e-tax 2012 Out Now, No Mac Version Until 2013

e-tax 2012 Out Now, No Mac Version Until 2013

The financial year hasn’t officially finished, but you can already download the e-tax 2012 software if you want to submit your return electronically. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has also confirmed that there will be a Mac version next year, but not for 2011-2012 returns.

You can download e-tax from the ATO web site. It’s a 6.7MB file and will run on any Windows machine with XP (Service Pack 2), Vista or Windows 7. However, you won’t be able to submit your return until after July 1 (and you’ll need a payment summary amongst other crucial documents).

The good news for Mac owners: for the 2012-2013 financial year, there will finally be a Mac version of e-tax. Apparently that was too hard to achieve for 2012, as the ATO explains:

The ATO has commenced developing an Apple Mac compatible version of the e-tax software. Unfortunately, due to a number of complexities related to IT security concerns and usability, e-tax for Apple Mac systems will not be available for Tax Time 2012. The ATO will continue to develop an Apple Mac version of e-tax and work with our IT partners to ensure that the underlying technology can work effectively for next year.

While there have been calls for the ATO to develop a browser-based version, that seems unlikely because of its IT security policies and requirements. You could run e-tax in a virtualised environment such as Boot Camp, but if anything goes wrong the ATO won’t assist you.

Check out our Tax Week 2012 coverage for updates on what’s new this year in tax.



  • I’m waiting for it to be released on the AppStore.

    (no I really am, the psu has died on my computer and I need the refund to replace it, I only have my iPad now)

  • How many years have the ATO had to develop a Mac compatible version of their e-tax software? Yet they still required an entire year in order to bring it market. What a fail.

    • If you actually understood the reason, you would realise it’s Just Not That Simple.

      That, and catering for a tiny minority is clearly not at the forefront of requirements for the ATO.

      • Being that Apple is the most popular brand of computer, the largest computer company in the world, and macs are pushing close to a third of the market, mac users havent been a “tiny minority” for a very long time. Get with the program, times are changing.

  • Why do Apple users always get butt-hurt when software isn’t released for OSX as promptly as Windows? Windows is at 75% market share…OSX is 9%. Its like me complaining Repco or Supercheap don’t keep oil filters in stock for my Audi when Holden owners can just get theirs off the shelf. Its all about covering the greatest number of users first… don’t take it personally.

    • I’m actually finding there is a growing trend of Mac only software because some developers have to maintain their false sense of superiority and/or are just haters… congrats, you just missed out on a large section of the market…

      PS. being abused by a developer when you ask them if they will ever release a Windows or Linux version of their application really makes you want to buy a Mac and join the cult…

      • Growing trend or not, even if 100% of developers made software for OSX, its still only 9% of the population reached…its simple math. Reminds me of Linus Torvalds having a sook recently because NVIDIA wasn’t supporting his tiny, scattered OS. I’m a Linux fan, use it daily, but you have to face the fact its a drop in the ocean compared to Windows; of course Windows gets priority support. If you buy an OS to “think different” don’t expect bleeding edge support from major companies that exist to sell products to as many people as possible, or like governments with limited resources, try to support as much of the tax paying population as possible. I’m not hating on OSX users, but some realistic expectations need to set with low usage OS.

        • I agree with you. However, with today’s technology, it is disappoiting that it is still restricted to Windows when it could easily be cross-platform compatible. Maybe a browser-based application?

        • It’s not only about Mac users; it’s the 20-25% of people that don’t use windows. That’s a significant portion of the population that should be catered to.
          Cross platform software development is not hard. Supporting 2 platforms does not mean doubling the developers effort as the core application remains the same. Only some OS specific functionality needs to be implemented and tested, which is pretty small for a simple application like eTax. The rest of the software should be the same code.

  • Why isn’t e-tax web based? As long as it doesn’t use something like flash, it will automatically be able to be used equally by Windows, Mac and Linux users.

    • Exactly. All other discussion misses this most salient point. If a secure web browser session is good enough for MediCare and for the Census why is a platform-agnostic secure browser session not the answer for eTax as well? Old school thinking ties people into downloading an executable program every year. The web solution could actually present something that looks better and not some clunky interface that belongs in a museum.
      A little foresight might see that the world is changing very fast and Windows might not be the dominant OS platform for much longer. Why not look to a neutral solution or are all the resources going to be put in developing a Windows 8 and Windows RT version for next year?Where can I get a say on how my tax dollars should be better spent than picking winners and losers in something as unpredictable as IT? Who is advising ATO on this? Or is it a prerquisite for ATO employment to stay confined in little box thinking?

      • Yup. If my little credit union can offer cross-browser compatible and secure web banking, why can’t the ATO do similar for eTax?

        Or to put it another way- platform agnostic software, bitches. Make it.

      • Sounds like you are after a highly visually appealing taxation program, with customisable skins, sound effects, and maybe even some bouncing icons thrown in just for fun! PC’s and Windows are the standard. It’s not their problem if you are after something that’s just a little bit more special.

        • Jon, even if he was its not that hard! Theres some first year IT students at uni who could do a better job than the ATO. Why defend the ATO? … Obviously if Windows have 75% share… thats 25% that don’t use windows meaning that about 5.5M people are disadvantaged because they are too busy pleasing dinosaurs using windows like yourself. Get in the real world – you don’t just seek to satisfy 75% of stakeholders

  • I’m fine running Parallels 7 with a stripped-down windows 7 installed for just such occasions … a couple of bucks on one of my Thailand trips.

    • in NZ they file through the IRD website, ugly form but you can do it on any platform. That goes for individuals, companies and Trusts.

      In saying that, only 12% of the population file a tax return.

  • Ha ha – take that iEcosystem supporters. You don’t get everything first now do you. Just take a look at this bitchin Windows only software from the Tax… oh… no… wait.

    • I think the issue is more that the ATO has been dragging their heals for 4-5 years now over the issue. They have stated before they were going to release it and even put $140k or similar into a study about it.

      When in reality they should just be going to browser based like they do in NZ. Because lets face it Etax has a terrible interface.

  • Why don’t they hurry up and bring out an iPad & iPhone app. Macs may not have that much market share, but iOS devices definitely dominate the mobile & tablet device arena.

  • I gave my computer a format straight after lodging my claim
    Avast Anti Virus was going nuts with Malware warnings for it, even if they were false positives i still feel dirty having a government created program on my computer.

  • Is it possible that the software developers of etax get some sort of award such as overseas trips to some far off resorts. And overseas trips to microsoft developer conferences paid for by the tax payer.

    • The software developers of etax don’t work for the ATO. In a way they would be funded a little by the tax payer (via the contract to pay the company for the build), but not in the way you’re implying.

  • The ATO tech dudes are quite hopeless. (Numerous examples can be found.)
    Everyone who’s been waiting years for etax for Mac should lodge a paper form with a nice note saying “Where’s etax for Mac”.
    ATO does eventually respond to pressure from a crowd.
    (BTW, etax is written for ATO by ReckonElite.)

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