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Tax tales: 2.4 million Australians admit to lying on their tax return

Filling income tax return_Canva_1800x1000

Millions of Australians have admitted to being less than truthful on their tax return, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,080 respondents revealed 1 in 10 (12%) have at some point lied on their tax return.

That's equivalent to 2.4 million Aussies who have been dishonest about their work expenses or the income they earn.

The research found 4% repeatedly lie on their tax return each year, while the same amount (4%) only lie occasionally.

Alison Banney, money expert at Finder, said as tax season rolls around it comes with a lot of responsibility to accurately report on your finances for the last 12 months.

"Doing your own taxes can seem complex and overwhelming with many unsure of what deductions to claim for and how to go about reporting on financial gains and losses.

"Add cost of living to the mix and many will be attempting to find ways to lower the amount they have to pay this year."

Almost 1 in 10 (7%) Aussies admit they don't report additional income made through side hustles, while 4% are untruthful about their investments.

The younger generations are more prone to lying on their tax return with 16% of gen Z and 15% of gen Y admitting to being untruthful about their finances, compared to gen X and baby boomers (both 10%).

Banney said while it might seem tempting to lie on your tax return, it can come with serious consequences.

"Lodging inaccurate information with the tax office is a criminal offence which can, in extreme cases, call for up to 10 years' imprisonment or hefty fines.

"While most people aren't intentionally dishonest when submitting their return, it's important to be diligent in double-checking you're not making a costly mistake.

"The risks and consequences far outweigh any short-term gains made," Banney said.

Data shows those earning above $100,000 a year were more tempted to lie (14%) than those earning below $100,000 a year (12%).

Have you ever lied on your tax return?
Yes, once1%
Yes, but it was unintentional4%
Yes, always4%
Yes, sometimes4%
Source: Finder survey of 1,080 respondents, April 2023
Do you have additional income you don't report?
Yes, my investments4%
Yes, a side hustle7%
Source: Finder survey of 1,080 respondents, April 2023

Here's 1 thing you can do in June to get more tax back this EOFY.

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