Help with paying

If you can’t pay your tax on time talk to us before the debt becomes unmanageable.

Depending on eligibility, there are three ways you can set up a payment plan:


Online and automated payment plans

If you're an individual or a sole trader with an income tax or an activity statement debt of $100,000 or less you may be eligible to use our online services for individuals to set up a payment plan. You'll need a myGov account linked to the ATOExternal Link.

Make a payment plan

Alternatively, you can use our automated phone service to arrange a late payment or pay by instalments:

  1. Use the payment plan calculatorExternal Link to work out a plan that meets your circumstances, taking into account the payment plan conditions and how quickly you can pay off the debt, including how much interest you'll be charged.
  2. Phone our automated service on 13 72 26 to set up the payment plan. You'll need your TFN or ABN.      
    • Registered agents can phone 13 72 86 (fast key code 1 2 2).

If you pay late or enter into a payment plan, you will generally incur interest.

You still need to lodge your activity statements and tax returns on time, even if you can't pay by the due date. You'll avoid a penalty for failing to lodge on time and show us that you're aware of your obligations and doing your best to meet them.

If you can't enter a payment plan through our automated phone service, you’ll be connected to a customer service representative who will help you.

Registered agents can request a payment plan using Portal mail in the Tax Agent PortalExternal Link or BAS Agent PortalExternal Link:

  • Topic: Debt and lodgment
  • Subject: Payment arrangement request

Phone for more complex situations

If your tax debt is greater than $100,000, phone us on 13 11 42 to discuss your circumstances.

  • Registered agents phone 13 72 86 (fast key code 1 2 2) to discuss your client's situation.

If you're trying to do the right thing, we're committed to understanding your situation and helping you where possible.

In some cases we’ll need to know more about your financial situation and your circumstances so we can work with you to set up a payment plan that is manageable and suits both of us.

We may require you to show that your business is viable. When assessing a business's viability, we look at its ability to pay its debts and meet ongoing commitments.

Even if you've made a payment plan to pay late or by instalments, interest will accrue on the unpaid debt (small businesses may be eligible for interest-free payment plans for activity statement debts).

If you default on a payment plan, we may impose stricter requirements before agreeing to a new plan. For example, we may ask for a higher upfront payment or ask that payments are made by direct debit, or both.


Phil, a self-employed carpenter, went through a 'quiet period' during which it was hard to get work. He continued to submit business activity statements but stopped paying his GST.

After receiving a notice about his outstanding tax debt, Phil phoned us and negotiated a payment plan to pay the debt by instalments. Phil had been paying these instalments when he received a phone call from a tax officer advising that his payment plan had defaulted.

Phil had not understood that the instalments were only addressing the debt he had incurred and that to comply with the terms of his payment plan he also needed to meet his ongoing GST obligations as they arose. After considering Phil's individual circumstances, we agreed to a new payment plan with more stringent requirements.

End of example

Dealing with disasters and hardship

If you've been affected by a natural disaster, such as a bushfire, storm or flood, we'll work with you to help you sort out your tax affairs when you're ready. Phone us on 13 28 66.

If paying your tax debt would cause you serious hardship – for example, you wouldn't be able to provide food and accommodation for you or your family – contact us on 13 11 42 to discuss your circumstances. We may be able to release you from some or all of the debt.

  • Registered agents phone 13 72 86 (fast key code 1 2 2) to discuss your client's situation

See also:

Last modified: 08 Aug 2016QC 32254