Q. Can you please advise what the deadline is for lodging my Income tax return?  I am a salaried full-time employee. 

A. If you are over age 18, with a taxable income of greater than $18,200 and had tax withheld by your employer, you are obliged to lodge a tax return. 

Tax return due dates depends upon a range of criteria.  If you are an individual lodging your own tax return for the 2017-18 tax year, the deadline for lodgement is 31 October 2018.  If your latest tax return resulted in a tax liability of $20,000 or more,  then your tax return due date is extended until 31 March 2019.

If your tax return is being lodged via an Accountant who is a Registered Tax Agent, for most individuals your due date will be 15 May 2019, but this concessional date only applies if any tax liability is paid in full by 5 June 2019.

If you have recently been late lodging tax returns or have an overdue return, regardless of whether you use an Accountant or not, you may be obliged to lodge your return by 31 October 2018.  If you want to qualify for the 15 May 2019 extension to lodge, you need to be registered as a client with an Accountant prior to 31 October 2018.  If you have a bad lodgement history already and this year’s tax return is due on 31 October, if your Accountant lodges your return by that date, you may qualify for the extensions again next financial year.

You may lodge your tax return at any time prior to your due date provided you have all documents you require to submit the return.  A common example would be your “Pay as you go (PAYG) payment summary” often referred to as a group certificate. Your employer is obliged to provide this to you by the 14 July 2018.

If your deadline for lodgement is 15 May 2019 and you elect to submit your return early, your due date for payment of tax will vary. For example, if you lodged your return up to 12 February 2019, the payment date would be 21 March 2019.  If you lodged the return after this date but before 12 March, the payment date would be 21 April 2019

If your tax return will result in no tax being paid or the issue of a refund, you have until 5 June 2019 to lodge the return.

Once a tax return is lodged, the ATO will issue you with a Notice of Assessment.  Typically the payment due date for any additional tax will be the later of 21 days after the lodgement due date or 21 days after the Notice of Assessment is deemed to have been received by you.

Q. If I lodge my Tax return late, what are the consequences and what penalties do I face?

A. The tax laws authorise the ATO to impose penalties for late lodgement of a tax return

The ATO will issue you a Failure To Lodge penalty if your tax return isn’t lodged by the due date. This fine is calculated at the rate of one penalty unit for each period of 28 days or part thereof that the document is overdue, up to a maximum of five penalty units. The value of a penalty unit is currently $210, which makes the maximum penalty which can be applied for an individual $1050.

In addition to penalties, the ATO may levy a general interest charge (GIC) to overdue unpaid tax liabilities.  The GIC rate is currently 8.96% and is reviewed quarterly.  You can apply for a remission of penalties and the GIC in part or in full if there are extenuating circumstances.  Examples of extenuating circumstances would be ill health or natural disaster.

If you are having difficulties submitting your return on time, you need to advise the ATO before the due date.