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  • PAYG withholding variation application

    Complete the PAYG withholding variation application (NAT 2036) to vary or reduce the amount of pay as you go (PAYG) tax withheld from income paid to you in the application year.

    The main purpose of varying or reducing the amount of withholding is to make sure that the amount withheld during the income year best meets your end-of-year tax liability. For example, you may want to apply for a variation if the normal rate of withholding leads to a large credit at the end of the income year because your tax-deductible expenses are higher than normal.

    You can lodge your application during the year. The last date for lodgment is 30 April of the application year. This application is valid for one financial year. If you apply in May or June, the variation will apply to the financial year starting from 1 July.

    If you are a resident of Norfolk Island, order and complete a PAYG withholding variation application – Norfolk Island residents only.

    Find out about:

    Processing times

    The processing time for an application depends on the method used to lodge your application. If you lodge:

    • online – processing is within 28 days
    • by paper – processing is within 56 days.

    How to lodge

    We have made changes to the way you lodge online.

    To lodge online for individuals, go to myGov and select:

    • ATO
    • Tax
    • Manage
    • PAYG withholding variation.

    To lodge online for tax agents, go to Online services for tax agents and select:

    • Lodgments
    • Client forms
    • PAYG withholding variation.

    If you cannot lodge online, you will need to order a paper application by either:

    • visiting online orderingExternal Link and searching for NAT 2036 (or NAT 2036NI if you're a Norfolk Island resident)
    • phoning our automated self-help ordering service on 13 28 65 and asking for the NAT number you need.

    Important information

    We will process your application only if you:

    • have lodged all required tax returns and activity statements, or notified us in writing if you were not required to lodge tax returns in prior years
    • did not receive a debit assessment on your last tax assessment (if you also had an approved withholding variation for that year)
    • do not have any outstanding tax debt owing to the Australian Government
    • do not have any outstanding debts under any other Acts administered by us.

    We may seek more information from you before or after your application is processed. If you fail to provide this, your application may not be approved.

    We process your application based on the information you provide. It is your responsibility to make sure this information is adequate to allow us to calculate a withholding rate to meet your end-of-year tax liability.

    If you are granted a variation, this does not mean we have accepted the tax treatment of the income and deductions on your application. Your actual tax liability will be determined after you lodge your tax return.

    For more information, you can phone us on 1300 360 221. If you are a tax agent, phone 13 72 86, Fast Key Code 1 2 3 between 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday.

    Aggressive tax planning

    In the past, promoters of managed investment schemes, and tax-effective investment products or arrangements, have encouraged their clients to apply for withholding variations to produce immediate tax savings. Promoters often imply that the granting of a variation supports the tax deductibility of the investment and indicates our acceptance that the arrangement complies with the relevant income tax laws.

    If you want more certainty about the tax treatment of an arrangement, ask the promoter if they have a product ruling from us. If the answer is:

    • yes – ask for a copy and read it, or have an independent tax professional read it and explain how it applies to you
    • no – ask why they don't have a product ruling for the project and apply to us for a private binding ruling or consult a tax professional who is not involved in promoting the investment.

    If you have concerns about a promoter or a tax scheme, report it by:

    • completing the tip-off form. The form is also available in the contact us section in the ATO app
    • phoning 1800 060 062
    • writing to us – mark all letters 'in confidence' and post to  

      Australian Taxation Office
      Tax Integrity Centre
      Locked Bag 6050
      DANDENONG VIC 3175.

    If you do not speak English well and want to talk to us, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 for help with your call.

    Tax professionals can provide information by calling 13 72 86 (Fast Key Code 3 4).

    Remember to make note of the reference number when you submit your tip-off form. You will need to quote it if you want to add any information later.

    See also:

    Your privacy

    Your privacy is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 and the strict secrecy provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, the Taxation Administration Act 1953 and other tax laws.

    See also:

    Non-commercial losses

    If you have a net loss from a business activity you carry on as an individual, either as a sole trader or in partnership, the non-commercial loss rules will apply.

    These rules determine if you can use your business loss to offset income from other sources. You can only offset your loss against assessable income from other sources if one or more of the following applies:

    • you meet one of the exceptions for primary production or professional arts businesses
    • you meet the income requirement and satisfy one of the four tests (profits test, assessable income test, other assets test or real property test)
    • we have exercised our discretion to allow you to claim the loss.

    If you do not satisfy the above criteria, you must defer the loss to a future year when both of the following apply:

    • the business activity is continuing
    • you meet the income requirement and satisfy one of the tests (profits test, assessable income test, other assets test or real property test).

    See also:

    Starting and finishing dates

    If your application is approved, the varied or reduced amount of withholding will start from the next available pay day after your pay office receives the notice of withholding variation from us.

    Your variation finishes on the date shown on the letter you receive from us. To continue to have varied or reduced tax withheld from payments after this date, you must lodge another variation application – at least six weeks before the expiry date.

    See also:

    You can also phone us on 1300 360 221. If you are a tax agent, phone 13 72 86, Fast Key Code 1 2 3 between 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday.

    Last modified: 20 Jan 2021QC 21682