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  • Payments and reporting

    Answers to questions on:

    PAYG instalment rates and payments

    Answers to questions on:

    Question: I am not going to make enough income from my business, distributions or investment income this year to have a tax liability. Can I claim back the PAYG instalments I have already paid?

    Answer: Yes – if the instalments you have been paying will be more than the tax liability you will owe at the end of the year, you can vary the instalment amount on your next activity statement.

    Where you choose to vary your PAYG instalments we won't apply penalties or charge interest to varied instalments for the 2019–20 financial year.

    You can vary your amount to either:

    • zero, to make no payment this period,
    • a reduced amount, to cover what you estimate you need to pay for this period.

    If you have varied your rate or amount down you can also claim a 5B credit for the amount you have already paid this financial year when you lodge your activity statement.

    This will generate a refundable credit for the amount you have already paid when you lodge your activity statement.

    Lodgment deferrals

    Question: I have a deferred lodgment date for my 2019 tax return because I usually lodge through my tax agent. However, my tax agent is closed due to COVID-19. Can I lodge my own return online by the deferred due date?

    Answer: Yes, you can lodge your own return online if you can no longer lodge through your agent. If you are entitled to a refund, you don’t need to contact us and we will process your return as quickly as we can. If you are expecting to have an amount to pay from your assessment, contact us after you lodge so we can ensure you are not charged a late lodgement penalty, and we can defer your payment due date.

    PAYG withholding amounts

    Question: Can I vary my PAYG withholding amounts from employees to zero for the next quarter?

    Answer. No. The PAYG instalment reduction option only applies to instalments you pay in advance towards your own expected tax liabilities. You will still need to report and pay the amounts you withhold from your employee’s wages.

    Excise and fuel tax credits

    Question: What if I can’t lodge my excise return or pay amounts owing due to COVID-19?

    Answer: You need to contact us to discuss alternative arrangements.

    Question: Can I get a fuel tax credit for my business use of fuel without lodging a business activity statement?

    Answer: No – you need to make a claim for fuel tax credit on your business activity statement.

    Question: Do I need to pay excise duty if I manufacture hand sanitiser?

    Answer: Hand sanitiser does not usually attract excise, as its alcohol content has typically been treated (denatured) to make it unfit for human consumption. Denatured spirit may also be suitable for making other commercial cleaning products, and can be purchased without restriction. If you hold an excise manufacturer licence to distil spirits, you can make alcohol to manufacture into hand sanitiser. 

    We are simplifying and fast-tracking our advice and processes to support the further production of hand sanitiser during these difficult times.

    More information is available on ato.gov.au/alcoholexcise

    Companies with substituted accounting periods

    Question: I’m a company with an approved substituted accounting period (SAP) for an early balance date and I’m entitled to a refund. Can I lodge my company tax return early and receive the refund straight away?

    Answer: You will be able to lodge your company tax return before the lodgment due date and receive a refund immediately if the company:

    • is a full self-assessment taxpayer, and
    • has an approved SAP with a balancing period that has concluded.

    For example, if you have an approved SAP with an early balancing period ending on 31 December 2019, your ordinary lodgment due date would be 15 July 2020. If you choose to lodge your 2020 tax return before that date, you can receive your refund immediately.

    However, if you have a debt with us and you are due to receive a refund we are required by law to use the refund or credit to reduce your debt. If you don’t want this to happen, contact us to discuss your circumstances.

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      Last modified: 27 Mar 2020QC 61775