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  • Lodgment, assessment and payment



    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

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    An SMSF must lodge an SMSF annual return, even if it does not have a tax liability for the income year.

    You can lodge the SMSF annual return either:

    The audit of your SMSF must be finished before you lodge the SMSF annual return, as you need information from the audit report to complete the regulatory information on the SMSF annual return.

    Lodging electronically

    To lodge electronically you need software that supports electronic lodgment by standard business reporting (SBR). For more information, see Standard business reportingExternal Link.

    You cannot lodge electronically and must lodge a paper SMSF annual return, if the SMSF has:

    • no assets or liabilities (unless it was wound up during 2020–21)
    • no assessable income
    • a type of deduction that can be claimed even where there is no assessable income, such as tax-agent fees and the SMSF supervisory levy
    • both non-arm's length income and an arm's length loss.

    You must keep arm's length income, deductions and losses separate from non-arm's length income, deductions and losses.

    You must reduce any tax loss by the SMSF's tax exempt current pension income before you carry the loss forward to 2021–22.

    You must lodge a paper annual return if these circumstances apply to your SMSF.

    Lodging the paper SMSF annual return

    You can lodge a paper SMSF annual return that:

    To lodge your paper SMSF annual return, you must:

    • send us your original paper SMSF annual return, not a copy
    • send your SMSF annual return to the following address only, not to any other ATO address

      Australian Taxation Office
      GPO Box 9845

    The address must appear exactly as shown above. Do not use a city name or postcode, as we have a special agreement with Australia Post.

    You may photocopy the annual return for the SMSF’s records.

    Lodging schedules

    The following are the only schedules that you may include with the SMSF annual return, if required:

    SMSF annual returns lodged without all the required schedules are not lodged in the approved form. Unless your SMSF annual return and all required schedules are lodged by the due date, we may apply a penalty for failing to lodge on time.

    You may have to complete other schedules or documents which you are not required to lodge with your SMSF annual return. Do not send them with the SMSF annual return. Sign and date any schedules and keep the schedules and documents with the SMSF’s tax records.

    Lodgment due dates

    The SMSF annual return for a particular income year is due in the following income year. So the 2021 SMSF annual return (for 2020–21) is due in 2021–22.

    Not all SMSFs have the same lodgment due date. Check below for the due date that applies to your SMSF.

    If a due date falls on a weekend or public holiday you can lodge or pay on the next business day.


    An SMSF that prepares and lodges its own annual return must lodge by the applicable date shown in the table below. If more than one date applies to the SMSF, it must lodge by the earliest date that applies to it.

    Dates and types of lodgment for self-preparers

    Lodgment date

    Self-preparer to whom the date applies

    Payment due date (if required)

    31 October 2021

    • New registrant SMSF
    • SMSF with one or more annual returns overdue on 30 June 2021 (unless they have been granted a deferral)


    1 December 2021

    15 January 2022


    1 December 2021. See Due dates for lodging and paying.

    28 February 2022

    • All other self-preparing SMSFs (unless we have directed you to lodge on a different date)


    28 February 2022

    Failure to lodge your SMSF annual return by the due date can result in penalties and the loss of your SMSF’s tax concessions.

    Tax agent clients

    An SMSF that uses a registered tax agent to prepare and lodge its annual return should contact its tax agent to find out the due date for lodgment.

    For your first year the due date will be 28 February 2022.

    Amending an SMSF annual return

    To amend your SMSF annual return you need to:

    • resubmit the whole annual return, and
    • answer 'yes' to the question Is this an amendment to the SMSF's 2021 return? at question 5 in section A.

    When submitting an amendment, you must complete the new form in full (not just the parts you want to change). Your amended form will replace the original form in our system.

    You can lodge amendments to the 2021 SMSF annual return by:

    The address must appear exactly as shown above. Do not use a city name or postcode. We have a special agreement with Australia Post. You have not lodged your amended paper SMSF annual return if it is sent to another address (even if it is the address of an ATO office).

    You cannot request amendments to an SMSF annual return by:


    Under full self-assessment, an SMSF completes and lodges its annual return and pays the amount it is required to pay (if any) to the ATO. An assessment of an SMSF is deemed to be made on the day on which the annual return is lodged.

    The SMSF will not receive a notice of assessment. However, we will issue a notice of amended assessment if subsequent amendments are made.

    If you do not agree with a decision made by the ATO, you can find more information at Dispute or object to an ATO decision.

    You can request a ruling or SMSF specific advice to clarify the way the law applies to your SMSF. For more information, see:


    Your payment needs to reach us on or before its due date, regardless of whether the payment is made in Australia or from overseas.

    Payment methods

    Our preferred payment methods are:

    • BPAY®
    • credit or debit card.

    For more payment options, see How to pay.

    You need to quote your payment reference number (PRN) when making a payment. It is important that you provide the correct PRN when making your payment. If you are unable to locate your PRN, you can:

    • phone us on 1800 815 886, 8.00am–6.00pm, Monday to Friday
    • email us at

    What if your SMSF cannot pay its tax debt by the due date?

    If you cannot pay the debt on time phone 13 28 66 and ask for account management.

    You are expected to organise the SMSF’s affairs to ensure that you pay the debt on time. However, depending on the circumstances you may be able to enter into an arrangement to pay by instalments.

    You may need to provide details of the SMSF’s financial position, including a statement of its assets and liabilities and details of the SMSF’s income and expenditure. We will also want to know what steps you have taken to obtain funds to pay the tax debt and the steps you are taking to meet future payments of tax debts on time.

    General interest charge (GIC) is an interest charge imposed where there is a late payment of a tax debt. The GIC rate is the 90-day Bank Accepted Bill rate plus 7% and is updated on a quarterly basis. Amounts payable under the original assessment are due on the statutory due date for payment, which is the first day of the sixth month of the following income year or by such later date as the Commissioner allows. For SMSFs the balancing date is 30 June 2021 and the statutory due date for payment is 1 December 2021; however, for many SMSFs a later payment due date will apply. GIC will begin to accrue from the due date for payment until the amount is paid in full. GIC compounds daily and is calculated on any outstanding balance.

    For more information on the GIC, phone 13 28 66.

    Penalties and interest charges

    You should take care in your application of the law and the statements you make in the SMSF annual return. The law imposes penalties on the trustees of SMSFs for:

    • failing to lodge the annual return on time and in the approved form
    • making a false or misleading statement even if there is no shortfall amount
    • having a shortfall amount for underreporting a liability or over-claiming a credit that is caused by taking a position that is not reasonably arguable
    • failing to provide an annual return from which the Commissioner can determine a liability
    • entering into a scheme to obtain a tax benefit.

    Knowingly answering a question incorrectly will result in a higher penalty than answering carelessly. SMSF trustees have ultimate responsibility for the SMSF, regardless of whether or not the trustees use professional services such as administration providers, tax agents or other financial advisers.

    Penalties for false or misleading statements will not apply, if:

    • the trustee of the SMSF and their agent (if applicable) made a mistake and they took reasonable care with making the statement, or
    • the trustee of the SMSF gave their registered tax agent all relevant taxation information and the agent makes a false or misleading statement due to a lack of reasonable care by the agent.

    The trustee of an SMSF is liable for GIC if:

    • tax, penalties or shortfall interest charges (SIC) remain unpaid after the due date for payment, or
    • a variation of a pay as you go (PAYG) instalment rate or amount is less than 85% of the rate or amount which would have covered the SMSF’s actual liability for the year.

    The trustee of an SMSF is liable for the SIC if the SMSF’s income tax assessment is amended and its liability increased. Generally, the SIC accrues on the extra tax payable from the due date of the original assessment until the day before the assessment is amended.

    For general information about SMSF penalties, see How we deal with non-compliance.

    Last modified: 27 May 2021QC 64911