• How lodgment deferrals work

    Exceptional or unforeseen circumstances may affect your ability to lodge by a due date on behalf of your clients and a lodgment deferral may help. You can submit a deferral request by completing the current online application and lodging through the Tax Agent Portal or BAS Agent Portal.

    Lodgment deferrals extend the due date for lodgment of a document providing additional time to lodge without incurring a failure to lodge on time (FTL) penalty.

    While it may take more time to process your requests at peak times, we generally approve deferral requests, unless special circumstances apply.

    On this page:

    Agent assessed lodgment deferrals now include payment deferral

    Approved agent assessed deferral requests will also have an automatic payment deferral to the deferred lodgment due date. This does not apply to individuals and trusts as payment will be due 21 days after the issue of the notice of assessment of the deferred return.

    Next step:

    Deferrals for new clients with overdue prior year returns

    If you engage a client with overdue tax returns, you can make a request for additional time to lodge their 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.

    We have an Additional time for clients to lodge request form that you can use for requests relating to tax returns.

    Next step:

    Eligibility for deferrals

    You do not need to request a deferral if any of the following apply.

    • The lodgment or payment due date falls on a weekend or public holiday. Lodgment or payment may be made the next business day.
    • You lodge and pay your clients' quarterly activity statements electronically, as you will automatically be provided the four-week lodgment concession. The concessional due date is automatically updated online, after you have lodged their activity statements electronically.
    • The due date is 15 May for income tax returns, as a further extension of time to lodge and pay to 5 June is already provided in the concessional lodgment program.

    You cannot request a deferral from the 5 June concessional lodgment date because it is not a due date under the lodgment program.

    You may not need to request a deferral if you are affected by a general or geographical issue that prevents you from lodging on time. Examples include natural disasters and widespread system outages. In these instances, we will inform you that you do not need to make your own deferral request.

    You can request a lodgment deferral for:

    • tax returns
    • fringe benefits tax returns
    • monthly and quarterly activity statements
    • annual GST returns
    • annual PAYG payment summary reports
    • taxable payments annual reports.

    We will continue to monitor agents’ lodgment performance and use of deferrals. We may contact those who have higher levels of non-compliance or are high users of deferrals to understand the reasons for the requests.

    Applying for deferrals

    Before you submit a request

    Make sure your request is consistent with:

    There are three types of deferrals:

    • Agent assessed deferrals
    • ATO assessed deferrals – requests that do not meet the criteria for agent assessed deferrals
    • Additional time to lodge for clients with overdue returns – requests for more time to lodge for newly added clients with overdue returns.

    We aim to process your request quickly. However, during peak lodgment periods it may take up to 28 days to finalise requests. We generally approve deferral requests unless special circumstances apply.

    Common errors that delay processing are:

    • not using the current application form – use either an Agent assessed deferral, an ATO assessed deferral or Additional time to lodge for clients with overdue returns form
    • not completing the application in full – include all relevant information to streamline the process
    • not attaching the form to a secure mail message through the Tax Agent Portal or BAS Agent Portal.

    When submitting a request for deferral:

    • save a copy of the form in Excel format and attach it to the appropriate portal message
    • list multiple clients on a single form, however you must lodge separate deferral request forms for each lodgment obligation type listed.

    Our decision

    Most requests for deferral will be approved and processed. You will receive notification through the Tax Agent Portal or BAS Agent Portal and your deferred due dates will show in either:  

    • the Tax Agent Portal or BAS Agent Portal
    • your ELS client list.

    However, if we:

    • don't have all the necessary information to process your request, we may contact you
    • decline or vary your request, you will receive notification through the Tax Agent Portal or BAS Agent Portal.

    A deferral request may be declined if:

    • the client has a record of late lodgments, including poor compliance with deferred due dates
    • we have commenced lodgment compliance action with your client
    • you are not listed on our systems as the authorised agent to act on the client's behalf
    • you request a deferral from the 5 June concessional lodgment date.
    Last modified: 30 Jun 2017QC 34581