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  • Lodging your tax return

    A tax return covers the financial year from 1 July to 30 June. If you need to complete a tax return you must lodge it with us, or have registered 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. This information allows us to check how much tax you should have paid. If you have paid more tax than you need to, we will refund the extra amount to you (this is called a tax refund). If you have not paid enough then you may receive a tax bill.

    On this page:

    Work out if you need to lodge

    If you had any tax taken out (withheld) from income you received during the financial year, you need to lodge a tax return. Tax is usually withheld each pay by your employer.

    There are other reasons that you may need to lodge a tax return. If you’re unsure whether you need to lodge, use our Do I need to lodge a tax return tool.

    Or if you have a myGov account linked to the ATO, you can check whether you need to lodge by using the Do I need to lodge? tool in ATO online services.

    In ATO online, go to Tax > Lodgments > Income tax > Not lodged > Do I need to lodge? (you will find this under the heading 'Outcomes')

    Next step:

    Lodgment options

    If you need to lodge a tax return, there are a number of options you can choose from. You can:

    Follow the tips on the following pages to make tax time simple, if you are:

    Information you need to lodge

    You’ll need your:

    • bank account details
    • income statement or payment summaries from all of your employers
    • payment summaries from Centrelink
    • receipts or statements for the expenses you are claiming as deductions
    • your spouse's income (if you have one)

    If you have private health insurance, you will need that information too.

    If you’re lodging your tax return online using myTax, some of this information will be already pre-filled for you.

    You’ll need a myGov account linked to ATO online services.

    Next step:

    If you need help to lodge

    If you need help lodging your tax return the following service is free and designed to provide assistance to people with simple tax affairs:

    • Tax Help program – for eligible individuals with income around $60,000 or less

    If you are not eligible for this program and need help you can engage the services of a registered tax agent.

    Due dates

    If you’re lodging your own tax return it needs to be lodged 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 unable to lodge by 31 October, contact us as soon as possible.

    If you missed the due date

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

    If you expect a tax bill, don't delay lodging. If you're finding it hard to pay on time, it's important to contact us early so we can work with you to make a payment plan tailored to your circumstances.

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    Last modified: 01 Jul 2020QC 32089