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  • If you don't need to lodge a tax return

    Generally, if your income is under the tax-free threshold ($18,200) and you have not paid any tax on that income you don't need to lodge a tax return. There are however some circumstances which will mean you do need to lodge.

    To work out if you need to lodge use our Do I need to lodge a tax return tool to find out.

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    Lodging the non-lodgment advice

    If you've worked out that you don't need to lodge a tax return, you will need to let us know so we don’t send you reminders. You can tell us by lodging a non-lodgment advice (also known as a return not necessary). You can complete either:

    You can notify us you are not required to lodge for financial years dating back to 2000 online.

    You can also tell us that you will no longer need to lodge a return for this year and future years (also known as a final return or further returns not necessary) by following the steps above.

    Circumstances affecting non-lodgment

    The following are common circumstances which will usually mean you need to lodge a tax return.

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    Tax withheld from income under the tax-free threshold

    Even if your income was less than the tax-free threshold ($18,200), if you had $1 or more tax withheld, you're generally entitled to a refund of any tax withheld.

    You will need to lodge a tax return to receive a refund of these amounts.

    If you're only an Australian resident for part of the year, your tax-free threshold will be less than the full tax-free threshold of $18,200. Use the tool to check if you need to lodge a tax return.

    If you're a foreign resident with $1 or more Australian taxable income, you will need to lodge a tax return.

    Foreign residents with study and training support loans

    Foreign residents with a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), VET Student Loan (VSL) or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt, have the same repayment obligations for these loans as people who live in Australia, even if you live or intend to move overseas.

    If you earn income, you will need to report your worldwide income using ATO online services via myGov or a registered Australian tax agent.

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    Centrelink clients

    If you receive certain benefits or subsidies (such as family tax benefit or child care subsidy) you may need to provide your family income to Centrelink. To do this, you will need to either lodge a tax return or complete a non-lodgment advice.

    Child support (liable and recipient parent)

    From 2008, if you were a liable or recipient parent under a child support assessment, you are required to lodge a tax return unless both of the following apply:

    • you received government benefits for the entire financial year
    • your income was less than $25,575.

    Active ABN, pay as you go withholding or instalments

    You will not be able to complete a non-lodgment advice if our records show that during the financial year, you:

    • had an active ABN
    • reported pay as you go withholding
    • reported pay as you go instalments

    You will need to either lodge a tax return or consider cancelling your business registrations from the date you ceased trading.

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    Franking credits refund

    If you receive franking credits on your dividends and are not required to lodge a tax return. You can still claim a refund of your franking credits.

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    Last modified: 24 Jul 2020QC 63269