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Tax accessibility

Published on Saturday, 27 August 2005
Doing my tax online this year turned up an interesting nuance of the Australian Government Tax Office website. That nuance was a reliance on Microsoft Internet Explorer code to run and maintain all sides of tax management.

To submit the business activity of Absalom Media online requires a PKI key than integrates only with Internet Explorer. Combined this with the fact the ATO Business Portal only displays correctly under IE, this is an affront to browser independence.

Furthermore, trying to download the personal tax return software from the ATO, etax, on Firefox brings up the follow message:

The test has found you are not using Internet explorer

While your browser may support the correct security, e-tax only recognises the security associated with your operating system to transmit information to the tax office.

This means you can still use the browser you are choosing to use. However, if the version of Internet Explorer that your operating system originally came with is less than 5.5, you will need to download an update to your operating system.

Please call our help desk if you are unclear about this requirement on 1300 1300 17, or follow the instructions below

How to download and install security upgrade

1. Click the link below that corresponds to your browser version.

Windows 2000 High Encryption Pack
Operating system patch if your computer has Internet Explorer 5.01
Operating system patch if your computer has Internet Explorer 5
Operating system patch if your computer has Internet Explorer 4

2. Choose Open this program from its current location and click OK.

3. Click Yes if asked whether you would like to install and run Microsoft Internet Explorer High Encryption Pack.

You may need to shutdown your system once you have downloaded and installed this update. If your operating system does not need to do this then you can proceed using the link below

Click here to continue

By downloading this update, you agree to the terms outlined in the Microsoft License Agreement Addendum.

Important: The Microsoft Internet Explorer High Encryption Pack is eligible for export from the U.S. to all customers worldwide, except to U.S. embargoed destinations. Information on exporting Microsoft products is available at http://www.microsoft.com/exporting/. Other countries may exercise separate jurisdiction over the import, export or use of encryption products. Users who download this product should observe any local regulations that may apply to the distribution or use of encryption products.

This sort of functionality, from an Australian government department website,? goes against the mentality and legislation set out for Australian Government website standards for accessibility and authentication.

By being browser independent, accessibility and usability increases. My recommendation to the Tax Office is that it needs to look at cross browser implementations of their websites, both for the public and for the business user.
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