The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is giving taxpayers with simple affairs the ‘green light’ to lodge their annual income tax returns.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh said that most taxpayers with simple affairs will find the information they need to lodge has now been pre-filled in their tax return.
'Most of the information we collect from employers, banks, private health insurers, share registries, and other institutions is now ready to go. So, if your financial affairs are fairly straight-forward, you’ve got a ‘green light’ to lodge – but remember you still need to check your details are accurate before you hit submit.’
Regardless of whether you lodge using a registered tax agent or yourself through myTax, pre-fill information will be automatically available in your tax return.
Mr Loh also reminded taxpayers that some income may need to be manually added – for example, income from rental properties, some government payments or income from ‘side hustles’.
‘Just because you’ve got a green light that doesn’t mean you should rush! Take your time and make sure to check that all your information is included.’
As you prepare to lodge, keep Tim’s tax time tips in mind:
- Include all of your income: If you picked up some extra work through online activities, the sharing economy, interest from investments, a capital gain (e.g. from the sale of an investment property), or received a cash payment for any work, you will need to include this income in your tax return.
- Assess your circumstances this year: If your job or circumstances have changed this year, it is important to reflect this in your claims. For example, you may have worked at home less in 2022–23 than in the year before, as many of us returned to the office. The way you calculate working from home deductions has also changed, so consider which method is right for you.
- Records, records, records: To claim a deduction for a work-related expense, you must have a record to prove it. The ATO app makes it easier and more convenient to keep records in one place, including photos of your receipts and invoices.
- Wait for your notice of assessment: Your tax estimate in myTax or from your registered tax agent may not match your final tax outcome. We recommend waiting for your notice of assessment before making plans for how you will use any expected tax refund this year.
- Stay alert to scams: Remember that the ATO will never send you a link to login to our online services or ask you to send personal information via social media, email or SMS.
‘Calling us won’t speed up the processing of your return, but you can keep track of your return by logging into the ATO app or through myGov, regardless of whether you lodged yourself or through a registered tax agent. We normally process online returns within 2 weeks, but if your return hits a speed bump, we’ll contact you,’ Mr Loh said.
The ATO reminded taxpayers that the outcome of 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.
‘There are a number of factors that can impact your final tax assessment.’
‘In simple terms, if you don’t receive a refund, it just means that you’ve paid the correct amount of tax throughout the year. If you receive a bill, it may mean you didn’t pay enough tax – this can be for a number of reasons,’ Mr Loh said.
When you lodge your own return, the due date for payment is 21 November, regardless of when you lodge. If you are using a registered agent your due date may be later.
‘If you’ve received a bill and you can pay, you need to do so by the due date to avoid interest accruing. If you’re experiencing financial difficulties, we have payment plan options available to support you, which you may be able to set up yourself on the ATO website,’ Mr Loh said.
You can reduce your taxable income by making sure you’re claiming the deductions you’re entitled to – the ATO has over 40 occupation guides that can help you understand the deductions that are available to you depending on your job.
‘It might be tempting to inflate your deductions, but if you’re considering this, we want you to hit the brakes and remember, we have sophisticated data-matching capabilities which provide us with the clues we need to spot deductions that don’t add up,’ Mr Loh said.
Notes to journalists
- Check the progress of your return at ato.gov.au/progressofreturn
- ATO file footage is available for use in news bulletins from our media centre.
- A headshot of ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh is available for download from our media centre.
Mediaunit@ato.gov.au | 02 6216 1901