Assistance for drought-affected taxpayers
We are working with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, local, state and other federal government agencies to offer help and support to Australians who are experiencing hardship as a result of drought and to support them to prepare for future drought conditions.
If you have been affected by drought, we are here to help. We can look at your individual circumstances and work with you to address any difficulties you are having in managing your tax.
Greater flexibility to meet your obligations
We can help you if you have been affected by drought by:
- giving you additional time to pay
- waiving any penalties or interest we have charged during the time you have been affected by drought
- offering a payment plan that suits your circumstances, including interest free periods
- showing you how to change your pay as you go (PAYG) instalments to better suit your circumstances.
Remember to lodge by the due date even if you can't pay. If you are experiencing financial hardship, such as difficulty meeting the basic costs of living, we can prioritise your income tax and activity statement refunds or not use your refund to offset other government debts. In special circumstances, the Commissioner of Taxation can release individuals from payment of some taxes where it is shown that payment would cause serious hardship.
We're committed to looking at your individual circumstances and providing you with a tailored solution. To discuss your situation and the support we can offer, call 13 11 42 and select option 3.
Special assistance for primary producers
The government recognises the significant impact the ongoing drought is having on rural communities. We offer a number of programs to help primary producers.
Investing for future sustainability
Primary producers can now offset the cost of certain capital assets more quickly than before. Immediate deductions are available for new fencing infrastructure and accelerated depreciation is available for new on-farm water storage facilities and fodder storage.
Find out about:
Farm management deposits
If you are a primary producing individual who makes less than $100,000 from any other income sources, you may be eligible for the farm management deposits scheme. With the scheme, you can deposit money during good years to reduce your taxable income, then withdraw when times are tough. From 1 July 2016, the limit on farm management deposits has increased from $400,000 to $800,000. You can also now access your funds earlier in times of drought or natural disaster, without losing tax concessions.
See below for more drought assistance schemes and other support programs available for farmers and families experiencing hardship as a result of drought.
Small business tax concessions
Small business tax concessions introduced in May 2015 include a reduced company tax rate, capital gains tax concessions, PAYG instalment concessions and simpler deduction rules.
Drought and rural assistance
The Department of Agriculture and Water ResourcesExternal Link delivers assistance measuresExternal Link for farm families, businesses and rural communities. This includes extra help announced as part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White PaperExternal Link.
Rural Financial Counselling Service
The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) programExternal Link is a free service for farmers, fishing enterprises, forestry growers and harvesters and small related businesses experiencing financial hardship. Visit the website to find your nearest financial counsellor or phone 1800 686 175.
Farm Household Allowance
The Department of Human Services administers financial support to those impacted by drought and other financial hardship through the Farm Household AllowanceExternal Link. For eligibility and to apply visit the websiteExternal Link or phone the DHS Farmer Assistance Hotline 132 316.
Tailored assistance is available for taxpayers in drought-affected communities to help manage their tax obligations.