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Taxing time in a Parallels universe


Today there is a new version of Parallels Desktop, No.8, for Mac users who cannot live without Windows. I’m sure it will be wonderful, but I’ve had a rather distant relationship with Parallels for several years now.

Gradually, since I moved to Macs seven years ago, I have shed remaining links to Windows. At one time, Parallels was really useful. Now I keep it for just one application, TaxCalc, which I use for my annual tax return. TaxCalc is an admirable application but the publishers, Achora Software, show no inclination to produce a Mac version. As a result, I keep Parallels alive just for one or two peeks a year.

As far as I am aware, there is no consumer-orientated tax calculation application for OS X. If you know of one, please let me know.

So I soldier on with Parallels. I have tried to keep costs to a minimum. I stuck with Windows XP and delayed upgrading to Parallels 7 until I got a good offer. But I am not now inclined to buy Parallels 8, however wonderful it might be.

Frankly, I would like to delete Parallels and save the 10GB of my precious SSD space that it occupies. And to be free of the constant invitations to upgrade. I would love to move to a tax calculation package that would run on the Mac, but the prospects are not good.

Tax software is an oddity, it doesn’t cross borders. In the USA there is a number of good packages for OS X. There is a good market in the USA because, proportionately, more people have to complete a tax return than is the case in the UK, even without taking into account the relative sizes of the countries.

In the UK, tax returns are a minority sport for those who have income beyond their employment or who are self-employed. Stay in employment and your tax affairs are simple, you are taxed at source and do not need to file. As a result, producing tax software is not as lucrative as it is in other countries.

All that said, though, I am surprised Acorah haven’t jumped on the ever-growing Mac bandwagon. This is articularly so when you consider that a Mac owner is more likely to be needing to file a tax return than the average Windows user.

by Mike Evans, 30 August 2012

PS: Acorah software have responded to this post. They say, “there are plans to develop a Mac version of the TaxCalc software. This is currently in the development pipeline and is scheduled for next year. We are aware that there are a growing number of Mac users.”