What is a Tax Return?

A tax return is a document you submit to the Australian Taxation Office at the end of every fiscal year. The document contains all the relevant information about your taxes. These include how much money you made in the year, your assets, your superannuation funds, the amount you paid in taxes, etc. Furthermore, you also need to provide information about your additional income and any tax deductions you’re eligible for. However, you’ll only have to lodge a tax return if you’re eligible for it.

How do Tax Returns Work?

Your tax returns help the authority determine the technicalities of your taxes. Once you file a tax return, the authority goes through your documents. It determines whether you’ve paid the accurate amount of taxes based on the paperwork you provide.

Once the details are calculated, the tax officials will let you know whether you need to pay any additional taxes based on your income and assets. Furthermore, the deductions you’ve claimed in your form will also be evaluated, and you’d receive the amount of money you’re eligible for.

Eligibility for Filing Tax Returns

Australian Residents

For Australian residents, you must lodge tax return documents if you have any tax deductions to avail of your payable tax. Furthermore, if your income exceeds the tax-free threshold or you have income from assets, investments other than your current job. Also, if any of your payments were already tax-deducted, especially for independent contractors or people who work on a temporary basis.

Furthermore, suppose you’re planning to leave Australia for at least one fiscal year. In that case, you’d have to lodge tax returns and adequate paperwork for your departure.

Non-Australian Residents

So, you might wonder how do tax returns work for non-residents in Australia? It’s not complicated at all. Non-residents, they must lodge tax documents for any amount of money they make. However, they must be working in a proper job in Australia to be eligible for it.

However, if your only income from Australia was investments for non-residential projects or you’re a working holidaymaker (417 or 462 visas) you still must lodge any tax return documents. In essence, every taxpayer deriving income in Australia must lodge a tax return, whether they are receiving a refund or not is irrelevant.

Once you fulfill the requirements to be considered an Australian resident, you might be eligible to apply for tax deductions based on the tax you paid on your time as a non-resident. However, these involve some technicalities and might not be available for everyone.

How to Lodge Tax Returns

Filing tax returns can seem a bit complicated at times due to their nature. Firstly, you must make sure you have all the documents prepared and ready before the end of the fiscal year (30th June). 

Firstly, you can use the tax return tool to determine whether you’re eligible for tax returns or not. Make sure to put accurate and correct information for correct results. Afterward, if you’re eligible, you must submit your documents.

The simplest way to lodge tax returns is by using the myTax section of the myGov app. You have to register at myGov and access the myTax section. Afterward, you can submit the necessary documents, attach the required paperwork, and fill the form for a seamless submission.

Otherwise, you can also collect a tax return form and fill it up manually. Once you’ve filled it up, you can send it to the necessary authority for evaluation. Although this is a bit more tedious, you can use it if you don’t have access to soft copies of certain documents. 

For a more secure option, however, you can reach out to a tax accountant for help. They’ll manage all your necessary taxation papers at once. From making tax-related documents to making essential applications, a tax accountant will do everything for you.

However, you must ensure that you’re investing in the right accountant. Your accountant needs to have the necessary certificates and accreditations to be eligible to deal with your paperwork.

When Are Tax Returns Due for Individuals in Australia?

As with most queries tax-related in Australia, the answer depends on several factors, but here are a few key things to keep in mind for the 2021 tax year which ends on 30th June 2021.

If you are lodging directly with ATO

So, if you intend on preparing your own tax return through the Electronic Tax Pack in myGov, your return is due to be lodged on 31st October, or given 31st October falls on a Sunday this year, 1st November!

Also, if you correctly file your own tax return, and the ATO does not raise any queries, you will likely receive your Notice of Assessment over the next 28 working days after the tax return has been lodged. If you are due a tax refund, it will hit your bank account around the same time as the Notice of Assessment. On the contrary, if you have a tax payable, the Notice of Assessment will tell you the payment date along with payment details for an efficient transaction. This could change based on several things, but generally, it should be paid within 4 weeks after the Notice of Assessment is issued.

If you lodge through R T Accounting & Taxation Services (Registered Tax Agent)

If your Accountant, who is a registered tax agent is lodging your tax return on your behalf, if you have a good history with the ATO, you could receive a large extension on both your due date for lodgement and payment compared to those lodging by themselves. R T Accounting & Taxation Services have a very good lodgement history with the ATO and unlock the full range of extensions for our current clients as well as any future clients.

Most individual tax returns will be due around mid-May 2022, which is close to 11 months after 30th June 2021. However, some individual tax returns will be due at the end of March 2022 as those who often have a tax payable at the end of the year as opposed to a refund will be among those affected. This date usually only applies to those who have made a substantial income from sole trader, investment, or business income where the tax does not periodically tax out during the year as it would for those on salaries and wages.

Regarding refunds and payments:

  • Tax returns tend to be processed within 5 to 7 days of lodgement by registered tax agents, and usually the refund will be received within that time frame also should there not be any additional ATO queries.
  • If you have a tax payable, it will rarely be due prior to February 2022, and often it is some time in the first week of June 2022.

So, there are some definite benefits to have a registered tax agent lodge a tax return on your behalf. It would primarily be beneficial to those with tax payables as they essentially have a year from financial year-end to pay the liability. This can help with cash flow for your business or yourself.

If you have a poor lodgement history?

If you have a poor lodgement history with the ATO, your return will be due 31st October 2021 regardless of if you lodge through a registered tax agent or lodge it yourself. Your tax payable, if applicable, will also be due that same day also.

Need an Extension?

If you would like to qualify for an extension to lodge and/or pay, let alone mentioning ensuring that you receive any deductions you are entitled to, as well as lodging correctly with a relatively lower risk of ATO queries, you will need to be on our client list before 31st October 2021. If you have a historically poor lodgement history and this return is due by 31st October, we can help lodge your return before this date so in the 2022 financial year you qualify for the lodgement extensions.