ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Get ready to do your tax – Easier-to-read information

This information about getting ready to do your tax is written in a way that is easy to read.

Last updated 23 June 2021

This easier-to-read document is a summary of another document.

You can find the longer document at

Do you need to do a tax return?

Most people that earn money need to do a tax return.

We use the tax return to check if you paid the right amount of tax.

We have an online tool which can help you work out if you need to do a tax return.

You can find the tool at

If you have trouble using this tool you can

  • ask someone you trust for help
  • phone us on 13 28 61.

If the tool says you do not need to do a tax return, you need to send us another form. This form is called a non-lodgment advice.

You can follow the instructions in the tool to help you.

When do you need to do your tax?

You need to do your tax return before 31 October if you are

  • doing your own tax
  • using Tax Help.

If you use a tax agent you may have more time, but you must ask them to help you with your tax before 31 October.

When is the best time to do your tax?

The best time to do your tax is from late July.

By then we will have put more information into your online tax return for you.

This information comes from places like

  • businesses you work for
  • government (like Services Australia)
  • banks
  • health insurance companies.

This will save you time and help you avoid mistakes.

Your bank account details

You will need your bank account details.

If we have to pay you money we will put it in your bank account.

Information you need

Before you start your tax return you need this to get the following information ready.

Your TFN

You need to have your tax file number or TFN.

Your TFN is your personal identification number in our tax system.

If you do not have a TFN you need to apply for one. Find out how at

Information about your income

Income is the money you get from

  • working, including being paid in cash
  • the government, like Services Australia payments
  • investments, like money from shares or interest from bank accounts
  • property you rented or sold to other people
  • renting out a room in your house or driving a ride share car.

You need information about your income for the full financial year (1 July to 30 June).

You can get this information from

  • income statements or payslips from your employer
  • a Centrelink payment summary
  • bank or share dividend statements.

Remember, if you wait until late July we will have put most of this information into your online tax return.

Information about your expenses

Expenses are the money you spent on certain things.

If you had expenses you may be able to claim a deduction.

A deduction reduces the income amount you pay tax on.

This means you pay less tax.

Some examples of expenses you may be able to claim a deduction for are

  • the cost of tools you had to buy to do your job
  • the cost of clothing that shows you work in a particular job (like chef pants)
  • money you gave to a charity
  • union fees you paid
  • the cost of income protection insurance
  • money you spent looking after a rental property you own.

Find out whether your expense meets the rules at

You need information about your deductions for the full financial year (1 July to 30 June).

You need to have records of the money you spent. These records can be receipts or invoices.

What happens after you do your tax return?

We use your information to work out

  • if you paid too much tax – if so, we will give you some money back. We call this a tax refund.
  • if you did not pay enough tax – if so, you will need to pay more. We call this a tax debt.

Make it easier next year

If you keep your records from the start of each financial year it will be easier to do your tax.

Keep your records together in a safe place and keep them for 5 years.

We have the myDeductions tool in the ATO app.

You can use the app to

  • take photos of the receipts for your expenses
  • record information about the expenses.

When you are ready to do your tax you can use the app to upload the information to your online tax return.

You can also email the information from the app to your tax agent or yourself.

Find out more at

How to get help

If you need help getting ready to do your tax you can

What to do next

Once you have all your information ready you can lodge your tax.

We have an Easy Read document called 'How to do your tax'.

You can find it at