Failure to lodge on time penalty – frequently asked questions

This information answers frequently asked questions about the failure to lodge on time (FTL) penalty:

When it applies

The following are answers to frequently asked questions about when an FTL penalty applies:

What is an FTL penalty?

A failure to lodge on time (FTL) penalty is an administrative penalty that may be applied where you are required to lodge a return, statement, notice or other document with us by a particular day and you fail to do so.

An FTL penalty may be applied on documents that are lodged late, or on documents that are overdue.

If we apply an FTL penalty, we will issue you an FTL penalty notice.

What documents does the FTL penalty apply to?

An FTL penalty is applied when the administration of the tax system is put at risk by taxpayers who do not meet their obligations to supply information as required.

It is applied when an ‘approved form’ is required to be lodged with us by a due date and is not received by that due date. Approved forms include:

  • activity statement
  • tax return
  • fringe benefits tax return
  • pay as you go (PAYG) withholding annual report
  • annual goods and services tax (GST) return
  • annual GST information report
  • taxable payment annual report.

What if it is my tax agent or BAS agent’s fault that the document is lodged late? (Safe harbour)

If you used a registered tax or registered BAS agent, the FTL penalty may be cancelled if the action of the registered agent was the reason the document was lodged late, unless the registered agent was considered to have been reckless, or intentionally disregarded the law. This is referred to as a safe harbour exemption.

You can request that the safe harbour provisions be applied, and that the FTL penalty be cancelled, if you can prove that you gave all the relevant information to the agent in time for the document to be lodged by the due date.

You can make a request, fully outlining the circumstances that led to the delay in lodgment:

If you request the safe harbour provisions to be applied and we do not consider that the penalty should be cancelled, we will consider whether the penalty should be remitted: you do not have to make a separate request.

    Last modified: 12 Jul 2016QC 16611