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Made a mistake on your tax return? Here’s what you can do now

Did you just realise that you made a mistake on your tax return?

Before you start panicking, know that it can be amended. 

Mistakes are normal, and they are a part of life. But, when the mistake involves tax matters, it becomes more serious because you may get into trouble with the authorities.

The good thing is that you can go ahead and correct those mistakes, but only if you have the right information and are careful. Otherwise, making an error while amending the previous one can make things worse and sometimes irreversible. 

fix a mistake on your tax return- amend tax return

So hereis a guide to help you if you have made a mistake on your tax return. We understand that you may want to amend your mistake right now, but make sure to read till the very end to not miss out on any necessary information. 

When do you need to correct your tax return? 

First, let’s understand in what circumstances you should amend your tax return. These include:

  • Making an error while answering a question
  • Forgetting to claim an offset or deduction
  • Forgetting to include a capital gain or some income
  • Experiencing a change in your situation post-lodgment, for example
    • Your employer updating or finalising your income statement
    • Repaying the amount of income you were overpaid
    • Receiving another payment summary or revised payment summary 

Requesting an amendment to your tax return

Firstly, you should know that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) doesn’t charge any fee if anybody has requested an amendment. 

Also, there are time limits on tax return amendments (discussed below) that must be followed. If you are outside of this time frame, instead of making an amendment, you will be required to lodge an objection. 

Now, let’s move on to the ways you can submit an amendment to your income tax return.

Online through ATO Online 

You can use the ATO’s online services to submit an amendment, which takes about 20 days to proceed. 

Irrespective of the method you chose to lodge your original tax return, there’s no restriction on requesting an amendment of your assessment online. You just need a myGov account that is linked to the ATO to access their online services. 

To submit an amendment online through myGov, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your myGov account.
  2. Choose the ATO option from your linked services.
  3. Click on ‘Manage tax returns’ in the Quick Links section.

To submit an amendment online via the ATO app:

  1. Open the ATO app and log in.
  2. Tap on ‘View’ next to ‘Your tax return’.
  3. Select ‘View tax return’.
  4. Click ‘Amend’ next to the tax year you wish to update.

correct mistake on your tax return

Complete a paper amendment form

If, for some reason, you are unable to request an amendment online, you can send the ATO a form called ‘request for amendment of income tax return for individuals’.

The ATO may take up to 50 business days to process the requests that have been made in writing. 

Use a registered tax agent

If you have taken a registered tax agent’s services before, you can take their help to complete an amendment to your tax return on your behalf. 

A registered tax agent can not only complete but also submit the income tax amendment electronically through the PLS (Practitioner Lodgment Service). 

But what if your original return or previous amendment wasn’t made through the PLS? 

Even if you haven’t used the PLS before, you can still lodge an amendment to return the PLS. Alternatively, your tax agent can send the ATO form requesting an amendment of the income tax return lodged by tax professionals. 

Just like mentioned above, it may take up to 50 business days for the authorities to process the requests made in writing. 

Write a letter to the ATO

Another way to do this is by sending a letter to the Taxation Office. Since this is also a request made in writing, the time taken to process the request will be 50 business days. 

This letter must have all the relevant information and copies of documents that support your request. The information required includes:

  • Your TFN (tax file number)
  • Your full name and postal address
  • If convenient, a daytime phone number or your mobile number
  • Bank account details (for any potential refunds)
  • The tax year of the return you wish to amend, such as 2024.
  • The specific question number and description related to your change.
  • The amount of income or deductions being adjusted, along with the new total, if applicable.
  • The amount of tax offsets being adjusted, along with the new total, if applicable.
  • The reason for the amendment or an explanation of the mistake made.
  • Your signature and a dated declaration stating:

“I declare that all the information I have provided in this letter, including any attachments, is true and correct. I have the necessary receipts or other records to support my claims for amendment.”

You or your representative must send the letter along with the attachments. 

It can be either sent by fax to 1300 730 239 or by post to the following address: 

Australian Taxation Office

PO Box 3004

PENRITH  NSW  2740

Time limits on tax return amendments 

Individuals and sole traders typically have a 2-year window to amend their tax returns. This period begins the day after your notice of assessment is issued.

amend error on your tax return

For instance, if your notice of assessment is dated 1 November 2024, the amendment period starts on 2 November 2024. Therefore, you have until 1 November 2026 to request a change to your tax return.

Amendments operate under the self-assessment system, meaning the information you provide is accepted as is.

Legal time limits exist to amend your tax assessment. If you miss this timeframe, you might need to file an objection instead.

Looking for a registered tax agent to amend your tax return?

Are you nervous about amending your tax return? In that case, it is better that you reach out to a registered tax agent who can make sure that your tax return is amended properly. 

At Clear Tax Accountants, our tax agents can help you ensure that there are no more issued with your tax return and you stay away from any troubles with the ATO. 

So get in touch with us today!

 

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