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When is a voyage return form required?

Last updated 27 October 2016

When a visiting ship derives income from voyages within Australian waters, its operator must lodge an Overseas ships – voyage return form with us. Voyages include:

  • intra-state
  • inter-state
  • a ship's departure voyage from its last port-of-call in Australian waters to its first destination outside our waters.

This can include 'transhipment' of cargo and/or paying passengers – that is, transferred from one vessel to another.

A voyage return form is required for each visiting vessel that carries passengers, livestock, mail or goods shipped in Australia during a particular income year. In Australia, tax returns, such as voyage returns, are typically prepared for the standard tax year – 1 July to 30 June.

You must provide all the information requested in the Overseas ships – voyage return form.

Australian tax laws allow us to determine the amount payable if a voyage return form is not lodged or we consider it unsatisfactory

How to lodge and pay

The Overseas ships – voyage return form is the approved form for foreign-based ship operators to lodge when they have a liability under Division 12 of ITAA 1936.

All amounts on the voyage return need to be expressed in Australian dollars.

You can download this form in Portable Document Format (PDF) – Overseas ships – voyage return form. The PDF form is fillable.

The completed form should be sent to

Voyage return information provided in the company tax return form will not be processed as it is not the approved form for this tax.

A notice of assessment will be issued to you after the Overseas ships – voyage return form is lodged. Payments can be made after the notice of assessment is issued. The notice of assessment has payment instructions to assist you to pay. Payment instructions can also found on the ATO website.

What if I can't lodge and pay on time or have difficulty in completing the form

You should email to check whether alternative arrangements can be made.

A penalty may be applied if you fail to lodge on time and a general interest charge will apply to any amount not paid by the due date.

General enquiries

For more information, enquiries should be sent to

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