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Electronic lodgment requirement

Frequently asked questions about the electronic lodgment requirement.

Last updated 30 June 2024

If a tax return is lodged by paper after 31 October, is the penalty applied for that tax return, or do I not get the concessional date for the following year?

The concessional due dates available under the lodgment program apply only where a tax return is lodged electronically. For any tax returns lodged by paper, the lodgment due date will normally be 31 October.

The potential penalties and reversion of the lodgment due date to 31 October will be applied only to the specific tax return lodged by paper. Potential penalties are failure to lodge on time and general interest charge.

Example: the effect on due dates if you lodge by paper

Jim lodged his client's 2022 tax return by paper in March 2023. As a result, the lodgment due date for that tax return reverts to 31 October 2022. However, the lodgment program concessional due date will apply for his client's 2023 tax return if Jim lodges it electronically.

End of example

As always, any clients with overdue prior year returns as at 31 October won't be provided with any lodgment program concessional due dates.

Where does it state in legislation that there is an electronic requirement for the lodgment program?

The statutory due date for lodgment of tax returns is set each year by registration of the relevant 'Lodgment of returns' legislative instrument. The lodgment program concessional due dates are not legislated due dates. They are deferred lodgment due dates provided by the Commissioner of Taxation to assist tax agents in managing their workload throughout the year.

It's not mandatory for you to lodge tax returns electronically, however to qualify for lodgment program concessional due dates you must meet the requirements of the program. You can still lodge by paper, but you will have to meet the statutory due date.

What if I lodge an early return for short-term visitors to Australia?

Future year returns may be lodged through the practitioner lodgment service up to and including 15 June of the current reporting period. For more information see Practitioner lodgment service user guide - Future year lodgments.

Early tax returns lodged by paper are excluded from the electronic lodgment requirement. Tax returns for these clients are normally lodged prior to the end of the income year and therefore well before the lodgment due date for paper returns of 31 October.

How do I ensure that sensitive information is protected when lodging my personal tax return electronically under a shared registered agent number (RAN)?

Access Manager (AM) can be used to customise access and permissions in Online services for agents or Online services for business to allow the principal authority or authorisation administrator to control access to their secure tax information.

AM is a standalone system that enables an administrator to restrict access to certain clients and functions that your staff can perform. This facility is normally used to manage high profile clients and staff accesses within a tax practice.