The countdown is on for Australians to lodge their tax returns before the cut-off, or cop a “stiff fine” worth hundreds of dollars.
More than 7.9 million people have already filed their returns — about 400,000 thousand less than this time last year, according to the Australian Tax Office.
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There’s still time for any taxpayers who have forgotten, with the official deadline on October 31.
Come November 1, anyone who has not lodged their tax return themselves or registered with a tax agent will be slugged with a $313 fine.
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This increases every 28 days, up to a maximum of five times, H&R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman said, meaning taxpayers who fail to lodge their returns over that additional period could cop a maximum penalty of $1565.
“You could be looking at a stiff fine for not lodging,” Chapman said.
“The good news is that, whilst the penalty is normally applied automatically, it is not normally applied to returns that either have a nil result or generate a refund.
“In addition, where a penalty is applied, the ATO will sometimes remit it where it is ‘fair and reasonable to do so’, for example in the event of natural disaster or serious illness.”
There is a way to lodge much later than the October 31 deadline without being fined.
“You simply need to be registered as a tax agent client by 31 October 2023, and you can lodge your tax return through that agent as late as 15 May 2024,” Chapman said.
Another key date to remember is November 21. This is when anyone who owes a tax bill must cough up the cash to the ATO.
Again, anyone using a registered tax agent may have a later due date.
Many taxpayers received a lower refund than expected this year, 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,” ATO Assistant Commissioner Rob Thomson said recently.
“You may receive a bill for a number of reasons, one of which could be because you didn’t pay enough tax
“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.”
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