• Do you need to lodge a tax return? 2011

    You can work through our online tool Do I need to lodge a tax return?

    If any of the following applies to you then you must lodge a tax return.

    Reason 1

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    During 2010-11, you were an Australian resident and you:

    • paid tax under the pay as you go (PAYG) withholding or instalment system, or
    • had tax withheld from payments made to you.

    Reason 2

    You were eligible for the senior Australians tax offset and your 'rebate income' (not including your spouse's) was more than:

    • $30,685 if you were single, widowed or separated at any time during the year
    • $29,600 if you had a spouse but one of you lived in a nursing home or you had to live apart due to illness, or
    • $26,680 if you lived with your spouse for the full year.

    See Rebate income to work out your rebate income.

    Reason 3

    You were not eligible for the senior Australians tax offset but you received a payment listed at question 5 and other taxable payments which when added together made your taxable income more than $16,000.

    Reason 4

    You were not eligible for the senior Australians tax offset but you received from Centrelink an Australian Government pension, allowance or payment listed at question 6 and your rebate income was more than:

    • $29,670 if you were single, widowed or separated at any time during the year
    • $28,636 if you had a spouse but one of you lived in a nursing home or you had to live apart due to illness
    • $24,156 if you lived with your spouse for the full year.

    See Rebate income to work out your rebate income.

    Reason 5

    You were not eligible for the senior Australians tax offset but you received from the Department of Veterans' Affairs an Australian Government pension, allowance or payment listed at question 6, and your rebate income was more than:

    • $30,439 if you were single, widowed or separated at any time during the year
    • $29,456 if you had a spouse but one of you lived in a nursing home or you had to live apart due to illness
    • $24,810 if you lived with your spouse for the full year.

    See Rebate income to work out your rebate income.

    Reason 6

    You were not eligible for the senior Australians tax offset and you did not receive a payment listed at question 5 or 6, but your taxable income exceeded:

    • $6,000 if you were an Australian resident for tax purposes for the full year
    • $3,334 if you were under 18 years old at 30 June 2011 and your income was not salary or wages
    • $1 if you were a non-resident and you had income taxable in Australia which did not have non-resident withholding tax withheld from it, or
    • your part-year tax-free threshold amount if you became or stopped being an Australian resident for tax purposes. See Tax-free threshold - for individuals to work out your threshold amount or phone 13 28 61.

    Other reasons

    You must lodge a tax return if any of the following applied to you:

    • You had a reportable fringe benefits amount on your PAYG payment summary - individual non-business or PAYG payment summary - foreign employment.
    • You had reportable employer superannuation contributions on your PAYG payment summary - individual non-business or PAYG payment summary - foreign employment or PAYG payment summary - business and personal services income.
    • You were entitled to the private health insurance tax offset; see question T5 - Private health insurance.
    • You carried on a business.
    • You made a loss or you can claim a loss you made in a previous year.
    • You were 60 years old or older and you received an Australian superannuation lump sum that included an untaxed element.
    • You were under 60 years old and you received an Australian superannuation lump sum that included a taxed element or an untaxed element.
    • You were entitled to a distribution from a trust or you had an interest in a partnership and the trust or partnership carried on a business of primary production.
    • You were an Australian resident for tax purposes and you had exempt foreign employment income and $1 or more of other income. (Question 20 - Foreign source income and foreign assets or property explains what is meant by 'exempt foreign employment income'. For the 2009-10 income year and subsequent years, there are changes limiting the exemption for foreign employment income.)
    • You are a special professional covered by the income averaging provisions. These provisions apply to authors of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, inventors, performing artists, production associates and active sportspeople
    • You received income from dividends or distributions exceeding $6,000 (or $416 if you were under 18 years old on 30 June 2011) and you had:
      • franking credits attached, or
      • amounts withheld because you did not quote your tax file number or Australian business number to the investment body.
       
    • You made personal contributions to a complying superannuation fund or retirement savings account and will be eligible to receive a super co-contribution for these contributions.
    • you were either a liable parent or a recipient parent under a child support assessment unless you received Australian Government allowances, pensions or payments (whether taxable or exempt) for the whole of the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011, and the total of all the following payments was less than $20,594:  
    • You were either a liable parent or a recipient parent under a child support assessment. If this applies to you, you cannot use the short tax return.

    Deceased estate

    If you are looking after the estate of someone who died during 2010-11, consider all the above reasons on their behalf, and if a tax return is not required complete a Non-lodgment advice and send it to us. If a tax return is required, see Completing individual information on your tax return for more information.

    Franking credits

    If you don't need to lodge a tax return for 2010-11, you can claim a refund of franking credits by using the publication Refund of franking credits instructions and application for individuals (NAT 4105) and lodging your claim by mail or phone 13 28 65.

    However, you cannot lodge it by phone if you are also lodging an application for education tax refund. In that case you must send all your claims to us together in one envelope, or you could use e-tax.

    Education tax refund

    If you don't need to lodge a tax return for 2010-11, you can claim your education tax refund by completing the application Education tax refund instructions and claim (NAT 72621) and lodging it by mail or phone 13 28 65.

    However, you cannot lodge it by phone if you are also lodging an application for a refund of franking credits. In that case you must send all your claims to us together in one envelope, or you could use e-tax.

    First home saver account

    If you had a first home saver account in 2010-11 and believe you are entitled to a first home saver account government contribution, you must lodge either:

    • a tax return, or
    • a notification of eligibility (if you are not required to lodge a tax return) and you were an Australian resident for at least part of 2010-11.

    If you have read all the above information and know that you do not have to lodge a tax return, you should complete a Non-lodgment advice and send it to us unless one of the following applies to you:

    • You have already sent us a tax return, non-lodgment advice, form or letter telling us that you do not need to lodge a tax return for all future years.
    • You are lodging an application for a refund of franking credits for 2011.
    • You are lodging an application for an education tax refund for 2011.
    • Your only income was from an allowance or payment listed at question 5 or you received a pension, payment or an allowance listed at question 6 and
      • your 'rebate income' was less than the relevant amount in reason 2 (if you are eligible for the senior Australians tax offset), or
      • your taxable income was less than the relevant amount in reason 3 (the agencies that paid you have provided information for us to determine that you do not need to lodge a tax return), or
      • your 'rebate income' was less than the relevant amount in reason 4 (the agencies that paid you have provided information for us to determine that you do not need to lodge a tax return).
       
    Last modified: 29 Jun 2011QC 25555