The ATO expects that 200,000 individuals could miss out on a tax refund this year by failing to lodge a return.
So far this tax time, the ATO says over 2.7 million taxpayers have already lodged their income tax returns via myTax, while another 4.3 million taxpayers have lodged via a tax agent. Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson says many salary and wage earners end up with a tax refund but some are missing out because they haven’t lodged.
Taxpayers have until 31 October to either lodge their own return, or ensure they are on an agent’s books, Ms Anderson said. Failing to lodge by the deadline can attract a penalty of $210 for every 28 days that the return is overdue, up to a maximum of $1,050.
The ATO believes that some taxpayers may not lodge a return, even if they are due a refund, because they don’t realise they need to. For example, where they are on a low income or haven’t worked recently. Ms Anderson said others might be worried about lodging because they haven’t lodged for several years and suspect that they may have a debt, which often causes them stress and anxiety. For self-preparers, the payment is due on 21 November whether or not a return is lodged. Ms Anderson said the ATO will help people who may have difficulties paying a tax debt, and tailor a payment plan to the taxpayer’s circumstances. The ATO is also alert to some people who are deliberately not lodging in an attempt to avoid their child support obligations.
The ATO also reminds that taxpayers who have already lodged, but realise that they have made a mistake, should make an amendment using myTax or by contacting their tax agent. Not correcting errors may mean the ATO has to contact the taxpayer, which may cause unnecessary processing delays. More information on making an amendment is available on the ATO’s website at www.ato.gov.au/fixamistake.