Please identify which customer segments your enquiry related to today
Print this page
Print entire document
Managing your tax debt
Everyone pays tax according to what they earn, so the government can provide the services we need. While most people do the right thing, some find it difficult to stay on track with their tax obligations.
The simplest way for you to manage your tax is to pay in full and on time. However, if you owe tax or are finding it hard to pay on time, it’s important to contact us early on. We will work with you to solve the problem.
Get it done
How to pay your debt in full.
If you can’t pay your tax by the due date, we may agree to you entering into a payment plan depending on your circumstances.
Many people overestimate the size of the problem. We understand that debt is often a temporary problem, caused by unforeseen personal circumstances or a short-term business downturn. If you address problems early, you can prevent your debt from becoming more difficult to manage.
Find out more
You need to lodge your activity statements and tax returns on time, even if you’re unable to pay by the due date.
You’ll avoid a failure to lodge on time (FTL) penalty and show us that you’re aware of your obligations and doing your best to meet them. We will also use any credits or refunds due to you to help pay off your debt.
If you don't pay your tax on time, you’ll be charged interest from the due date until the amount is paid in full.
If you’re an individual and you have an income tax debt of less than $50,000, you can use our online services for individuals to easily set up a payment plan.
Online services for individuals
This short video (1 min 34 sec) tells you how we can help if you're having difficulty paying a tax debt.
Duration 1:34. A transcript of Stay in control of your business is also available.
These are some simple tips to help you avoid getting into debt in the future.
How to avoid a tax debt
Small businesses experiencing short-term financial difficulties may be eligible for interest-free payment plans for activity statement debts for up to 12 months.
Interest-free payment plans for activity statement debts
If you’re a sole trader or operate a small business and are experiencing short-term financial difficulty we may be able to help. We offer help to viable businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million that are having trouble meeting their tax payment obligations due to challenging business conditions or unexpected events such as natural disasters.
Help for small businesses experiencing short-term financial difficulties
If you’re experiencing serious hardship, you can apply for release from payment of some or all of your tax liabilities.
If you’ve been affected by a natural disaster such as flood, bushfire or drought, we can help you. We may allow you more time to lodge tax returns and activity statements, and to pay your tax debts without incurring interest charges.
People affected by natural disasters
When you speak to us about payment of your outstanding tax debt or waiving interest charges, we are committed to:
We are committed to supporting taxpayers who want to do the right thing and creating a level playing field for all individuals and businesses. If you make a payment plan with us but don’t keep to it, or ignore your payment obligations, we may refer your debt to an external collection agency or take stronger measures such as garnishee action to collect the debt. In some cases, we may need to take legal action to make sure that the correct tax is paid.
Australian Taxation OfficePO Box 327ALBURY NSW 2640
System maintenance and issuesAccess managerAbout online services
More forms and instructions Arrow button
More tax rates and codes Arrow button
More calculators and tools Arrow button
Legal Database Arrow button