AS THE October 31 deadline approaches, the Australian Taxation office (ATO) is reminding people to lodge their returns or engage with a registered tax agent to avoid late lodgment penalties.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Rob Thomson said more than 7.9 million people have already lodged their returns, which is about 400,000 fewer lodgments than this time last year.
"If your long weekend plans are filled with DIY projects, how about you add your ‘DIY’ tax return to the list?" Mr Thomson said.
People with simple affairs can lodge online, often in under 30 minutes, through myGov. Most of the information will already be pre-filled – people just check it's correct, add any additional income, and claim the deductions they may be entitled to.
"DIY projects can get pretty complicated, but unlike flatpack furniture, doing your own tax return can be simple thanks to the data we pre-fill for you and the in-built help. But if you do need some help, you may like to speak with a tax agent to give you a hand," Mr Thompson said.
"Remember to only use a registered tax agent, and to get on their books by 31 October," he said.
To check whether an agent is registered, visit the Tax Practitioners’ Board register.
The ATO is also reminding people to make sure their claims for work-related expenses accurately reflect their working arrangements this year – "don’t just copy and paste claims from last year," he warned.
"We want people to get their deductions right on the first go and claim what they are entitled to – nothing more, nothing less. We have a series of 40 occupation and industry-specific guides which you should have a look at.
"It may be tempting to boost your refund by leaving out income or inflating your deductions – but remember, we have sophisticated data analytics that will pick up returns that look suspicious."
The ATO is reminding the community that the outcome of their tax returns this year may be different than in previous years, with some people receiving a lower refund than expected, or even a tax bill.
"If you don’t receive a refund this year and you don’t have a bill, it means you’ve paid the correct amount of tax throughout the year. You may receive a bill for a number of reasons, one of which could be because you didn’t pay enough tax," Mr Thomson said.
The ATO is also reminding the community that the due date for payment is November 21, regardless of when the return is lodged. Those using a registered tax agent may obtain a later due date.
"If you’ve received a tax bill, you need to pay it in full and on time to avoid interest charges. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, we’re here to help. You can contact us or speak to your tax agent before the due date to discuss the support available," Mr Thomson said.
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