Lodging your tax return
You lodge a tax return each year to tell us your annual income so we can work out how much tax is payable. Tax returns cover the financial year, which ends on 30 June. We use the information you provide to work out the amount of your tax refund or tax debt. If you've paid too much tax and are entitled to a refund, lodging a tax return is the way you get this money back.
You can prepare and lodge your tax return online using e-tax, by mailing a paper return or by using a registered tax agent.
Do you need to lodge a tax return?
Most people need to lodge a tax return each year - but there are some exceptions. If you had any tax taken from any payment you received, you almost certainly need to lodge a tax return. If you need to lodge a tax return but don't, you may have to pay a penalty.
E-tax is the ATO's free, fast and secure service you can use to prepare and lodge your individual tax return online. With e-tax, most refunds are issued within 12 business days.
If you already know the requirements for using e-tax, you can download the program now and get started.
Download and use e-tax 2013.
Paper tax return
You can use the Individual tax return instructions and the paper tax return for individuals to lodge your return by mail. Most refunds are issued within 50 business days of lodgment.
Getting a tax agent or helper
You can get help preparing and lodging your tax return by using a registered tax agent or asking a family member or friend to help you. If you have a low income and simple tax affairs you may be eligible to use our Tax Help program.
Things you'll need
To complete your tax return, you'll need the financial documents you have received or records you have kept during the year, and your tax file number. If you're using e-tax, you can download some of your information using our pre-filling service.
When to lodge your tax return
If you prepare your own return, you have until 31 October to lodge. If you use a registered tax agent, you can usually lodge later than this, but you need to register with them as a client before 31 October to qualify.
Refunds, assessments and amendments
We will process your tax return and issue you a notice of assessment, which shows the details of your tax refund or bill. You should check your notice of assessment and tell us if it's not correct. If you think you made a mistake on your return, you can lodge an amended return.
Video tax tips on the ATO's YouTube channel.
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