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Don’t be scared of tax returns – lodge before Halloween deadline

26 October 2023 2 mins read
CPA Australia's Head of Policy & Advocacy, Elinor Kasapidis.
  • DIY tax returns must be lodged by Tuesday 31 October
  • Don’t cut corners or make mistakes – you could miss out
  • Beware of unsolicited offers of last-minute tax help


CPA Australia is urging Aussies not to ghost the ATO and ensure they lodge their tax returns by the Halloween deadline.


“Failing to lodge your tax return could ultimately mean a scary penalty,” says Elinor Kasapidis, Head of Policy and Advocacy at CPA Australia. “Rushing to lodge at the last minute may also result in more tricks than treats.”


Individuals who lodge their own tax returns are required to do so by 31 October. Late penalties can apply for failure to meet this deadline.


“We’re all busy and time gets away from us, but lodging your tax on time is really important,” says Kasapidis.


“Leaving it until the last minute may mean you cut corners, get things wrong and don’t submit your return accurately. You could ultimately receive a less favourable outcome.”


Kasapidis believes the end of the low and middle-income tax offset – and stories of Aussies seeing reduced returns or even being left with debts – may have contributed to people delaying their lodgements this year.


“We’ve all heard stories about people getting less back this year on tax. The main reason for this is the end of the low and middle-income tax offset. Some people may be putting off lodging their tax returns because they don’t want to receive bad news.”


Taxpayers who use a tax agent have longer to lodge, as long as they are on their agent’s books by the October deadline.


“That’s why we encourage Aussies to consult a registered tax agent, like a CPA. Not only will a CPA ensure your tax return is completed as thoroughly and accurately but you’ll have longer to submit it.


“You can engage a tax agent at any time. If you need extra time to lodge this year, you will need to get on an agent’s book before October 31.


“If you have lodgements outstanding from previous years, your agent will be able to bring you up to date. The sooner you get in touch, the better.”


If you do miss the 31 October deadline, Kasapidis advises getting in touch with the ATO as soon as possible.


“The ATO will usually take your personal circumstances into account and may not apply a penalty if this is your only late lodgement.”


Kasapidis also reminds Aussies to be vigilant of tax scams at this time of year.


“The sad truth is that tax scams become more and more sophisticated every year. They could come via email, social media, text message or phone call. Be very wary of anyone offering unsolicited, last-minute help to file your tax returns.”

About us:

About CPA Australia

CPA Australia is Australia’s leading professional accounting body and one of the largest in the world. We have more than 172,000 members in over 100 countries and regions. Our core services include education, training, technical support and advocacy. CPA Australia provides thought leadership on local, national and international issues affecting the accounting profession and public interest. We engage with governments, regulators and industries to advocate policies that stimulate sustainable economic growth and have positive business and public outcomes. Find out more at

Contact details:

Simon Downes

External Affairs Lead

0401 461 503


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