So, when do you need to lodge your tax return? And when can you expect any refund to land in your bank account? Here are the answers to some of your top questions.
Do I need to lodge an income tax return?
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) says you must lodge a tax return if:
- You had tax withheld from any payments (such as wages) during the income year
- You are an Australian resident and your taxable income was more than the tax-free threshold of $18,200
- You are leaving Australia forever or for more than one income year
- You want to claim any tax deductions
- You pay or receive child support and your income was $27,063 or more
- You are a foreign resident with a study or training support loan
- You are a foreign resident and earned more than $1 during the income year, unless an exemption applies
You can also use the ATO’s ‘Do I need to lodge’ tool in your ATO online services account to check.
What is the deadline for lodging tax returns?
The deadline to lodge your tax return depends on whether you are doing it yourself, or using a registered tax agent.
If you are lodging your own tax return, you need to do so by October 31. If you are using a tax agent, you will need to register with one by October 31 and they will have until May 15, 2024 to lodge your return.
If you miss the deadline, you can be hit with fines, which increase every 28 days it is late. As of July 1, 2023, the fine is $313, but it can increase up to $1,565.
Why is my tax return refund so different this year?
Some Aussies will be getting smaller tax refunds this year, or no refund at all.
This is partly due to the low and middle income tax offset (LMITO) winding up. The tax offset previously gave people earning up to $126,000 per year a tax break of up to $1,500.
There are a number of other reasons why you may receive a lower tax refund this year. For example, your refund may have been offset against another debt – including debts on hold with the ATO. You may also have had a change in your personal circumstances, including your income and deductions.
Why did I get a tax bill?
If you’ve received a tax bill, the ATO says this is because you didn’t have enough tax taken out of your income during the year to meet your tax or loan-repayment obligations.
This could be for a range of reasons. For example, you could have moved into a higher tax bracket because of a promotion, or because you have multiple sources of income.
If your income has increased, this could also lead to a higher repayment threshold for any HELP or other study or training loan.
If you’re unsure why you have a tax bill or are having difficulty paying, contact the ATO or speak with your registered tax agent.
When will I get my tax refund?
If you’ve lodged your tax return electronically, it should be processed within two weeks. Paper tax returns are processed manually and can take up to 10 weeks.
Once you receive a notification your refund has been processed, it may take up to five business days to hit your nominated bank account.
The quickest and easiest way to check the progress of your tax return is by using the ATO’s self-help services.