it to file last year’s tax returns. Either way, it’s good to see that this has finally landed; it’s been a long-held sore spot for Apple fans. To quote Blizzard, when announcing StarCraft II: “Hell … it’s about time.”

Image credit: Apple


  1. I find it slightly comical the money spent didn’t include signing the installer (which looks exactly like a windows installer) – thus gatekeeper blocks it, by default.

    It is, however long overdue, and is rewardingly identical in look-and-feel to the 80’s style Access Database forms we’ve all grown to love over the years.

  2. Shame this only adds OS X support, and does nothing for users of tables, Linux, and other operating systems. Why isn’t eTax a web app already?

  3. Still a complete and utter joke that it’s not just web-based. They managed to make eHealth web-based, so don’t tell me it’s a ‘security’ problem that it has to be an app.

  4. Really though the ATO should be targeting a web based solution here. This is simply a bandaid and what will become a larger issue of incompatibility with other systems (eg mobile).

  5. I’ve heard from a reliable source that the Mac version is a bit of a joke throughout the ATO. It still has quite a few bugs but they’ve released it regardless as “there are only a few people going to use it anyway.”

  6. As a Linux user, I’ve always filled in tax returns on paper and posted them. No big deal, really, although it’s ridiculous that the tax office can’t come up with a web submission system that works on all operating systems.

    However this year, I received a letter that the ‘Buisiness and professional items schedule”, one of the forms that I’m required to include, is no longer available on paper and must now be submitted using eTax. The only other alternative given is to use a registered tax agent.

    I actually have no idea how I’m going to submit a tax return this year. I don’t even have temporary access to any Windows or Mac computer (I’m not going to ask a random non-technical neighbour, since I have no idea if their computer would be safe from malware.)

  7. Mac have 7% market share and the demographic for macs is almost by definition the “less technical people”. There won’t be a great % of tax returns done through the Mac etax.

    They would have spent the resources better by making a web version that would support all tablets or and flavor of PC with a modern browser.

  8. Non-signed, installer and requires admin password. What a joke.
    Trashed and secure deleted.

  9. 8 July 2013 – Tried using eTax for Mac on latest version of OSX on new iMac and managed to navigate filling in details however when I finished and got to the review and print report page the report generated in a pop up window but any attempt to print or save the report resulting in an immediate application crash – no error message! I have logged a call with the ATO eTax technical support which has been escalated to a level 2 supervisor.

    If anyone else has experienced this and solve dteh problem please leave a comment.

  10. Have just completed two returns easy enough (Macbook OSX 10.8.4), however any attempt to print give a pop-up saying no printers installed (rubbish), no export or any way to print. The lodgement online is no intuitive, but on the review take the ‘Yes’ option that errors have been reviewed – after that get hold of last years Notice of Assessment to get the info needed to verify online. Only thing is the name has to have Mr or Mrs in front – Tax people or just nerds….
    No Mac bashers please, I started pre-DOS and have been a Windows/Unix/Linux/Mac user for many years.

  11. Les, printing works fine for me (using OS X 10.8.4). There has been an update to E-tax for Mac. Have you installed the updated version ? I did get a message at one time saying the parts of E-tax would not work unless using the most recent version.

    The only way to print that I’ve found is to click on the print button in the “Preview or print” display. I get the usual OS X print dialog. So far I’ve only saved to PDF. Do you have your printer networked or connected directly ? Perhaps E-tax doesn’t work with networked printers ?

    I recommend ringing the E-tax Help Desk on 1300 1300 17. I’ve had a number of questions and they do try to resolve all issues. I’ve found bugs too which they’ve acknowledged.

    Good luck.

    P.S. to the Mac bashers, although the current total market share of OS X is around 7% in Australia, have a look at the PC sales for the 1st quarter 2013 – Apple are running second at 18%. It will take time to increase total market share but, it will happen.

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