ATO's e-tax App Finally Available for Mac OS X

It’s been so long I can’t even recall how long we’ve been waiting for Mac version of the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO’s) e-tax application[1], but it’s finally here[2].

Having to use Windows to submit my tax return is about the only reason I’ve kept a copy of Windows XP around in a VM. It would get fired up once a year just so I could do my tax, and then go back into a 12-month hibernation.

I only heard the news of this development today, but a quick Google search revealed an article by Ben Grubb in the Sydney Morning Herald from May, stating the ATO spent $5.2 million to develop the Mac app:

Government tender documents reveal the tax office paid Melbourne IT company DWS $5,220,668.82 to get e-tax working on Macs. Of that, about $4.9 million was spent on “software maintenance and support” and $279,320.46 on a feasibility study.

God knows how it cost this much, but I won’t feel too bad about it given the apparent costs of the Windows application:

Similar tender documents reveal that the Tax Office has spent a total of $32.3 million on developing and supporting the Windows version to date.

But it doesn’t look like it’s all smooth sailing. Despite the assurance on the ATO website that the Mac app “is signed with a registered Apple Developer certificate”, a tweet by Russell Ivanovic highlighted this:

e-tax app unsigned.png

You’d think for almost $6M they’d be able to get this right!

I haven’t installed the app yet, but I’m looking forward to this year being the first year I won’t have to fire up Windows to lodge my tax return—although given my experience with the Windows app, I still can’t say I’m looking forward to using the e-tax application itself!

  1. e-tax is an application that lets Australians electronically submit their income tax returns.  ↩

  2. This isn’t a sarcastic finally. I’m not sure when the Windows version of e-tax was released, but I just found a newspaper article suggesting it was 15 years ago.  ↩