Show download pdf controls
  • Lodging your first tax return

    Every year, most people need to complete a tax return and lodge it with us. In your tax return you tell us about all your income and deductions for the year.

    We use this information to work out if you need to pay extra tax or if you need to get money back (a tax refund).

    Tax returns cover the financial year from 1 July to 30 June. If you are doing your own tax return, you need to lodge it with us by 31 October.

    If you want free help filling out your tax return and you are on a low income, our trained Tax Help volunteers may be able to help you.

    If you are using a tax agent, you need to contact them before 31 October. You should check that your tax agent is registered.

    Who needs to lodge a tax return?

    Most people need to complete a tax return and lodge it with the ATO every year.

    Why do I need to lodge a tax return?

    The ATO needs to know how much money you earned (income) during the financial year and what deductions you can claim. This information tells them whether you need to pay extra tax (a tax bill) or you need to get money back (a tax refund).

    A financial year is from 1 July to 30 June.

    When do I need to lodge my tax return?

    If you’re doing your own tax return, you need to lodge it by 31 October every year.

    If a registered tax agent is helping you with your tax return you need to start working with them before 31 October.

    How can I lodge my tax return?

    If you’re doing your own tax return you can lodge it online using myTax.

    If you’re using a registered tax agent, you should make an appointment to talk with them.

    What information do I need to lodge my tax return?

    You’ll need your:

    • tax file number (TFN)
    • bank account details in case you’re owed money back
    • income – to prove any money you made
      • income statements from all your employers
      • payment summaries from Centrelink
       
    • deductions and expenses – to prove any deductions you’re claiming
      • receipts for work-related expenses, donations or gifts
       

    If you’re lodging your tax return online using myTax, you’ll need your myGov user ID and password. If you don’t have a myGov account, you can set one up and link to the ATO at my.gov.auExternal Link.

    Employers, banks and other businesses give the ATO details about the people they work with. If you wait until late July, the ATO includes these details in your tax return for you. This makes lodging your tax return quicker and easier.

    What income do I need to include?

    You must include all the income you receive during the financial year. That means money you have earned from all your jobs, including:

    • full time
    • part time
    • casual or odd jobs
    • self-employment
    • cash jobs.

    You must also include money you earned in other ways, including:

    • interest from bank accounts
    • government payments (e.g. from Centrelink)
    • owning a rental property
    • overseas investments
    • share market dividends.

    No matter how you earn it, remember to include it in your tax return.

    What deductions can I claim?

    You can claim deductions for some expenses related to your job. Common deductions include:

    • vehicle and travel expenses
    • clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning
    • home office expenses
    • self-education expenses
    • tools and equipment.

    See also:

    Deductions you can claim

    You must be able to show records, for example receipts, for any deductions you claim. You need to keep these records for at least five years. The ATO may ask you to show these records at any time.

    Next steps:

      Last modified: 30 Jun 2021QC 61176