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  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and individual tax

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    Find out about paying tax, lodging a tax return, applying for your TFN, receiving income and claiming deductions.

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    Paying tax

    We (the ATO) collect money on behalf of the government, this is known as paying tax. The taxes we collect pay for services the government provides, such as:

    • hospitals
    • education
    • roads
    • railways.

    The amount of tax you pay depends on how much money you earn and if you have a tax file number (TFN).

    Your tax file number

    A TFN is your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems. A TFN is free.

    If you don’t have a TFN, you may be paying too much tax.

    How you apply for a TFN will depend on your circumstances. The fastest way to apply for a TFN is online.

    If you don't have enough identity documents for online or other application channels. You can apply for a TFN with the paper application form for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    Your tax return

    When you're receiving income, you need to lodge a tax return each year at tax time. Most people need to lodge a tax return by 31 October.

    A family member or friend can help you with your tax return. They cannot charge you a fee – only registered tax agents can charge for preparing tax returns. You must sign the tax return yourself as you are responsible for the information in it.

    If you're unsure if you need to lodge a tax return or if you're having issues lodging your tax return, get help free from our Tax Help volunteers or phone the Indigenous helpline on 13 10 30.

    Receiving income

    When you do your tax return, you must include all of the income you received during the financial year. This may include income from:

    • employment
    • investments
    • government payments and grants
    • other sources.

    Amounts you don’t include in your tax return

    There are some amounts don't need to be include as income in your tax return. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Indigenous holding entities don't need to pay income tax or capital gains tax on native title payments or benefits.

    Claiming deductions

    When you do your tax return, you can claim deductions for some expenses. For example, you may be able to claim a deduction that directly relates to expenses you incur to do your job.

    You need to keep records (such as receipts) for your expenses. You can use the ATO app's myDeductions tool to keep track of your records all in one place.

    Offsets and rebates

    You may be eligible for some tax offsets and rebates. Tax offsets and rebates reduce the amount of tax you need to pay.

    If you use fuel (such as diesel or petrol) to make electricity for your home, you may also be able to claim fuel tax credits. You need to register for fuel tax credits before you can claim.

    Last modified: 23 Nov 2022QC 39590