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How to lodge your tax return

Check what options you have to lodge your tax return yourself or with help from someone else.

Last updated 23 July 2023

Preparing your tax return

A tax return is a form you complete online, on paper or get a tax agent or our Tax Help program to help you with. Your tax return tells us:

  • how much money (income) you earn
  • if you are claiming any deductions.

We use this information to check if you:

  • have paid enough tax or too much
  • need to pay the Medicare levy or surcharge
  • can get any tax offsets (for example, the low income tax offset).

If you pay more tax than you need to, we will refund the extra amount to you (this is known as a tax refund). If you don't pay enough tax then you may receive a tax bill.

Your tax return covers the income year from 1 July to 30 June. If you need to complete a tax return you must lodge it or engage with a tax agent, by 31 October.

When you lodge a tax return you include how much money you earn (income) and any expenses you can claim as a deduction.

Lodgment options

If you need to lodge a tax return, you can choose from of the following options depending on your circumstances.

Find out more about how to lodge in specific circumstances:

After you lodge you can check the progress of your tax return using our self-serve options.

We also have Help and support to lodge your tax return available for eligible individuals.

Due dates for your tax return

If you’re lodging your own tax return, you need to lodge it by 31 October each year.

If 31 October falls on a weekend, the due date to lodge your tax return is the next business day after 31 October.

If you choose to use the services of a registered tax agent, they will generally have special lodgment schedules and can lodge returns for clients later than 31 October. If you are using a registered tax agent, you need to engage them before 31 October.

If you're having difficulties meeting your tax obligations or are unable to lodge by 31 October, contact us as soon as possible.

If you lodge your own tax return and it results in a tax bill, payment is due by 21 November even if you lodge:

  • between 1 July and 31 October
  • after the 31 October.

If you miss the due date

Even if you miss the due date, it is important to lodge as soon as you can.

If you expect a tax bill, don't delay lodging. The due date for payment when you lodge your own tax return is 21 November even if you lodge late. Interest will apply to any amount you owe after 21 November.

If you're finding it hard to pay on time you may be eligible to set up your own payment plan, tailored to your circumstances.

If you're still unsure why you have a tax bill or are having difficulty paying, contact us or speak with your registered tax agent.

Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra. 

Find out what you need to do if you are preparing and lodging a tax return for the first time.

Prepare and lodge your own tax return online. It is the quick, safe and secure way to lodge, most process in 2 weeks.

Use a registered tax agent to prepare and lodge your tax return, they are the only people that can charge a fee.

You can use the paper tax return to lodge your tax return by mail, most refunds issue within 50 business days.

Find out if you can lodge your tax return early (by paper) if you are leaving Australia permanently.

Find out how you can lodge if you are outside Australia when your tax return is due.

Find out how to lodge if you still need to lodge a tax return for a prior year.

Check what you need to do if you don't need to lodge a tax return.