You usually don't need to lodge a tax return where:
- your income is under the tax-free threshold ($18,200)
- no tax has been withheld from that income.
However, there are certain circumstances which require you to lodge even where the above applies to you.
Use one of our Do I need to lodge a tax return tools to work out if you need to lodge a tax return.
If you work out that you don't need to lodge a tax return, let us know so we don’t send you reminders. You can complete a non-lodgment advice online for most income years.
If you work out that you don't need to lodge a tax return, tell us by lodging a non-lodgment advice (also known as a return not necessary).
You can complete either:
- Non-lodgment advice through ATO online servicesExternal Link – you will first need to sign in to myGov
- select ATO
- from the menu select Tax
- from the drop-down menu select Lodgments
- select Non-lodgment advice.
- Non-lodgment advice form – download and print the form and lodge by mail.
You can submit a non-lodgment advice online for income years dating back to 2000.
You can also tell us that you will no longer need to lodge a return for this income year and future years by following the steps above.
The following are common circumstances that mean you need to lodge a tax return.
- Tax withheld from income under the tax-free threshold
- Living overseas with study and training support loans
- Centrelink clients
- Child support (liable and recipient parent)
- Active ABN, pay as you go withholding or instalments
- Franking credits refund
If you earn less than the tax-free threshold ($18,200) and pay tax of $1 or more, you can get a refund of the tax amounts. You need to lodge a tax return to receive a refund of these amounts.
If you're a part year Australian resident, your tax-free threshold will be less than $18,200.
Use the Do I need to lodge a tax return tools to work out if you need to lodge a tax return.
If you're a foreign resident with $1 or more Australian taxable income, you must lodge a tax return.
If you live outside of Australia and have a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), VET Student Loan (VSL) or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt owing to the Australian government, you have the same repayment obligations for these loans as people who live in Australia. These repayment obligations must be met.
If you earn income, you must report your worldwide income by lodging online or using a registered Australian tax agent.
If you receive family assistance payments (such as Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Subsidy), you need to provide your family income to Centrelink.
To meet your tax obligations, you need to complete the following processes with us depending on your circumstances:
- lodge an income tax return (if required)
- lodge a non-lodgment advice with us.
You will also need to advise Centrelink if you and your spouse don’t need to lodge a tax return (if applicable) and confirm income for you and your spouse. You can use either your Centrelink online account or Express Plus Centrelink mobile app to provide this information.
If you are receiving Child Care Subsidy, Centrelink require income for any spouse you had during the year and have separated from. If you have concerns about confirming their income, phone the Centrelink Families lineExternal Link to discuss options.
If you were a liable or recipient parent under a child support assessment, you must lodge a tax return unless both of the following apply:
- you receive government benefits for the entire income year
- your income was less than $27,063.
You will not be able to complete a non-lodgment advice if our records show that during the income year, you:
- had an active ABN
- report pay as you go withholding
- had pay as you go instalments.
If you have an active ABN you need to lodge a tax return, this may be a nil ($0) income tax return. You will need to do this whether you have either:
- ceased trading
- just commenced trading.
You will also need to cancel your business registrations if you have ceased trading, from the date you ceased trading. You must meet all your lodgment and payment obligations prior to cancelling your ABN.
If you receive franking credits on your dividends and are not required to lodge a tax return, you can still apply for a refund of your franking credits.Check what you need to do if you don't need to lodge a tax return.