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Do you need to use this guide?

Last updated 14 May 2020

How self-assessment affects you

Self-assessment means the Tax Office uses the information you give on your tax return and any related schedules and forms to work out your refund or tax liability. We do not take any responsibility for checking the accuracy of the details you provide, although our system automatically checks the arithmetic.

Although we do not check the accuracy of your tax return at the time of processing, at a later date we may examine the details more thoroughly by reviewing specific parts, or by conducting an audit of your tax affairs. We also have a number of audit programs that are designed to continually check for missing, inaccurate or incomplete information.

What are your responsibilities?

It is your responsibility to lodge a tax return that is signed, complete and correct. Even if someone else - including a tax agent - helps you to prepare your tax return and any related schedules, you are still legally responsible for the accuracy of your information.

What if you lodge an incorrect tax return?

If you become aware that your tax return is incorrect, you must contact us straight away.

Initiatives to complement self-assessment

There are a number of systems and entitlements that complement self-assessment, including:

  • the private ruling system (see below)
  • the amendment system (if you find you have left something out of your tax return)
  • your entitlement to interest on early payment or over-payment of a tax debt.

Do you need to ask for a private ruling?

If you are uncertain about how a tax law applies to your personal tax affairs, you can ask for a private ruling. To do this, complete a Private ruling application form or contact us.

Lodge your tax return by the due date, even if you are waiting for the response to your application. You may need to request an amendment to your tax return once you have received the private ruling.

We publish all private rulings on our website. (Before we publish we edit the text to remove information that would identify you.)

Did you have interests in a foreign company, a foreign trust or a foreign life assurance policy? (Read Chapter 2: Key concepts of the FIF measures and Chapter 5: Foreign life assurance policies (FLPs))


The foreign investment fund (FIF) measures do not apply to you. You do not need to use this guide.


Read on.

If you were a resident at any time during the year of income, did you:

  • have an interest in a FIF at the end of the income year, or
  • have an interest in a foreign life assurance policy (FLP) at any time during the income year? (Read Chapter 2: Key concepts and Chapter 5:FLPs)


The FIF measures do not apply to you. You do not need to use this guide.


Read on.

Does an exemption apply to your interest in a FIF or FLP? (Read Chapter 3: Exemptions)


Read on.


Do not include any amount in your assessable income from the interests in that FIF or FLP. Read Chapter 8: Record keeping to work out the records that you need to keep, then read on.