Australian taxpayers who believe their tax affairs are straightforward have been given the “green light” by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to go ahead and commence lodging their income tax returns for the 2022-2023 financial year.
However, the tax office has once again reminded taxpayers to take their time preparing their returns and ensure all the important details are correct.
Some Australian taxpayers may also receive a different outcome when it comes to this year’s tax return, compared to previous years, with the ATO reminding taxpayers that they could receive a lower refund than expected or even a tax bill.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh said most taxpayers with simple affairs will find the information they need to lodge has now been pre-filled in their tax return.
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“Most of the information we collect from employers, banks, private health insurers, share registries, and other institutions is now ready to go,” he said in a statement this week.
“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.”
Pre-fill information will be automatically available in the tax return, regardless of whether taxpayers lodge their returns themselves using myTax or via a registered tax agent.
In the case of income from rental properties, some government payments, or income from side hustles, Loh reminded taxpayers that some income may need to be manually added.
“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,” he said.
“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 two weeks, but if your return hits a speed bump, we’ll contact you.”
Loh said there are a number of factors that can affect someone’s 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,” he explained.
Taxpayers who wish to lodge their own returns have been reminded by the ATO that the due date is November 21, regardless of when they lodge. However, when it comes to a registered agent, the due date may be later.
Loh said if taxpayers have received a tax bill, they will 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,” he added.
The ATO has over 40 occupation guides that can help taxpayers understand the deductions available to them depending on their job, and taxpayers can reduce taxable income by making sure they’re claiming the deductions they are entitled to.
However, Loh warned taxpayers against inflating deductions.
“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,” he said.
Top tax tips from the ATO:
- 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.
- Keep records: To claim a deduction for a work-related expense, you must have a record to prove it.
- Wait for your notice of assessment: Your tax estimate in myTax or from your registered tax agent may not match your final tax outcome. The ATO recommends waiting for your notice of assessment before making plans for how you will use any expected tax refund this year.
- Stay alert to scams: The ATO says it will never send you a link to login to its online services or request personal information via social media, email or SMS.