The countdown is on for Australians to lodge their tax returns before the upcoming cut-off, but some are choosing to risk a $313 fine by putting it off.
More than 7.9 million people have already filed their returns and there is still time for those yet to do so, with the official deadline on October 31.
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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.
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.
But, research has found that 47 per cent of self-employed Australians, including tradies, beauticians and contractors are yet to file their tax returns and 17 per cent haven’t started them at all.
The research, done by tax and accounting service Hnry, found that half of those who have completed their returns reported a lower rebate compared to previous years and due to this, many others are choosing to put off submitting their return.
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“Our research shows sole traders spend an average of six hours on financial admin every week,” said Karan Anand, managing director of Hnry Australia, a tax automation tool for sole traders.
“Add to that the pressure of tax time while forking out a large sum to potentially receive a smaller rebate following the phasing out of the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO), and it’s no wonder a large proportion are putting off submitting their return.
“That’s despite the prospect of a $313 late fine.”
But for those who are running behind and miss the official deadline, there is a way to lodge the return 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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