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  • Deferrals for new or re-engaged clients with overdue returns

    If you have clients with one or more years of overdue tax returns to lodge, remember that only the current year tax return is included in the Lodgment program on-time performance measurement.

    Prior year returns are not included in the calculation.

    If you take on new clients (or previous clients) with overdue tax returns, your on-time lodgment performance will only be affected if you lodge the current year return after the due date or deferred date.

    On this page:


    You can request additional time to lodge your client's overdue returns. We can provide you with a deferral for your client's current year return, and will also consider delaying activities to secure lodgment on the overdue prior year returns.

    The maximum period of additional time allowed for both the deferral and the delaying of action on overdue prior year lodgments is 42 days (six weeks) from the date of request.

    You can only use the Deferrals for new or re-engaged clients with overdue returns application form to request lodgment deferrals for tax returns, where the client's lodgment due date is 31 October.

    If your client has outstanding obligations that are not tax returns, use the ATO assessed deferrals process.

    Submitting a request

    You must submit your application through the Tax Agent Portal by saving a copy in Excel format to your computer and attaching it to the appropriate portal message.

    You can list multiple clients on a single form.

    To apply for additional time to lodge for new or re-engaged clients with overdue returns, submit your application through the Tax Agent Portal:

    • select Income tax as the message topic
    • select ATO assessed deferral as the message subject
    • attach your deferral request to the message.

    Do not include additional supporting information in the portal message.

    Next step:


    In January 2017, Stephen is approached by a new client with overdue prior year income tax returns for 2013, 2014 and 2015. The 2016 income tax return was due on 31 October 2016.

    Stephen requests additional time to allow him to complete and lodge the overdue prior and current year returns on the Deferrals for new or re-engaged clients with overdue returns application form.

    Stephen is granted a deferral for the 2016 return for 42 days from the date of his request, and is able to lodge the current year return on time.

    The ATO also agree to cease activities to secure the overdue prior year returns for the same time period, while Stephen brings the client up to date.

    Stephen’s client is still liable for any late lodgment penalties and interest that are applicable for his overdue 2013, 2014 and 2015 returns.

    End of example

    After you submit your request

    Processing may take up to 28 days around peak lodgment dates. Do not resend a further application for the same clients within the 28-day processing period. This could cause possible delays to the processing of your original request.

    When your request has been processed, we will notify you of our decision through the Tax Agent or BAS Agent Portal.

    New deferred due dates for eligible clients will display on the Tax Agent Portal or the ELS client list, within a period of time that allows for system processing.

    Last modified: 05 Dec 2017QC 47906