Each year we have about 800 volunteers help 30,000 taxpayers on low incomes lodge their tax return online with myTax in our local Tax Help centres.
The ATO Tax Help training teaches you how to prepare and lodge a tax return using myTax. It's important to complete this training so you have the knowledge and tools to help Tax Help clients meet their tax obligations.
The training will introduce you to:
- the scope of the Tax Help program
- tax topics.
In this training:
- we cover those topics you can help clients with as a Tax Help volunteer
- if a topic is not mentioned, you as a Tax Help volunteer can't help with that topic
- the links will take you to the topic on our website
- we generally link to the myTax help files
- read all of the information and watch any videos
- the myTax help files refer to myTax 22, when available, links will be updated to myTax 23.
Remember: this training covers tax topics you can help with as a Tax Help volunteer. If a topic is not mentioned, you as a Tax Help volunteer can't help with that topic.
Tax Help will help you with any concerns or questions during training. They will also give feedback on your progress as you complete each assessment.
The Tax Help training is comprehensive, the time needed to complete it will vary from person to person.
Pace your training to complete it by the agreed date. Our suggestion would be to spread the training over a 3–4 week period. For example, you could spread your training hours as follows:
- 6 hours per week over a 4 week period
- 8 hours per week over a 3 week period.
This is a guide only, you can adapt the time periods to suit your circumstances. You should however, complete the training modules in order.
Take as much time as you need to ensure you have a good understanding of each topic.
Remember to take regular rest breaks while you are completing your training.
Getting the most from your training
The answers to most questions your clients will ask, can be found on our website.
Before becoming an accredited volunteer, you must complete the assessments.
After you have completed reading the training pages, you can try the assessment. Assessments will be provided to you in a separate pack. You can complete the assessment on screen and save it to your computer. Once you have completed the assessment, forward it to Tax Help.
Tax Help will tell you if you have passed the assessments. They will also give you feedback and help if you are having trouble passing your assessment. If you need help when attempting the assessments, please phone Tax Help.
Successful completion of each assessment counts towards your accreditation. Providing you have met all requirements you will be accredited as a Tax Help volunteer. The requirements are:
- agreeing to and signing the Conditions of Participation
- positive police check (new volunteers only)
- successful completion of the assessments
- attendance at myGov and myTax training sessions.
Complete the following sections for your induction to the Tax Help program:
- Your responsibilities
- Code of conduct
- Help limitations
- Protecting personal information
- Your ATO contact person
- ATO support
- Taxpayers’ rights and obligations
- Clients you can help
- Clients you can't help
- What help can you give
Tax Help volunteers must follow a code of conduct to provide the service. This section outlines your responsibilities as a volunteer including reporting requirements, protecting client privacy and the ways you can help clients.
Your responsibilities as a Tax Help volunteer include:
- abiding by the conditions of participation
- keeping in the scope of the program
- only providing Tax Help services at an authorised location and at authorised times
- maintaining confidentiality and professionalism in all dealings with clients
- not advising or calculating a client’s tax liability or refund
- correctly identifying tax returns lodged online as Tax Help returns
- confirming appointments with your centre at least the day before
- ensuring that appointment records are completed and returned to your Tax Help Centre coordinator on completion of each day’s appointments
- ensuring a Tax Help client appointment report is submitted for each Tax Help client
- maintaining regular contact with Tax Help
- ensuring reimbursement claims are submitted to us at the end of each month
- submitting statistical information to us on time
- distributing tax or other community information provided by us.
As a Tax Help volunteer, you should display high levels of honesty, maturity, discretion, professionalism and a willingness to work in the guidelines of the Tax Help program. You should be able to commit appropriate time for conducting interviews and completing administrative tasks. You are expected to abide by your centre’s code of conduct and work with them to deliver a high standard of client service.
You must advise us of as soon as possible of anything that may reasonably affect our decision to allow you to participate in the Tax Help program (such as a charge or conviction of a criminal offence). Disclosure doesn't automatically mean you will not be able to participate.
You must advise your Tax Help centre and Tax Help if your personal circumstances change – for example, altering the time you participate in the program or changing your contact details.
Tax Help volunteers are required to operate under prescribed conditions of participation. By signing the Conditions of participation form, you agree to abide by these conditions.
You must agree to abide by the conditions of participation outlined in this document before being accredited and conducting interviews.
A copy of this document has been provided to you. Sign, date, and return it to Tax Help. If you have not received a copy of the document contact Tax Help.
As a Tax Help volunteer you are trained to help clients with straightforward tax affairs. You're not able to help clients who:
- don't meet the eligibility requirements
- have any questions about the progress of their tax return after it has been lodged
- have any questions about their notice of assessment.
The Tax Help program is a free service. Volunteers are not permitted to accept reimbursement, payment, gifts or other recompense from clients or on behalf of the centre in return for help. Penalties apply for anyone other than registered tax agents charging a fee for a service.
If you are unable to help a client, you may suggest they see a tax agent. However, you can't refer a client to any particular agent or practice.
You may refer them to the National Tax Clinic program. This is a government-funded initiative to help people who may not be able to afford professional advice and representation with their tax affairs.
This program is available to eligible individuals, small businesses, not-for-profit organisations and charities. Some clinics also offer remote or online help. check the National Tax Clinic for eligibility and contact details in your State or Territory.
It is the client’s responsibility to lodge their own tax return. If not lodging a tax return online, give the client a Tax Help envelope. Remind them to add a postage stamp before posting.
Client information must remain confidential. Interviews must be done in a private area.
Make sure clients take all personal information with them at the end of the appointment. Never keep client details or documents even if the client is returning to the centre for further help.
- lodge online returns in the presence of the client.
- delete all files about the client from the computer before they leave the interview.
Tax Help will keep in regular contact with you and your Tax Help centre throughout tax time.
You should contact Tax Help for help with:
- your training and assessments
- administration tasks or reimbursement claims
- ATO equipment problems
- any other issue (except those which should be directed to the ATO Tax Help hotline and myTax helpline).
Tax Help will also conduct quality assurance processes and reviews on tax returns and forms and give you feedback.
Integrity checks are also done by other areas of the ATO. You will be asked to help these processes by identifying the tax returns you prepare and providing us with information on online lodgments.
Any feedback you have or that you receive from your clients can be sent to CEAtaxhelp@ato.gov.au. You can email feedback at any time during the season.
Tax Help volunteers have access to an ATO Tax Help hotline number. When tax related questions arise while you're assisting a client, you should phone us using the hotline number. You will be given this number when you have completed your training.
Phone calls from Tax Help volunteers are given priority. The hotline is available Monday to Saturday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm to support you while you are helping clients.
Always identify yourself as a Tax Help volunteer and quote your volunteer number if requested. Inform the operator that you have a client with you and need to have the enquiry attended to immediately.
Politely refuse any requests to accept a call back at a later time to answer your query.
Do not allow the operator to end the phone call without giving an answer to your question.
If the operator is unable to answer your question, ask to be connected to their supervisor and put your question to the supervisor.
The hotline number is for Tax Help volunteer use only.
Clients should phone us on the ATO Individual Infoline 13 28 61.
We have a responsibility to help taxpayers understand their rights and obligations and to meet acceptable standards of service delivery. The Taxpayers’ Charter outlines these rights, obligations and standards.
As a Tax Help volunteer, you can pass on this valuable information to your clients.
As a volunteer you can only help clients with an income around $60,000 or less who have simple tax returns and claims.
Your clients may include (but are not limited to):
- a student with casual employment
- a young person who has just started their first full time job
- a new migrant to Australia
- a person who speaks little or no English
- an international student
- a backpacker with a working holiday visa
- a salary or wage earner
- a person earning superannuation or dividend income
- a person receiving income from Centrelink
- a person with a disability.
Regardless of their situation, Tax Help clients all have one thing in common – the need for help with their tax return. Most will require help with both the tax information they need to enter into the tax return and with online lodgment.
You're able to be flexible when it comes to the income threshold. For example, if a client has a little over $60,000 you can still help them.
You can't, however, be flexible about the type of income the clients have. You must stay in the scope of the program.
Some areas of the tax return can be quite complex so the Tax Help program is limited only to those clients with simple tax affairs.
You can't help the client if they:
- ran their own business or uses an Australian business number (ABN)
- operated under a labour hire agreement quoting their ABN
- received any royalties
- received income from either a public unit trust or a public trading trust
- owned or shared ownership in a rental property
- made a capital gain or capital loss by selling shares or other capital assets
- received any foreign income, other than a foreign pension or annuity
- has income from an employee share scheme.
Your Tax Help centre should ensure that appointments are only made for clients who are within the scope of the program. If clients have more complex tax matters they should be encouraged to seek advice from us or a tax agent. They can also use the National Tax Clinic program.
It is the client’s responsibility to provide documents and information required to complete the tax return. You can only help the client if you have the relevant information.
As a Tax Help volunteer you can:
- answer basic tax related questions
- decide if the client needs to lodge a tax return or claim
- help the client to complete
- a tax return
- a refund of franking credits claim
- a non-lodgment advice
- an amendment (for 2015 returns and later)
- refer the client to us if unable to help them.
You will need to:
- sort documents and ensure they relate to the client and to the appropriate tax year
- decide which information is needed for the tax return
- ask appropriate questions to ensure clients supply enough information so the relevant deductions and offsets can be claimed.
As a volunteer you must be prepared to:
- help clients with myGov, including creating a myGov account if needed
- lodge the tax return online with myTax, except in exceptional and limited circumstances.
Tax Help volunteers should always encourage the client to complete their own tax return while you guide them through the screens. Always give the client the option first but don't force them. Some people are not comfortable using computers and will prefer that you do the return for them.
The purpose of the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011External Link (WHS Act) is to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces.
The WHS Act adopts a broad definition of worker to recognise the changing nature of work relationships and to ensure health and safety protection is extended to all types of workers. The term 'worker' also includes volunteers.
PCBU stands for 'person conducting a business or undertaking'. The term PCBU has replaced and expands the term employer. The WHS Act assigns the primary duty of care to a PCBU to ensure the health and safety of workers.
As a Tax Help volunteer your PCBU would be the Tax Help centre you are working from.
Find out more about:
A worker includes:
- contractors and their staff
- sub-contractors and their staff
- outworkers for example, home based
- work experience students
Volunteer means a person who is acting on a voluntary basis (irrespective of whether they receive out-of-pocket expenses). The WHS Act specifically protects volunteers in their capacity as workers and ensures that volunteers are not discouraged from participating in community-based activities.
W – Work with your manager and colleagues. Talk about finding solutions to health and safety problems. Consultation and communication is a key part of the WHS laws.
O – Ownership starts with you, including for your own health and safety and those matters within your control or ability to influence.
R – Regularly communicate and report on health, wellbeing and safety issues. Contribute to providing quality information that targets prevention and better practice initiatives.
K – Keep yourself accountable as an individual to improve the culture of health and safety within the workplace.
E – Ensure health and safety becomes everyday business by talking about it with colleagues. Prevention and working together are still basic concepts under the WHS legislation.
R – Reinforce and influence safety behaviours in the workplace consistently. Remember to report incidents and check you understand the process of reporting them within the organisation.
Your legislative obligations
As a worker, you have a duty to take reasonable care for your own health and safety while at work, ensuring that your acts or omissions don't adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. Your duty of care is considered in relation to what is reasonably expected, taking into account the degree of control you have over your work activities and work environment.
Obligation to follow instructions
As well as your duty to take reasonable care, you must comply with any reasonable instruction that is given to you that allows your PCBU to comply with the WHS laws.
As a worker you must cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health and safety that you have been trained in or notified about by the PCBU.
Legislative obligations of other people
Other people at the workplace – for example, visitors or clients, also have a duty to take reasonable care for their own and others' health and safety at the workplace.
They must also take reasonable care that their acts or omissions don't adversely affect the health and safety of others and comply with any reasonable instruction that allows the PCBU to comply.
Your responsibilities to meet your duties include:
- Duty to take reasonable care for your health and safety while at work
- Ensure your conduct does not adversely affect the health and safety of others
- Comply with any reasonable instruction as far as you are able
- Consultation, representation and participation
- Cooperation and consultation
- Health and safety representation
- WHS Act overview
- Reporting incidents
This includes following information, training or instructions provided by the PCBU.
Your duty includes taking reasonable care that your acts or omissions don't adversely affect the health and safety of others. For example, report a slip or trip hazard in a foyer that, if left unattended, could injure a visitor, client or a colleague.
Remember, visitors and clients must also comply so far as they are reasonably able to, with any reasonable instruction given by the PCBU. This ensures the PCBU is complying with the WHS laws. An example is a visitor or client displaying bullying behaviour affecting the health and safety of a colleague.
Be proactive in recognising potential hazards in the workplace. Don't wait until an incident has occurred to report it. If you are involved in, or witness an incident in the workplace, it needs to be reported to your manager as soon as possible after it occurs. This will help the PCBU to meet their notification duties as required by the WHS Act.
Your manager may ask you to follow certain work health and safety instructions to ensure the PCBU complies with the WHS laws. In addition to cooperating, you can also contribute to health and safety policies and procedures by giving feedback when asked, offering ideas for improvement and working as a team in implementing good workplace safety practices.
As a worker, you directly face the hazards of a job and often have valuable knowledge, expertise and the motivation to improve health and safety.
This puts you in a unique position of being able to influence the health and safety standards while at work.
One of the objectives of the WHS Act is to foster a cooperative, consultative relationship between the PCBU and workers on your health, safety and welfare at work.
The PCBU must ensure consultation occurs when you are, or could be, affected by matters relating to work health or safety.
You have a responsibility to participate in this consultation and comply with policies or procedures put in place for your health and safety.
Consultation and communication is a 2 way street. Remember, the policies you follow must be reasonable and you only need to comply with these policies as far as you are reasonably able.
Get to know the health and safety representative (HSR) in your Tax Help centre. HSRs have broad powers under the WHS Act to promote the health and safety of workers in their work group. Your HSR is your main point of contact regarding health and safety matters, so make sure you tell them about any concerns or safety issues.
HSRs can help because they:
- understand your views and concerns
- are trained in work health and safety and how to represent you
- coordinate a formal approach to raising ideas and concerns through appropriate channels
- have rights and powers to take action.
The WHS Act aims to meet its objective in securing the health and safety of its workers and workplaces through the elimination and minimisation of risks. The WHS Act also aims for fair and effective representation, consultation and cooperation.
If an incident involving yourself or your client occurs while you are holding Tax Help interviews, it is important that you report it to the centre Tax Help coordinator and Tax Help as soon as practicable. Note the details of incidents for future reference.
Contact Tax Help if you have any questions about this module.
Lodging online is the quick, easy, safe and secure way to prepare and lodge a tax return.
Complete this section to help clients lodge their tax return online with myTax, learn about:
MyGov is a secure website that makes many government services available in one place using one username and password. This includes our online services.
We prefer Tax Help clients have a myGov account linked to ATO online services. If a client doesn't have a myGov account, you can help them create a myGov accountExternal Link and link it to ATO. They will need a unique email address, that is one they alone use.
Tax Help volunteers should not create an email address for a client.
To create the myGov account the client will need access to their mobile device and to their email account to receive their myGov authentication email.
Most clients will have enough information with them to link their myGov account to their ATO online services account. If not, you can phone the Tax Help hotline and ask for a myGov linking code. The client must prove their identity to us.
If unable to create a myGov account, Tax Help volunteers may use the Alternate Access Process (AAP). The AAP is an alternate pathway to ATO online services.
The AAP should only be used when the client is genuinely unable:
- to create or access their myGov account or
- where they are unable to link myGov to the ATO.
You will be given more information on the AAP before the start of the Tax Help program.
AAP myGov linking and THV access codes
Some Tax Help clients will have difficulty linking their myGov to the ATO.
These clients will either need a:
- myGov linking code – an ATO issued code to link myGov).
- THV access code – to access their ATO online services account without a myGov account.
You will need to phone the Tax Help hotline to be issued a code. Following these steps will make issuing a code easier.
When phoning the Tax Help hotline, at times you may find it better if you prompt the Service Delivery Officer (SDO) with the points below. These points will improve the call centre experience and help you to get linking and access codes.
Important things to remember:
- always identify yourself as a Tax Help volunteer
- be clear about why you are phoning – do you need a myGov linking code or a THV access code
- don’t end the phone call until you have access to the client online account or the client has linked their myGov to the ATO.
Decide which code is needed
The THV access code is for clients who:
- don't have a myGov account
- for whom you are unable to create a myGov account
- don't have or remember their myGov login
- are unsuccessful linking myGov to the ATO.
The myGov linking code is for clients who have a myGov account but are unable to link the account to the ATO because they are either
- new to the tax system
- don't have enough information on their ATO record to answer 2 questions specific to them – for example, first time lodgers and people new to Australia.
The myTax program is a web-based program that is accessed through myGov.
Tax Help volunteers use myTax to lodge client returns online. Lodging online with myTax is the quick, easy, safe and secure way for you to prepare and lodge tax returns.
Watch the 'how to' videos below to see how to use myTax:
- Link your myGov account to the ATOExternal Link
- A quick demonstration of lodging with myTaxExternal Link
- How to personalise your myTax returnExternal Link
- How to add and review deductions in myTaxExternal Link.
You will be guided through the myTax return based on your selections and responses. It will prompt you to answer questions and take you back to sections that are not complete.
MyTax uses pre-fill information to complete some sections in the tax return with information we receive from a third party. If pre-fill information is incorrectly edited or deleted, the return may be adjusted after lodgment resulting in a different tax estimate from the notice of assessment.
ATO online services simulator
During this training you will use the ATO online services simulatorExternal Link to familiarise yourself with myTax.
The simulator will allow you to practice and gain confidence using myTax before you see clients. Once you have completed the reading, practice using myTax.
As you work through the training, enter different amounts or responses and watch what happens in the return.
You will be taken thru the topics you can help clients with. Keep the simulator open on your desktop and follow the steps.
To open the simulator:
- in the form field Tell us about you, select Tax Help volunteer
- select, scenario 1 Lodge tax returns with no prefill data, transfer super
- select Start
To move between screens, use the ‘Next’ and ‘Back’ buttons in the simulator. Using your web browser back and forward buttons will take you out of the simulator.
The screen you see is the client home screen. This screen shows income tax returns that are due or overdue. Generally, your clients will lodge the current year return. You should point out to them overdue returns and encourage them to lodge these returns.
To open a return, click ‘Lodge’ next to the year the client wishes to lodge.
First time lodgers usually need more help to get started.
You can assist first time lodgers without a myGov account to create an account and link to the ATO.
If your client is a first time lodger and has:
- a myGov account linked to the ATO online – sign in and start the return
- a myGov account not linked to ATO online – phone the Tax Help hotline for a linking code
- does not have a myGov account – create a myGov account and phone the Tax Help hotline for a linking code
- if unable to create a myGov account, use the AAP.
When phoning, inform the Service Delivery Officer that you are a Tax Help volunteer, and your client is a first time lodger who needs a myGov linking code.
The Tax Help centre, when taking the appointment, will have informed the client to bring documents to prove their identity to the appointment. If the client can't prove their identity, you may be able to access the client account with the AAP.
Tax Help volunteers can help clients lodge an online amendment to their 2015 or later tax return. Help with amendments is limited to:
- the item being amended must be an item with which a Tax Help volunteer can help
- the client must have supporting evidence, that is an updated payment summary or receipts for expenses.
To lodge an amendment, login into myGov and access the client's ATO online account and follow the path:
Tax > Income Tax > View or amend returns
Before starting, check the client does need to lodge a tax return.
Some clients may not know if they need to lodge a tax return and will ask you to check for them.
During the Tax Help interview use the online tool Do I need to lodge a tax return? to decide if someone needs to lodge a tax return:
There are many reasons why someone would need to lodge a tax return. Go through the questions in the online tool with the client. If any of the reasons apply to the client, they will need to lodge a tax return.
Clients who don't need to lodge a tax return may need to tell us that they don't need to lodge by completing a non-lodgment advice (NLA). If the client has previously lodged a return, an NLA will stop us sending reminders.
Non-lodgment advices from 2000 onwards can be lodged through ATO online services. Clients will need their myGov login and be linked to the ATO. To lodge the NLA online, open the client's online account and follow the pathway:
Tax > Lodgments > Non-lodgment advice
If the client does not have a myGov account, or the account can't be linked to ATO online, use the AAP.
A Non-lodgment advice can be lodged for the current year and future years (if the client will not need to lodge in the future).
Open the Do I need to lodge a tax return? and enter information from the case study below. Does James or Judy need to lodge a tax return?
Example: case study – James and Judy Park
James and Judy have been married and living at the same address for 20 years. They have no dependent children.
James works as an accounts clerk at the Sandpiper Hotel and last year earned $28,500. Union fees of $450 were deducted from James' pay. He has been working at the hotel for many years and has no plans to retire. Employees at the hotel do not wear a specific work uniform.
James also has income from an age pension. He does not have a payment summary from Centrelink but contacted them to obtain his income details. He was paid $9,500 and had $400 tax withheld.
Judy ceased paid employment in December 2013 and now spends her time involved in charity work.
James and Judy have a joint bank account at the Greater Western Bank. James does not have a bank statement with him but he does know that the account earned them $750 interest from 1 July to 30 June.
James made a $100 donation to the Royal Children’s Hospital and has a receipt. The Royal Children’s Hospital is a deductible gift recipient.
James and Judy do not have private health insurance.End of example
James does need to lodge a tax return. He has 2 types of income. Tax has been withheld from both. Reason 1 applies to James.
Judy does not need to lodge a tax return. She has income of only $375 for the year (her half of the interest from their joint bank account).
None of the reasons apply to Judy. However, she will need to complete a non-lodgment advice.
As a Tax Help volunteer you don't need to know everything about tax or be able to interpret tax law. You do need basic knowledge about the topics you will help clients with.
As a volunteer you can only help clients with simple tax affairs. The topics you can help with are presented as you would see them in myTax. Follow the links to our website for additional information to help the client answer the question.
The tax return in myTax is prepared from information provided to the ATO by employers, banks, superannuation funds, health funds, share registries and the client's selections on the 'Personalise return' section. You can return to this section at any time and add or remove selections. Volunteers may only help with the questions on the topics covered in the Tax Help training.
Use the online tools and calculators on our website to help clients answer questions. Links to the tools are found on the myTax topic help page. The myTax help file will give the steps and information needed to complete the section.
As a Tax Help volunteers you can help with the following myTax questions. When using myTax, the 'Help' function is on the right hand side of the page. Only items to be completed in the client's return are listed in the 'Help' section.
Remember you can't help clients with any topics that are not listed below.
You can help the client with these sections:
- Before you begin
- Contact details
- Financial institution details
- Personalise your return
- Amounts not included as income
- Spouse details
- Tax offsets
- Records you need to keep
- Income tests
- Medicare and private health insurance
- How did you complete this tax return?
- Do you need to lodge a tax return in the future?
- Tax estimate
Under self-assessment, the client takes responsibility for declaring all their income and for being able to support all their claims for deductions and tax offsets. This includes checking the prefill information their employers or other organisations provide is correct before they sign their tax return or lodge it online.
This section in myTax shows as Before you begin.
The first screen you see in myTax is the client’s contact details.
Check the details with the client. You can make changes by selecting ‘Edit’ and updating the details. After making changes, click ‘Save’. Do this for each section that needs updating.
Open each section and review the parts of each section. When you finish, select ‘Cancel’ to leave the edit screen, then ‘Next’ to move to the next screen, ‘Financial institution details’.
Any client refund will be paid to the financial institution details shown on screen. Confirm with the client the details are correct. Use ‘Edit’ to make changes.
Select next to move to ‘Personalise return’.
Use the Personalise return screen to help the client to choose items that apply to them.
Before going further, watch the tutorial How to personalise your myTax returnExternal Link
On this screen the client must complete the following sections:
- Did you use the ATO app's myDeductions tool during the year?
- Income from
- Tax offsets
You can use the ‘Personalise return’ section of myTax as a checklist. Go through each section with the client, selecting where the client has income, deductions or an offset.
Remember to only make selections from topics covered in the training. If you or the client needs further information, click 'Help' on the right of screen, to access further information in the myTax helpfiles.
Some selections will have automatically been made based on information we’ve received through pre-fill. Tax Help clients will commonly see selections at salary and wages, superannuation and annuities, and interest. Selections we make for you can't be removed, even if you think the circumstances do not apply to you.
Pre-fill saves time by adding information to the tax return from health funds, banks, employers, government agencies and more. You should ask the client if they have other information besides what has been pre-filled. Where there is no pre-fill, confirm with the client, or make selections where the client has received income that has not pre-filled, or will claim a deduction or offset.
You can check pre-fill availability for:
- Government agencies
- Private health funds
- Financial institutions (interest income)
- Companies (dividend income)
You can move between screens at any time by selecting the buttons at the top of the screens.
The client must answer the question:
- Were you an Australian resident for tax purposes?
Use the Work out your residency status for tax purposes calculator if the client is unsure.
If your client can only claim a part-year tax-free threshold, answer 'No' to this question. You can then enter their period of residency.
If the client uses the myDeductions tool, they will need to upload their data from the app as follows:
- Open myDeductions in the ATO app.
- Go to Settings.
- Select Upload to tax return and complete the process.
- Select the Get myDeductions button below.
Before starting a return, we need to consider whether it is assessable income.
Income is generally defined as the regular receipt of money – for example, the receipt of salary, wages, allowances and pensions. It can also be for the receipt of money for the use of property or on investments – for example interest, dividends and rent.
Windfall gains such as wins from a lottery, bingo or competitions are not considered income. They are usually once only payments received because of good fortune.
Remember you can't help clients who have any of the following types of income:
- business income or losses including as a sole trader
- capital gains or losses (except as a distribution from a managed fund)
- rental income
- foreign employment income
- employee share scheme income.
As you read about each type of income, open the ATO online services simulatorExternal Link and practise adding information to familiarise yourself with each section of the tax return.
Assessable income is income that can be taxed, where you exceed your tax-free threshold.
Examples of assessable income Tax Help clients may have to include:
- salary and wages
- interest from bank accounts
- income from investments.
Money from a lottery win, an inheritance, a gift or other similar sources are not considered income. However, if the money is invested and earns interest, the interest is assessable income.
Remember you only need to read the topics you may help the client with under Tax Help.
Employers report your pay, tax and super information directly to us each payday, so all the information is in one place.
An income statement will be available in the ATO online services account through myGov. This information will also pre-fill in the myTax return.
Income statements will be ready to use in a tax return when the employer marks it as 'Tax ready'. It is important not to use any information before it is marked 'Tax ready'.
If the client receives income or payments from one of the following sources, they will need to select 'You had income from Australian superannuation or annuity funds' and then select the items that are relevant to them.
If the client is over 60 years old (or a death benefit dependent and the deceased died aged 60 or over) and received a capped defined benefit income stream or streams, they may have additional tax liabilities.
Use the defined benefit income cap tool to work out the amount to include in the return. You can access this tool directly from myTax.
When using the defined benefit income cap tool, click ‘Save to myTax’ to transfer the calculated amount to the return and check that it appears in the ‘Calculated amounts’ section.
If the client has income from Australian investments, they will need to select 'You had Australian interest, or other Australian income or losses from investments or property' and then select the items that are relevant to them.
This section includes capital gains. You can help the client with capital gains only when shown on a statement from a managed fund.
Remember you can't help clients with rental income or capital gains or losses.
If the client has foreign income, the only item you can help them with as a volunteer is Foreign pensions or annuities
All foreign income, deductions and foreign tax paid must be converted to Australian dollars before including it in the tax return. From 1 July 2003, there are specific rules that tell you which exchange rate to use to convert these amounts. Generally, these require amounts to be converted at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of a transaction, or at an average rate.
You can convert foreign currency amounts into Australian currency using the Foreign income conversion calculator. The calculator lets you choose:
- actual exchange rate at the time of payment
- an annual average rate of exchange.
If the client receives any other income or payments not listed elsewhere, you will need to select:
- You had other income not listed above (including employee share schemes).
At this question you can help only with these items:
- jury attendance fees
- taxable scholarships, bursaries, grants or other educational awards
- ATO interest remitted
- payments made under an income protection, sickness or accident insurance policy where the premiums were deductible and the payments replaced income.
Remember you can't help clients with employee share schemes.
If a client is under 18, some of their income may be taxed at higher rates. However, they pay the same income tax rates as an ordinary adult for:
- all income they receive if they are an 'excepted person' – this may apply if they have finished full time study and are working full time, if they have disabilities or if they are entitled to a double orphan pension
- the income we refer to as 'excepted income' – including employment or business income, Centrelink payments and income from a deceased person's estate.
If the client is not an excepted person, they pay a different rate of tax for income that is not excepted income. This was introduced to discourage adults from diverting income to their children.
Clients may have received amounts that aren't subject to tax, so they aren't included as part of their assessable income, but they may be used in other calculations on their tax return.
The tax treatment of these amounts depends on whether they are classified as:
Exempt income is income on which you do not need to pay tax.
Non-assessable, non-exempt income is income you don't need to pay tax on. It doesn't affect your tax losses but may be taken into account when calculating your liability for the Medicare levy surcharge and the adjustable taxable income of your dependants.
Some amounts are not included as income in the tax return. Generally, you do not have to declare:
- rewards or small gifts such as cash birthday presents (however, gifts may be taxable if they are large amounts or you receive them as part of a business-like activity or in relation to your income-earning activities as an employee or contractor)
- prizes you won in ordinary lotteries, such as lotto draws and raffles
- prizes you won in game shows, unless you regularly receive appearance fees or game-show winnings
- child support and spouse maintenance payments you receive.
Clients may be able to claim deductions for expenses that directly relate to work as an employee or investment income.
The basic rules when claiming a deduction are:
- to claim the deduction in the same income year that you made the purchase
- don't claim an expense that you have been, or will be reimbursed for
- claim for expenses incurred in earning your assessable (taxable) income – but not private, domestic or capital expenses
- keep written records.
The myTax help files may refer to decline in value, depreciation and capital allowances. Tax Help volunteers are unable to help with these topics.
If you can't see the deductions section, return to the ‘Personalise return’ screen. Then select ‘You had deductions you want to claim’. Make selections from the ‘Deductions’ sub-sections where the client is making a claim.
Based on the selections on the ‘Personalise return’ screen, myTax will automatically display some deductions.
You can help clients with the following types of deductions:
- Work-related expenses
- Gifts, donations, interest, dividends, and the cost of managing your tax affairs
- Other deductions
As you read about each deduction, open the ATO online services simulatorExternal Link and practise adding information to familiarise yourself with each section of the tax return.
To claim work related expenses, the client must have salary and wage income, or foreign employment income shown on an income statement or payment summary. This includes:
- Work-related car expenses – volunteers can only use the cents per kilometre method when helping clients to claim work-related car expenses. Remember, as a Tax Help volunteer you can only use the cents per kilometre method when helping clients claim work-related car expenses.
- Work-related travel expenses – to can claim actual expenses (such as fuel, repair and maintenance) relating to vehicles owned by someone else or motorcycles and vehicles with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, or 9 or more passengers.
- Work-related clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses.
- Work-related self-education expenses.
- Other work-related expenses.
- Employees working from home may be able to claim a deduction for the expenses you incur relating to your work, as a volunteers can only help them use the Fixed rate method.
- Working from home during COVID-19 – people working from home during COVID-19 can claim a deduction for expenses. Most will use the shortcut method. The shortcut method applies to the period 1 June 2020 to 30 June 2022. This deduction is not available for the 2022–23 tax return.
Deductions that are not work-related that you can help a client with include:
- Interest deductions
- Dividend deductions
- Gifts or donations – donations must be made to a deductible gift recipient to be deductible
- Cost of managing tax affairs – fees paid to a recognised tax adviser, agent or accountant are deductible.
If you are unable to see these sections in the 'Prepare return' screen, return to the 'Personalise return' screen and select 'Gifts, donations, interest, dividends, and the cost of managing your tax affairs'.
If the client has a foreign pension or annuity, the following deduction category will display – Undeducted purchase price (UPP) of a foreign pension or annuity.
At 'Other deductions', Tax Help volunteers can only help clients claim for Income protection, sickness and accident insurance premiums.
If the client had a spouse during the year, complete the ‘Spouse details’ section. The information is used to work out client entitlement to rebates, offsets and levies.
A spouse includes another person (of any gender) who:
- is in a relationship with the client that was registered under a prescribed state or territory law, or
- although not legally married, lived with the client on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.
It is important to check information in this section. Spouse details will pre-fill from the last lodged tax return. Check details and update if needed.
Tax offsets reduce the amount of tax payable on income. However, deductions reduce assessable income.
In general, offsets can reduce tax payable to zero, but on their own they can't get you a refund.
As you read about each tax offset, open the ATO online services simulatorExternal Link and practise adding information to familiarise yourself with each section of the tax return.
Tax offsets give
- tax relief for personal circumstances (for example, tax offsets for seniors and pensioners and people living in remote areas)
- an incentive (for example, the private health insurance tax offset).
Some tax offsets don’t need any action from the client. We will work out the client's entitlement to these offsets and apply the tax offset for them when their tax return is lodged. For Tax Help clients these include:
- Low and middle income tax offset – Low and middle income earners may be eligible for a tax offset if they are an Australian resident for income tax purposes. The offset can only reduce the amount of tax they pay to zero and it does not reduce their Medicare levy.
- Beneficiary tax offset – Persons who receive government payments, may be entitled to the beneficiary tax offset. To claim the offset enter the government payment you receive at the correct item on the tax return.
You can help clients to complete the following tax offsets. Some tax offsets will automatically display in myTax based on the information available in the client's tax return.
- Zone or overseas forces (the page has a link to the Australian zone list). Use the Zone or overseas forces tax offset calculator to calculate the amount of offset.
- Australian super income stream
- Seniors and pensioners (includes self-funded retirees) – clients may have a unused portion of this offset.
The Total net medical expenses for disability aids, attendant care or aged care was abolished from 1 July 2019. You can help clients who are lodging tax returns for the 2018–19 income year and earlier with this offset.
Follow these instructions where the client is claiming:
If both the client and their spouse are eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset and one doesn't use all of it, the unused portion may be available for transfer to the other person. We will work this out automatically and transfer any entitlement.
You need to keep records for 5 years (in most cases) from the date you lodge your tax return. Records may include income statements, payment summaries and receipts. You will receive documents that are important for doing your tax during the income year.
The ‘Income test’ section of the tax return is completed by all taxpayers. Make sure you read the information at each question. If these questions are not completed correctly the client may receive an incorrect tax assessment.
When completed the income test summary should show either a zero (0) or a dollar amount next to all the items. You will also be asked the number of dependent children.
As you read about the income tests, open the ATO online services simulatorExternal Link and practise adding information to familiarise yourself with each section of the tax return.
Income tests work out whether you:
- can claim certain tax offsets and the amount you are entitled to receive
- can receive some government benefits or concessions
- are entitled to a rebate for your private health insurance
- must pay Medicare levy surcharge
- have a HELP or SFSS repayment liability
- must pay tax.
The ‘Medicare and private health insurance’ section of the tax return is completed by all taxpayers. Make sure you read the information at each question.
As you read about Medicare and private health insurance, open the ATO online services simulatorExternal Link and practise adding information to familiarise yourself with each section of the tax return.
Medicare gives Australian residents access to health care. It is partly funded by taxpayers who pay a Medicare levy of 2% of their taxable income. A Medicare levy reduction is based on your taxable income. A Medicare levy exemption is based on specific categories. You need to consider your eligibility for a reduction or an exemption separately. The Medicare levy may be reduced for low income earners.
Help the client to complete each of the following sections:
If the client was covered by a private health insurance policy or paid for a dependent-child-only policy, they may be entitled to a private health insurance rebate. Check the pre-fill matches the client’s statement.
It is important, Tax Help volunteer assisted returns, amendments and refund of franking credits are identified so we can measure the effectiveness of the program. It also tells us the type of returns Tax Help volunteers are helping to lodge.
In myTax, Tax Help volunteers need to select the ‘Tax Help volunteer’ box and enter your Tax Help volunteer ID and the Tax Help centre ID. If you don't know your volunteer ID or Tax Help centre ID contact Tax Help.
This may be the last tax return a Tax Help client needs to lodge if so, you will need to select 'I do not need to lodge future income tax returns'. Clients will not need to lodge in future years if they:
- have an annual taxable income in the future below the tax-free threshold ($18,200)
- only have income from an Australian Government pension
- will become eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset, and their rebate income is below the threshold for lodging a tax return this year (for threshold levels and eligibility see Do you need to lodge a tax return?)
- they are moving overseas permanently
- they are 60 years old or older and their only source of income is from superannuation benefits (both lump sum and income streams) that have already been subject to tax in the superannuation fund.
After entering all of the client’s information in the tax return, myTax will provide a Tax estimate using this information. Inform the client that the calculation is an estimate and the final balance of their assessment may differ once the return is processed. This happens when:
- it involves complex calculations
- we receive information that affects the balance of your assessment.
When you click ‘Calculate’ any uncompleted sections will be highlighted. You will need to return to highlighted sections and follow the prompts to complete the section.
The declaration appears after the ‘Tax estimate’ has been calculated and any errors corrected.
The client ticks the following boxes, to declare that:
- All information in the return is true and accurate.
- All income has been declared.
- They have records to support their claims for deductions and offsets.
Logging on with myGov or the AAP creates a digital signature associated with the client.
Tax Help volunteers can help clients to complete an online refund of franking credits (RFC) claim.
The RFC form can be lodged online. Online lodgment has many benefits over paper. Benefits include pre-fill and faster refunds.
Online lodgment of RFCs is similar to myTax. Clients will need their myGov username and password.
For clients lodging a tax return, any refund of franking credits claim is included in the tax return.
Access the client's ATO online account through their myGov account (you may need to link myGov to the client's ATO online account). If the client doesn't have a myGov account, help them create one and link to ATO online.
If the client cannot access ATO online with myGov, use the AAP.
To lodge online, open the client's ATO online account and on the client homepage follow the pathway:
Tax > Lodgments > Refund of franking credits
When lodging Refund of franking credits online, ensure the Tax Help volunteer and centre ID fields are completed.
To lodge an online RFC claim, the client must meet all of the following criteria in one of the following category options must apply:
- You were an Australian resident for tax purposes. Need help? Use our online tool Are you a resident?
- You do not have to lodge a tax return. Need help? Use our online tool Do I need to lodge a tax return?
- Your total dividend income was $18,200 or less.
- You received dividends from shares (or non-share equity interests) in an Australian or New Zealand company or
- You were entitled to distributions from investments in a managed fund.
- Your dividend or distribution statement showed franking credits. Statements from New Zealand companies must show Australian franking credits. New Zealand imputation credits do not qualify or
- You had amounts withheld from your dividends because you did not provide your tax file number (TFN).
If a client doesn't need to lodge a tax return, they should lodge a non-lodgment advice.
If the client is unsure if the need to lodge, help them determine if they need to lodge a tax return using our online tool Do I need to lodge a tax return?
A non-lodgment advice for 2000 and later, can be lodged online.
Access the client ATO online services account through their myGov account (you may need to link myGov to the client's ATO online account). If the client doesn't have a myGov account, help them create one and link to ATO online.
If the client is unable to access ATO online with myGov, use the Alternate Access Process (AAP).
Lodge a non-lodgment advice
To lodge a non-lodgment advice online:
- open the client's ATO online account
- follow the pathway
- Non-lodgment advice
- choose the year or years the client needs to lodge a non-lodgment advice
- if applicable select ’I do not need to lodge future income tax returns’
- select the Tick box to sign the declaration
- select Submit.
For more help on topics covered in this training material, you can use the resources listed below:
- ATO website information
- Notice of assessment
- Prior year tax returns
- Viewing and printing your tax return or Notice of assessment
- National Tax Clinic program
As a Tax Help volunteer, you do not need to know everything. You just need to know where to find it. You can access a lot of information from our website. You can also show your clients how to access this information themselves.
Browse through the available information. You will be able to answer many of the questions your clients ask by using information on our website.
A notice of assessment is an itemised statement issued when a tax return or franking credit lodgment is processed. Your notice of assessment can be accessed from the ATO online services account. When it is ready for viewing, you will receive notification in your myGov inbox.
The details on the notice of assessment can be used to verify the client’s identity when lodging the tax return online. It is also useful for client identification when requesting a myGov linking code or AAP access code.
When clients make a Tax Help appointment, they are reminded to bring their previous years’ notice of assessment with them.
Returns for 2014 to 2021 can be lodged on ATO online. There are limitations to the online 2014 and 2015 returns as not all return labels appear in these online returns. Check the client can use the return before continuing:
For myTax 2016 and later years, there are no limitations.
You can't lodge returns for 2013 or earlier online. Access returns for these years at Prior years individuals tax return forms and schedules. Select the year of the return and follow the instructions to download the return.
You can download the Individual tax return, the supplementary tax return and instructions. When you have completed the return, write on the front:
- Tax Help
- your Tax Help volunteer ID number
- Tax Help centre ID
- Highlight and
- attach the disclaimer.
Clients can view their return and notice of assessment any time on ATO online. To view a return online, open the ATO online account and follow the pathway:
Tax > Lodgments > Income Tax.
Clients can also view their Non-lodgment advice or Refund of franking credits.
Notices of assessment can be viewed from the client myGov Inbox.
As clients can view their return online at any time, copies of lodged returns are not provided by Tax Help. Clients can print their return from ATO online.
Alternatively, they can phone us on 13 28 61 for a copy of their tax return, non-lodgment advice, refund of franking credits or notice of assessment.
The National Tax Clinic program helps people who may not be able to afford professional advice and representation with their tax affairs. This program is available to eligible individuals, small businesses, not-for-profit organisations and charities.
The ATO supports Tax Clinics but they operate independently from Tax Help. Universities across Australia run the program with Tax Clinics in every state and territory.
The following information will help you learn about you Tax Help centre:
- Role of a Tax Help centre coordinator
- Making the appointment
- Appointment confirmation
- Appointment record
- After the appointment
- Conflict resolution
The centre coordinator’s role is to:
- introduce Tax Help volunteers to key people in the centre
- ensure that the person responsible for booking Tax Help client appointments is aware of their responsibilities
- work out volunteer availability, create a roster and tell volunteers of appointments
- ensure that volunteers have a private room or workspace to conduct their appointment
- ensure the allocated room or workspace also contains
- a desk and at least 2 chairs
- a shelf or drawer for the volunteer to store their spare stationery items and personal belongings while conducting appointments
- a phone (if there is no phone in the room, make sure one is located in a private area close to the room)
- a computer with an internet connection for online lodgment
- maintain the safety of volunteers by ensuring they are not left alone at your centre and that they are aware of the centre’s security, and health and safety policies
- give volunteers access to stationery items (supplied by us)
- promote Tax Help within the centre and community
- submit the administrative documents to facilitate timely reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses to volunteers
- maintain regular contact with Tax Help
- ensure any equipment we have loaned to the centre is used appropriately and is stored securely.
When making a Tax Help appointment for a client, the centre will check their eligibility.
Is your income around $60,000 or less?
Go to step 2
Tax Help can't help you.
During the financial year, did you:
Tax Help can't help you.
Please refer to Your tax return or phone our infoline on 13 28 61 for more information.
Tax Help can help you complete your current year tax return.
If a client has a family member who also needs help, a separate appointment should be made for that person.
Similarly, clients who need help with more than one return or form will need extra appointments.
The Tax Help centre provides the Tax Help client with an appointment confirmation.
It shows the time and date of the client’s appointment and what they should bring.
When you arrive at your Tax Help centre you will be handed a Tax Help appointment record (PDF, 77KB)This link will download a file which shows the names of the clients you will be helping. The client’s information has been entered by the person who made the appointment.
When you have completed your appointments for the day please hand the appointment record to your centre manager (or nominee). They will forward this information to us at the end of each month.
The Tax Help centre and volunteer's responsibility to a client ends once the client's returns or forms are completed.
A client may return to the centre with an enquiry about their tax return or notice of assessment. Usually the client will be attended to by the centre representative. If not, explain to the client that Tax Help volunteers can't provide any further help and advise them they can either:
- track the progress of their return on ATO online services
- phone our Individuals Infoline on 13 28 61.
Sometimes conflict may arise between you and a representative of the Tax Help centre. This may include issues around appointment rostering or clients consistently arriving for appointments unprepared. If you are unable to resolve an issue with the centre manager or representative or are uncomfortable discussing it with them, contact Tax Help.
Adequate preparation will help ensure the Tax Help appointment runs smoothly. Before the first client arrives at the Tax Help centre make sure you are prepared.
Find out what you need for:
- Preparing for the appointment
- Greeting the client
- Encouraging client participation
- Showing clients what is available online
- Loss of internet connection
We suggest that when you first start as a Tax Help volunteer, you set aside a longer time for each appointment – for example, 45 minutes. However, as Tax Time progresses and you feel more comfortable, this can be reduced in consultation with a representative from the centre.
A minimum of 3 or 4 appointments should be scheduled for each half day. Don’t forget to include time for meal or refreshment breaks if appointments span several hours.
If the centre is available and you wish to take Tax Help appointments outside the hours of 8:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday to Saturday, you must discuss this with Tax Help as our help is not available to you outside these hours.
Have a conversation with the centre representative about the best way for them to contact you to let you know about your appointments.
If you can't attend an appointment, tell the centre as soon as possible. This will allow time to arrange another volunteer or reschedule the appointment to another time. If you are unable to contact the centre, contact Tax Help.
If you are going to be unavailable for a significant period of time, please advise Tax Help as early as possible.
To make sure you are prepared for your first appointment, make sure you:
- display your name badge
- have a list of your appointment times and names of clients
- have access to a phone and a private area
- arrange seating to allow both you and the client to view the computer screen
- have ensured your computer is turned on and working
- have logged onto the internet
- have logged onto AAP
- open the myGov login page
- have pens, paper, disclaimers
- have your volunteer and centre ID numbers handy.
Remember, it is not necessary for you to know the answers to all the questions the client may ask. It is more important to know how and where to find the answers.
If you have spare time between appointments browse our website especially the pages referred to in Tax Help training. The more familiar you are with these pages the easier it will be to find information when you need it.
Your first interaction with the client is important. Making the client feel welcome and relaxed will help you to feel more confident during the appointment. You should:
- greet the client with a smile, using the client’s name where appropriate
- introduce yourself – you need only use your first name
- always apologise if you are running late.
Invite the client into your 'office' and:
- ensure the client is seated comfortably
- tell the client that myTax will be used to complete their tax return and the tax return will be lodged online to the ATO
- explain to the client that you will be using pre-fill where possible and that this makes completing their tax return easier and quicker
- complete a disclaimer, explain why, and ask the client to sign it
- offer the client the opportunity to complete the tax return themselves – encourage them but do not force them.
Educating clients is an important aim of the Tax Help program. Encourage the client to create their myGov account and complete their own tax return whenever possible.
You will still need open ATO online file and enter your Tax Help ID details but the client should be offered the opportunity to input their information themselves. If they choose to do this you should give as much or as little help as they need.
Regardless of whether you or the client completes the tax return you should always try to encourage the client to become involved in some way.
Start by enquiring about the documents they have brought with them. Check the dates and names. Ensure that all the documents relate to the client and to the relevant income year.
Show the client how to group together their documents:
- all income, such as payment summaries, dividend and managed fund statements
- items relating to deductions, such as receipts and travel diaries
- private health insurance statement and details of medical expenses
- spouse information
- bank account details.
Remind them that documents may contain more than one piece of information – for example, a payment summary may also show an allowance or union fees. Point out any examples of these to the client.
If the client prefers you to complete the tax return invite them to watch while you input information. You may need to re-arrange your desk or their chair so they can view the screen comfortably.
Some of the ways to involve the client while you are completing the tax return are to:
- explain the benefits of pre-filling and how it allows them to access financial details held by us to help completing their tax return
- show them all pre-filled information and ask them to confirm it is correct (where possible, checking against the documents they have with them)
- suggest they read out the information from their documents for you to key in
- allow them to read the information shown on each screen
- demonstrate how to navigate the system
- show them how to access the help files and explain how it can help answer their questions
- at the verification and lodgment stage explain each step as you go
- encourage them to ask questions
- ask them if they feel confident enough to lodge their own return next year.
Volunteers can show clients the online services they can use to manage their tax and superannuation.
Due to limited time at the appointment, you may not be able to show the client all of the services. At a minimum, you should show the client how to check the progress of their tax return, update personal details and find and manage their super online.
You can't provide advice on managing super – clients should seek advice from a professional advisor.
ATO online services you can show Tax Help clients include:
- check the progress of your tax return
- view and update your personal details including change of name and contact details
- find and manage your super
- view, print or amend your tax return (from 2015 onwards)
- view your notice of assessment
- lodge your tax return using myTax – or tell us if you don’t need to lodge a tax return
- lodge your claim for a refund of franking credits
- make a payment or create a payment plan
- view your tax and activity statement account balance and transactions
- view your study and training support loan account balance and transactions
- receive most of your personal ATO letters directly to your myGov Inbox, rather than through the post.
Tax Help is an online service. A secure and constant connection to the internet is needed. Losing the connection restricts what you can do. Lost connections are generally out of your control. If the internet connection is lost, try the following:
- check if there are other users in the building having the same problem
- check cables are attached and power available
- try to re-establish the connection
- try rebooting the modem – turn off and restart.
If none of these options work, or the internet connection doesn't reset itself in a reasonable amount of time, you may have to consider rescheduling appointments.
Work with the Tax Help centre co-ordinator to reschedule appointments. At times, lack of available appointments or constraints on client time, may see the need to refer the client to a Tax Help centre nearby. Ask your Tax Help co-ordinator for these centres.
As a Tax Help volunteer there are a few administrative functions we need you to complete for our reporting on the Tax Help program. This includes:
- Identifying Tax Help prepared returns
- Communication with the ATO
- Feedback from clients and volunteers
Clients are required to complete a Tax Help disclaimer (PDF, 164KB)This link will download a file for each tax return, claim or form you help them to complete. The completed disclaimer places all responsibility for the information provided on the tax return, claim or form with the client.
Disclaimers will be supplied to you by Tax Help.
Ask the client to read the disclaimer before they sign it. You should read it to them if they are unable to read it themselves.
Attach the disclaimer to the:
- appointment record sheet for tax returns and forms lodged online
- tax return for printed prior year returns or forms.
All tax returns completed with the help of Tax Help volunteers need to be identified to us. How you identify the return depends on if it was an:
Identify a myTax return or Refund of franking credits return submitted online in the question 'How did you complete this Tax return'. Enter your Tax Help volunteer ID and the Tax Help centre ID.
For a non-lodgment advice submitted online the system doesn't allow you to enter your Tax Help volunteer ID. These activities will instead be captured by the appointment report.
You can't lodge prior year returns before 2014 online. You can download Prior years individuals tax return forms and schedules. Identify these and other forms which can't be completed online by writing and highlighting on the front page of the return:
- Tax Help
- your Tax Help volunteer ID number
- Tax Help centre ID and
- Attach the Tax Help disclaimer.
Don't write over the year or dates.
It is the client's responsibility to post the completed return to the ATO. Let the client know they should post the return to this address.
Australian Taxation Office
Community Education and Assistance
GPO Box 478
BRISBANE QLD 4001
This is not a reply-paid address. It is the client's responsibility to provide an envelope and postage.
Our preferred method for getting information to you is email. Please inform us if your email address or any of your contact details change.
You can contact Tax Help by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage you to use the myTax help file and our website wherever possible to seek further information.
If you have a technical question when completing a client’s tax return the Tax Help hotline is available to help you from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday to Saturday and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Sunday. This number is for Tax Help volunteer use only and will be given to you after you are accredited. When phoning, clearly identify yourself as a Tax Help volunteer.
Advise clients who require help (including progress of their tax return) to phone the Individual Infoline on 13 28 61 during business hours.
If you experience problems with myTax refer to the Help and support for myTax guide. If you need further help, contact the Tax Help hotline 1800 644 104.
The helpline can't help if you are having problems with Tax Help issued equipment. If you have an equipment issue and for all other enquiries contact Tax Help.
We encourage you to provide feedback on the program. This could include comments from clients on ways to improve the service. You could include these with your appointment sheets each month or send directly to Tax Help.
Accredited Tax Help volunteers will be reimbursed for eligible out-of-pocket expenses incurred while participating in the Tax Help program. If you incur eligible expenses you will need to complete a Tax Help volunteer reimbursement claim (NAT 72658, PDF 181KB)This link will download a file.
We can't process your claim for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses until the appointment record has been received and cross-checked by Tax Help.
Reimbursement claims must be accompanied by copies of receipts or supporting evidence for each expense and submitted at the end of each month unless advised.
Claims for Tax Help training should be made at the completion of the training. We can only reimburse claims for the current calendar year. Final claims for the year must be submitted by 30 November in the year they were incurred.
You can complete the reimbursement claims form on screen or the print the PDF form. Include your volunteer ID number and nominate a bank account for payment to be deposited.
Send the completed form to Tax Help by email. All claims received will be checked and if approved, forwarded for processing. Scan receipts for your claims and include details and reasons to avoid any delays however, you must keep the original.
Use the reimbursement form to claim:
If you are unsure if an expense is eligible contact Tax Help before incurring the expense.
When attending a Tax Help centre for Tax Help appointments or when attending a nominated venue for Tax Help training you can claim reimbursement for:
- return travel from your home (or relevant departure point such as place of work) to the centre or venue via the most direct route
- public transport costs
- reasonable parking and road toll fees – include receipts where possible.
Generally, you can only claim car travel costs when you are the driver. Calculate travel claims using the method advised by Tax Help.
We can't reimburse you for
- taxi fares
- parking fines
- traffic infringements
- travel costs to your Tax Help centre when you conduct Tax Help appointments as part of your paid employment.
Costs you incur to travel to Tax Help social events or presentations won't be reimbursed unless stated otherwise on the event invitation.
You will be reimbursed for phone expenses you incur for:
- landline phone calls made from your home to a Tax Help or Tax Help centre for Tax Help purposes
- mobile phone calls made to a Tax Help or Tax Help centre for Tax Help purposes (but only where Tax Help has first approved you using a mobile phone for Tax Help purposes)
- mobile phone calls to the Tax Help hotline (but only where Tax Help has first approved you using a mobile phone for this purpose)
Note: Landline phone calls to the Tax Help hotline are free. There will be no reimbursement for these phone calls.
Rate of reimbursement for phone calls
The reimbursement rate is determined by whether phone calls are:
- charged individually – these are reimbursed at the rate charged by your service provider
- included on a plan – during Tax Time, we may elect to partially subsidise your plan based on the nominal value of Tax Help calls to the nominal value of total phone calls (this includes phone calls made on a landline or from a mobile phone).
You may be asked to provide documents such as a copy of the mobile phone bill with the calls related to Tax Help highlighted.
Tax Help centres are reimbursed for phone calls made from their phones.
Generally, Tax Help volunteers should not incur out of pocket expenses for postage, stationery, photocopying or computer supplies as all items are supplied by us.
There may be circumstances where these expenses (or others) do occur. Discuss with Tax Help before making the purchase.
If making a claim, ensure you give enough details of the expense on the reimbursement claim form.
Check regularly that you have enough supplies. Contact Tax Help if you need extra items.
We supply the following:
- Tax Help stationery – all stationery items are supplied by us
- photocopying – all documents and forms are supplied by us – most forms can also be emailed directly to you if required
- the client is responsible for photocopying and postage of their tax return. We do not reimburse for this cost.
The reimbursement claim form is available as a fillable PDF. You can complete the form on screen and email or print it. You can then send it to Tax Help at the end of the month in which the expense was incurred. Reimbursement claims must be accompanied by copies of receipts or supporting evidence for each expense.
If sending your claim by email, include, a statement that you incurred the expenditure performing your Tax Help duties. Your full name must appear in the signature block of your email.
To ensure that the claim is processed promptly, ensure that all details are correctly recorded, especially your financial institution BSB and account details.
If your bank details change you need to advise us separately by email. We will not process your reimbursement claim until appointment records have also been received from the centre and cross-checked.
Clients can access a range of tax and super services using our online services, including lodging your tax return and activity statements, and keeping track of your super.
In this section
myTax is our free online tax return.
To use myTax, a client needs to register with myGov and link to the ATO.
The ATO app makes it easier for clients to conduct tax and super affairs from a tablet or smart phone. They can:
- log on to use our ATO online services including myTax
- enrol and use a voiceprint for fast, easy and secure access to ATO online services
- search for lost super
- access a number of other tools and calculators, including the myDeductions tool.
Clients can use the tool to:
- capture and classify work-related expenses, gifts and donations or the cost of managing their tax affairs
- store photographs of receipts
- record car trips
- upload deductions to their myTax return.
Client may ask you if a phone call, email or letter they have received from us is genuine. To help clients stay safe online, let them know we will not:
- ask you for your tax file number (TFN) or bank details through email or SMS
- contact you through social media like Facebook or Twitter to ask for your personal information
- send you an email from an unsolicited email address
- give your personal information to anyone without your consent, unless the law permits us to do so
- communicate with you on behalf of another government agency.
You can check our current campaigns at Current ATO SMS and email activities.
Scammers use different ways to trick people into disclosing personal details or make payments. Awareness of these methods reduces the chances of being caught by the scam.
To learn about scams and how to report a scam refer to Verify or report a scam.
You can also check Scam alerts for known scams.
Alerts are updated throughout the year. Check regularly throughout tax time for new scams.
If you suspect it is an ATO related scam, you can phone 1800 008 540 to report it. This includes instances where:
- you're unsure of the legitimacy of a communication claiming to be from us
- you've received fraudulent communication (claiming to be us or on behalf of us)
- you think you have been a victim of a tax-related scam.
In this section, find out how to:
Clients can contact us by phone on the following numbers:
- 13 28 61 for individual enquiries
- 13 10 20 for superannuation enquiries.
- 13 10 30 for the ATO Indigenous help line
Cards listing these and our other contact numbers are available.
Tax Help volunteers and centres can send reimbursement claims, appointment sheets and disclaimers to:
Tax Help Community Education and Assistance
Australian Taxation Office
Reply Paid 86344
BRISBANE QLD 4001
Iit is preferred these documents are sent by email.
Tax Help documents and enquiries can be sent to: email@example.com.
You have finished this section of Tax Help training. Please ensure you have completed and forwarded the assessments to Tax Help.
You will be contacted to arrange the next part of Tax Help training covering myGov, myTax and tax time updates. This training is closer to tax time.
In the next section of Tax Help training, you will see demonstrations of:
- Alternate Access Process.
These sessions will be online. You will receive an invitation before tax time. Multiple sessions will be held to allow volunteers choose a convenient time to attend.Tax Help training for Tax Help centres and volunteers only.