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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and individual tax

Learn about paying tax, applying for a TFN, lodging a tax return, receiving income and claiming deductions.

Last updated 3 June 2024

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Paying tax

We (the ATO) collect money on behalf of the government, this is known as paying tax. The taxes we collect pay for services the government provides, such as:

  • hospitals
  • education
  • roads
  • railways.

The amount of tax you pay depends on how much money you earn and if you have a tax file number (TFN).

Your tax file number

A TFN is your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems. A TFN is free.

If you don’t have a TFN, you may be paying too much tax.

How you apply for a TFN will depend on your circumstances. The fastest way to apply for a TFN is online.

If you don't have enough identity documents for online or other application channels, you can apply for a TFN with the paper application form for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Your tax return

When you're receiving income, you need to lodge a tax return each year. Most people need to lodge a tax return by 31 October.

A family member or someone you know can help you with your tax return. They cannot charge you a fee – only registered tax agents can charge for preparing tax returns. You must sign the tax return yourself as you are responsible for the information in it.

If you're unsure if you need to lodge a tax return or if you're having issues lodging your tax return, get help free from our Tax Help volunteers. You can also phone the Indigenous helpline on 13 10 30 between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday to Friday except public holidays.

Receiving income

You need to include all of the income you received during the income year when you complete your tax return. This may include income from:

  • employment
  • investments
  • government payments and grants
  • other sources.

Amounts you don’t include in your tax return

There are some amounts you don't need to include as income in your tax return. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Indigenous holding entities don't need to pay income tax or capital gains tax on native title payments or benefits.

Claiming deductions

When you do your tax return, you can claim deductions for some expenses. For example, you may be able to claim a deduction that directly relates to expenses you incur to do your job.

You need to keep records (such as receipts) for your expenses. You can use the ATO app's myDeductions tool to keep track of your records all in one place.

Offsets and rebates

You may be eligible for some tax offsets and rebates. Tax offsets and rebates reduce the amount of tax you need to pay.

If you use fuel (such as diesel or petrol) to generate electricity for your home, you may also be able to claim fuel tax credits. You need to register for fuel tax credits before you can claim.

Native title benefits are paid to recognise the rights and interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.