get in touchPay Invoice

How to Correctly File Your Tax Return in Australia

Lodging your tax return is an essential task that you can’t avoid. While all of us wish to pay as little tax as possible, it is a responsibility of ours towards our nation. Income tax is the major source of revenue in Australia, which is why the federal government has put a strong system in place for collecting it from individuals.

Completing a tax return is usually a straightforward process for the majority. However, excessive fines are imposed if one fails to lodge their tax return on time. Usually, the taxpayer is required to pay thousands of dollars in fines and penalties.

If you are lodging your tax return without a tax agent, your tax returns are due on 31 October. But, the people with a tax agent get to enjoy an extension for the lodgment.

tax return

Irrespective of how you decide to lodge your tax return, it is essential that you learn how the process works. So here’s a guide to teach you everything about tax returns.

Preparing your tax return

A tax return is a form that you, as a taxpayer, have to complete online or on paper. You can always get a tax agent to help you with this as well. Your tax return lets the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) know about the following information:

  • how much income (money) you earn
  • the deductions you are claiming

This information is used by the Australian taxation office (ATO) to check if:

  • you have paid enough or too much tax
  • you have to pay the Medicare levy or surcharge
  • you can get any tax offsets (such as the low-income tax offset)

If you end up paying more tax than needed, the ATO will refund the extra amount to you. This refunded amount is known as a tax refund. If the tax you paid wasn’t enough, you will get a tax bill. Your tax return will cover the income year, which is from 1 July to 30 June.

Lodge your tax return

The Australian Taxation Office gives you a couple of options for lodgment. You can choose one of the following options as per your circumstance:

  • Lodge your tax return online with myTax (the best if you wish to lodge your own tax return online)
  • Lodge your tax return with a registered tax agent
  • Lodge a paper tax return

Let’s look at each of the options in detail.

Lodge your tax return online with myTax

Lodging your tax return online with myTax is a quick, safe, secure way to lodge. The Australian Taxation Office provides online services through myGov or the ATO app. You will have to create a myGov account and link it to the ATO. Thanks to the online services, you can access myTax directly, so you do not have to download any software.

tax return - ATO online services

With myTax, you can easily lodge your tax return on a smartphone, tablet or computer. There are a lot of other reasons why you should choose this option for lodgment, which are also explained further.

The Australian Taxation Office pre-fill most information (by late July) from your banks, employers, government agencies, health funds and third parties. They also make use of a range of systems and control to ensure that all of your information remains protected.

Along with this, it is available 24 hours a day so that you can lodge your tax return at your convenience. What makes this an ideal choice for many is the fact that you will get your tax refund faster, usually within 14 days (2 weeks).

If you want to pre-fill your tax return, you can upload the records you have kept in the myDeductions tool. The option to lodge online is available to any individual or sole trader who wants to lodge their own tax return.

You can always review and print your tax return before or even after you lodge it.

Will I get a lodgment receipt if I lodge my tax return online?

If this was the question you had in mind, then relax. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) sends a lodgement receipt by email confirming that they have received your lodgment.

Lodge your tax return with a registered tax agent

Another way to lodge your tax return is to go to a registered tax agent. Unlike the previous method, this one will cost you a fee. However, since the tax agent is a qualified professional, you can make the process a little stress-free for yourself.

Besides that, you will also get an extension of the due date for lodgment. Generally, a registered tax agent has a special lodgment program, and they can lodge returns for the clients even after the deadline (31 October). So if you wish to avail of their services, contact a registered tax agent to be a part of their special lodgment program.

lodge a tax return

The noteworthy point is that you are the only one responsible for providing the tax records to your agent. Thus, you need to share copies of all the tax records with the agent.

Lodge a paper tax return

You can always use the paper tax return when it comes to the lodgment of your tax return by mail. Most of the tax refunds are issued within 50 business days.

You can lodge tax return forms and schedules for a prior year through this option. To lodge, you would require the individual tax return instructions and a copy of the paper tax return for individuals. You can order these through the publication ordering services by the ATO.

You will also need to lodge the supplementary tax return if you make capital gains, have foreign source income, rental income or distributions from a trust or partnership. You would also need to send your tax return to the correct address.

You can use the pre-addressed envelope provided with the tax return instructions. Alternatively, you can reach out to ATO to check the address to which your tax return must be sent.

Need Help?

We understand that tax time can be overwhelming for a lot of taxpayers. So Clear Tax is always ready to help. With us, you will not have to worry about your tax returns or other tax obligations. Our team of professional accountants will ensure that you have no stress this tax season.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general purposes only and should not be relied upon for making legal or other decisions. The advice provided in this article is general in nature and is not subject to the personal financial situation and needs of any individual. Clear Tax tries to keep the information accurate and up-to-date; however, you should bear in mind with changing circumstances, the accuracy and reliability of the information will not necessarily remain the same. The information is by no means a substitute for financial advice.