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  • Ready, set, lodge!

    The majority of taxpayers can now lodge their tax return as more than 80 million pieces of information are available in pre-fill.

    Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh explained “Much of the information we collect from employers, banks, private health insurers, share registries and other institutions, is now ready to go in your tax return. If you also have all the information you need to manually include, then you have the green light to lodge.”

    While having this data ready to go cuts down time, taxpayers still need to check that their details are accurate and ensure any other information that hasn’t been pre-filled, is manually added. For example, income from rentals, side hustles and the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment from Services Australia, will need to be manually added.

    Employers will provide an income statement or payment summary that shows the amounts received and the tax withheld. It is also important to ensure that income statements are marked as ‘Tax ready' by employers before lodging.

    If taxpayers had more than one employer during the year, they will have more than one income statement or payment summary. If the information on an income statement or payment summary is incorrect, the employee should contact their employer as the employer should be able to correct any errors.

    “For those who use a registered tax agent, your agent will have access to your information. But even if you use a tax agent, remember that you are still on the hook to ensure that the information is correct,” Mr Loh said.

    “No one likes delays, and this isn’t just limited to the morning traffic. Mistakes like forgetting to update your contact details, bank account details, leaving out income, overclaiming on deductions or making claims for non-deductible items, can slow down the processing of tax returns and your refund.”

    So far this tax time, over $5.7 billion has been refunded to more than 2 million taxpayers.

    “Four out of five people receive a refund with most refunds issued in less than two weeks. This process can’t be sped up, even if you or your agent calls us.”

    “After lodging your tax return, you can keep an eye on how it is progressing through ATO online services, the ATO app or by phone. If you lodged through a registered tax agent, they can also check this for you,” Mr Loh said.

    Those who lodge themselves will also receive an SMS when the ATO is at the final stage of processing their refund. This will include an estimate for when they will receive any refund owed.

    It’s important to note that the amount of any refund will depend on each individual’s circumstances and how much tax they have paid throughout the year.

    Low and middle income tax offset

    The low and middle income tax offset (LMITO) has increased by $420 for the 2021–22 financial year (also known as the $420 cost of living tax offset). This has increased the base amount to $675 and the maximum tax offset amount to $1,500. The offset applies to people with a taxable income less than $126,000, who are Australian residents for tax purposes.

    The offset amount, and the amount of any refund will differ for everyone depending on their individual circumstances. Those who are eligible don't have to do anything different to claim the offset. It will be calculated for them when they lodge their tax return.

    “We understand that people will be looking forward to receiving the low and middle income tax offset again this year, but it’s important to remember it is not a cash refund or a tax bonus. The offset reduces the amount of tax you need to pay which can reduce your tax to zero,” Mr Loh said.

    “If there is any offset remaining, you will not receive that amount as a cash refund.”

    Additional lodgment support

    Those who engage with a registered tax agent may be able lodge after the usual 31 October deadline through the tax agent lodgment program. Contact a registered tax agent before the deadline to find out more.

    For more information, visit Lodge with a registered tax agent.

    The ATO’s Tax Help program is open to anyone with simple tax affairs, earning around $60,000 or less in salary or wages. It is a free service and our accredited volunteers can help with setting up a myGov account, tax return lodgment, lodging an amendment or claiming a refund of franking credits.

    For a full list of eligibility requirements and to make an appointment, please visit ato.gov.au/taxhelp.

    For those not eligible for Tax Help, the National Tax Clinic program, is a government-funded initiative run by participating universities to help those who may not be able to afford professional advice and representation with their tax affairs. For more information, including a list of participating universities and eligibility please visit ato.gov.au/nationaltaxclinic.

    More information

    Last modified: 27 Jul 2022QC 70114