Q. I am aware that June 30 is the last day of the financial year. What is the latest date I am able to lodge my return?  What are the rules around this? I hear different dates mentioned.

A. Tax return due dates depends upon a range of criteria.  If you are an individual lodging your own tax return, the deadline for lodgement is 31 October 2017.  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 2018.

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 2018, but this concessional date only applies if any tax liability is paid in full by 5 June 2018.

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 2017.  If you want to qualify for the 15 May 2018 extension to lodge, you need to be registered as a client with an Accountant prior to 31 October 2017.  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 2017.

The ATO has advised that they will be in a position to commence processing returns from  7 July 2017 and expect to start paying tax refunds from 18 July 2017.

If your deadline for lodgement is 15 May 2018 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 2018, the payment date would be 21 March 2018.  If you lodged the return after this date but before 12 March, the payment date would be 21 April 2018

If your tax return will result in no tax being paid or the issue of a refund, you have until 5 June 2018 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.

The tax laws authorise the ATO to impose penalties for late lodgement of a tax return.  In addition to penalties, the ATO may levy a general interest charge (GIC) to overdue unpaid tax liabilities.  The GIC rate is currently 8.78% 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. Please note that at the time of writing, the deadline dates for lodgement are estimates based on previous tax years.  Please check the ATO website for updates as the deadlines get closer.