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  • Before you lodge

    Before you lodge your tax return, check our information.

    In this section

    Check if you need to lodge

    Most people need to lodge a tax return each year. If you’re unsure whether you need to lodge, use our Do I need to lodge a tax return tool to find out.

    You may not need to lodge a tax return for 2020–21 if you did not:

    • work during the income year
    • have any tax withheld.

    In this case, you can submit a non-lodgment advice form.

    If you need to lodge but are worried you won't be able to by 31 October 2021, contact our debt and lodgment enquiries team to discuss your situation.

    You can also talk to us in your preferred language by calling the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 13 14 50.

    If you need to lodge a tax return for a previous year, it’s important to get up to date as soon as possible as interest and penalties may apply.

    You can lodge most overdue tax returns online using ATO online services through your myGov account. You will need to link your myGov account to the ATO. If you have an outstanding return for an income year prior to 2013–14, you will need to lodge using a paper form or with a registered tax agent.

    Talk to your registered tax agent

    You can lodge your tax return with a registered tax agent. Tax agents must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). You can check whether a person is a registered tax agent by visiting the TPB websiteExternal Link.

    If you use a registered tax agent to prepare and lodge your tax return, you can lodge later than 31 October. Contact a registered tax agent before the deadline to arrange this.

    See also

    Create a myGov account and link to the ATO

    You will need a myGov account linked to the ATO to access ATO online services. In ATO online services, you can:

    • lodge your tax return
    • view your employment income statement
    • view your student loan balance
    • update your details – including name, address, date of birth and bank account
    • view and manage your super.

    Create a myGov account

    To create a myGov account, go to myGovExternal Link and use an email address only you have access to, not a shared email.

    Add your Australian mobile number to receive SMS security codes when signing in. To link to the ATO you must use SMS security codes. If you don't have an Australian mobile number you can use the myGov Code Generator app. You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

    Keep your myGov sign in details safe and don’t share them with anyone, including family members or your tax agent. Avoid using your myGov account over public wi-fi. These unsecured networks make it easier for cybercriminals to intercept your information.

    Link your myGov account to the ATO

    Go to the Services tab in your myGov account and select Australian Taxation Office.

    To link online without having to phone us for a linking code select ‘Questions specific to you’.

    If you don't have enough information to answer the questions, select 'Use a linking code'. You will need to phone us for a linking code.

    Before you phone, have your information ready so we can prove your identity, such as your tax file number, driver's licence or Medicare card.

    See also:

    Watch: How to create a myGov account and link to the ATO

    This video shows how to create a myGov account and link to the ATO.

    Media: How to create a myGov account and link to the ATO Link (Duration: 03:57)

    Use myGovID to sign in to myGov

    myGovID is an app you can download to your smart device which proves who you are when signing to myGov. myGovID makes signing in to your myGov account:

    • flexible – you can still use your current myGov sign in option or myGovID, helping you avoid losing access to your account when using other sign in options
    • secure – your personal information is encrypted and verified against existing government records, making it the most secure way to sign in to myGov.

    See also

    ATO app

    If you've set up your myGov account and linked it to the ATO, download our free ATO app. The ATO app makes it simple and easy to manage your tax and super affairs on the go.

    Next steps

      Last modified: 15 Oct 2021QC 62802