So it turns out that all Australian residents have to complete a tax return every year, and for tax purposes I am considered to be an Australian resident. Eek.
The Australian Tax Office’s website is the main source of information and help here, but it’s a scary place, and I’m struggling to find out exactly what’s involved in making a return. I have managed to deduce that I can acquire a TaxPack from a newsagent, fill it in, and post it back to the ATO.
The other option is to use E-tax, which is an electronic version of the same thing.
But listen to this: the ATO’s implementation of an electronic tax return takes the form of a downloadable Windows application. What. The. Ho? I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through their minds when they decided this was a good idea. What about the tens of thousands of Australians who use an operating system other than Windows? What about accessibility for those who depend on screen readers and other tools which plug straight into web browsers? How do I know that (even if I did have a Windows box) I can trust this downloadable application not to bugger up my computer?
I think I might have to make a new category for this site, into which Australian banks, telecommunications providers, and now the ATO will be placed…
Update Monday 5th July 2010
Aw for pete sake. From the Australian Tax Office’s website regarding system requirements for the E-tax application:
Direct internet access (not via a proxy server)
So I won’t be able to run it from my work PC either, since every large corporation does the sensible thing and puts users behind proxy servers. Better get myself a TaxPack then. shudder
Update Tuesday 6th July 2010
I’ve never been one to pass up the opportunity for a moan, so here’s the latest instalment of the e-tax saga. I have just set up a virtual Windows machine, downloaded and installed the e-tax software, run it, and this is what I got:
Application Error Exception EConvertError in module etax2010.exe at 0000AD96. ‘1/2/2010’ is not a valid date.
Selecting ‘OK’ just quits the application.
Update Friday 9th July 2010
So the fix to the EConvertError thing is to change the system time format to DD/MM/YYYY: mine was at YYYY-MM-DD.
What utter fecking bollocks though. I’ve struggled over the last couple of days to understand the crappy terminology used throughout this crappy application, only to get to the end and be told I can’t lodge my tax return online anyway, because the ATO can’t verify my details.
I’ve to lodge my tax return by completing a TaxPack, and posting it to the ATO.
I’m so flamin’ hacked off right now.