The following are answers to frequently asked questions about how we calculate the FTL penalty.

How is an FTL penalty calculated?

The amount of an FTL penalty is calculated at the rate of one penalty unit for each period of 28 days or part thereof for which a document is overdue, up to a maximum of five penalty units.

Under most Commonwealth laws, financial penalties are expressed in terms of penalty units instead of dollar figures. Refer to Penalties for penalty unit amounts. From 31 July 2015 onwards, the value of a penalty unit increases to $180 (it was previously $170).

For failure to lodge on time penalty the increased rate will only apply where the first day of the relevant 28-day period or part thereof occurs on or after 31 July 2015. Size tests also apply; taxpayers classified as medium entities will have the penalty amount multiplied by a factor of two, and entities classified as large by a factor of five.

The size of an entity for penalty purposes is related to its assessable income, withholder status or current GST turnover.

See What are the size tests used to determine the multiplier?

We will calculate the period of time the document is overdue from the day the document is due to the day before the document is received.

If we apply a penalty where the document is overdue, we will calculate the amount from the lodgment due date to the day before the penalty is applied. If the maximum penalty allowed by law has not been applied to an overdue document, we may increase the penalty amount at a later date.

Consequently, the longer you take to lodge a document after the due date the higher the penalty amount that may be applied. The maximum amount of an FTL penalty may be applied if the document is not lodged within 113 days of the lodgment due date.

Example of FTL penalty calculation

The table below shows the amount of penalty applicable, by entity size, for the period that a document is overdue.

FTL penalty amount according to entity size

Days overdue




28 days or less




29 to 56 days




57 to 84 days




85 to 112 days




113 days or more





End of example

What are the size tests used to determine the multiplier?

  • A small entity is an entity that is neither a medium or large entity.
  • A medium entity is a medium withholder for pay as you go (PAYG) income tax withholding purposes; or has assessable income or current GST turnover of more than $1 million and less than $20 million.
  • A large entity is a large withholder for PAYG income tax withholding purposes, or has assessable income or current GST turnover of $20 million or more.

Will a general interest charge (GIC) be applied if I pay my FTL penalty late?

GIC applies to any amount that remains unpaid after the due date for payment.

    Last modified: 12 Jul 2016QC 16611