Lodging personal income tax returns online is quick and easy.
Tax returns cover the financial year, which starts from 1 July to 30 June of each year. If you intend to lodge a tax return yourself, it needs to be done so by 31 October. However, if you're lodging it through a tax agent, this can be as late as 15th May 2020. The Australian Government provides a service called "MyTax" which is probably the easiest way if you're submitting a straightforward return.
The MyTax system caters to those who intend to complete their own income tax return, including sole traders. However, if you own a range of investments and intend to utilise deductions, you may want to consider the services of a registered tax agent in Australia.
Their expertise and knowledge can help you maximise your deductions and get the best possible tax return for your situation.
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Let’s assume you’ve read through our comprehensive guides to tax services in Australia, you’ve read up on your deductions and allowances and you’ve made the decision to complete your return yourself.
Step 1: Open or login into a myGov Account
If you don’t have one already, then you’ll need to create a myGov account. Simply head over to their website on the link below to create your account, which you can then link to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
If you already have an account, you can login with your credentials. You'll be prompted to enter in a security code to verify your identity. This is sent to your mobile phone online.
2. Click on "Australian Taxation Office" under 'Your services'
You will need to link your account to the Australian Tax Office by clicking on 'Australian Taxation Office' under the 'Link a service' section and following the prompts. If you have already done so from the previous year, your account should look like the below.
Click on "Australian Tax Office".
You'll then be taking to the official ATO website. Follow the prompts to file your tax return. Remember to have your Group Certificate ready.
From here, once you have suggested your pathway, you will be asked to input all of your financial information and deductions, it is really important that you get all of your figures correct, so take your time and check everything twice.
How much tax do I pay?
The amount of tax you pay generally depends on how much you earn and how much tax you've paid so far. Use our calculator below to give you an indication.
Could I DIY or get professional help?
A few factors that can help your decision:
- How complicated your return is. If your tax return is straightforward then submitting it online may be easier. However, if you have bought or sold multiple investments and don't have time to go through the paperwork then using the services of a tax agent may be
- Your budget for fees. Usually a tax agent will charge a flat fee or charge based on a tiered scale. In most cases, your tax agent can make the fee worth it, by saving you more in your tax return.
- Your confidence in your own financial know how. The ATO regularly audits tax returns to ensure they're compliant and follow the law. Tax regulations are always changing and if your tax return is not considered to be compliant, there are serious penalties including fines and gaol time.
Which type of tax returns are best for who?
You should know based on your income and type what kind of tax return you should fill out, but if you’re new to this there are several categories that you might fit into.
- Individual tax returns. These are returns mainly for personal cases who are employed who earn an income. This also includes the self-employed or contractors working with an Australian Business Number (ABN).
- Partnership tax returns. These are returns for businesses in a partnership structure.
- Company tax returns. These are returns for private companies, but have more than two people in the company structure.
- Trust tax returns. Trusts have different tax regulations and rates applies. The trustee is typically responsible for submitting the tax return.
- Corporate tax returns. These returns are to be filed by a corporation (typically listed on a stock exchange) and need to be audited by a third party.
If you’re reading this, it’s most likely that you’re an individual, but if you’re filing on behalf of a business or company then it may be best to seek professional advice.
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Your tax returns questions answered
DISCLAIMER: Many of the comments in this article are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information applicability to their own particular circumstances.