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  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and individuals tax

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    Tax is the money we collect on behalf of the government. It is used to pay for services the government provides, such as hospitals, schools, roads and railways.

    The amount of tax you pay depends on how much money you earn and if you have a tax file number (TFN). If you don’t have a TFN, you may be paying too much tax.

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    Your tax return

    When you're receiving income, you need to lodge a tax return each year at tax time. Tax time runs from July to October.

    Most people need to lodge a tax return by 31 October.

    There are a few ways you can lodge a tax return:

    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.

    You need to keep records about your tax to prove what you put on your tax return. In most cases, you need to keep all your tax records for five years, including receipts for anything you claim as a deduction.

    If you're unsure if you need to lodge a tax return or if you're having issues lodging your tax return, phone the Indigenous helpline on 13 10 30.

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    Receiving income

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

    Some examples of income you need to include are:

    • employment income – such as salary and wages, allowances, bonuses, tips, fringe benefits, lump sum payments and super contributions
    • Centrelink and other government payments, such as
      • the age pension
      • the disability support pension (if you have reached the pension age)
      • Austudy
      • Abstudy (if you are 16 years or older)
      • JobSeeker Payment
      • youth allowance
      • Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP)
      • carer payments (if you or the person you care for have reached pension age)
    • investment income – such as bank interest
    • business income
    • other sources of income.

    For more information on income, see Income you must declare.

    Amounts you don’t include in your tax return

    Some amounts do not need to be included on your tax return – for example, small gifts or prizes, lottery prizes, child support payments and native title payments.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Indigenous holding entities do not need to pay income tax or capital gains tax on native title payments or benefits.

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    Claiming deductions

    When you do your tax return, you can claim certain deductions for some expenses. For example, you may be able to claim a deduction for work-related expenses.

    Some basic rules for claiming deductions are:

    • it must be directly related to your job, not for use at home
    • you must have spent the money yourself and weren't reimbursed
    • you must have the written records, such as receipts
    • you need to claim it in the same financial year that you made the purchase.

    For more information on deductions, see Deductions you can claim.

    Managing your deductions

    Save time and keep your tax organised with the ATO app's myDeductions tool.

    myDeductions is a record-keeping tool to make it easier and more convenient for you to keep track of your records all in one place.

    Offsets and rebates

    You may be eligible for some tax offsets and rebates, such as the:

    Tax offsets and rebates reduce the amount of tax you need to pay. We use income tests to see if you're eligible.

    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.

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    Last modified: 01 Jul 2021QC 39590