Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Do I need to lodge a tax return?

If you’re an Australian resident and you earned money during the previous financial year, you’ll most likely need to lodge a tax return.

If you earned some form of income during the previous financial year, whether you're an Australian resident or not, it's very likely that you need to lodge a tax return. However, there are certain scenarios and circumstances when you may not need to send a return to the ATO.

Who needs to lodge a tax return?

You’re required to lodge a tax return with the ATO if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • You were an Australian resident and you paid tax or had tax withheld on your behalf.
  • Your taxable income was more than the tax-free threshold of $18,200.
  • You are leaving Australia permanently or for more than one income year.
  • You wish to claim deductions.
  • You are a liable or recipient parent under a child support assessment during the income year (and your income was $27,063 or more).
  • You earned over $1 if you were a foreign resident (unless you were on a 417 or 462 visa, or your only income was from interest, dividends or royalties).
  • You are a foreign resident with a study or training support loan (if you earned no Australian income).

However, even if none of the above criteria apply to you, there are still many circumstances under which you are required to lodge a return. Examine the checklist below to find out how you can tell whether you need to file a tax return with the ATO.

When is my tax return due?

The due dates for 2023–24 tax returns are as follows:

  • If you lodge your return yourself, it will need to be submitted by 31 October 2024.
  • If you use a registered tax agent you can lodge after this date.

Finder survey: Which Australians filed their taxes on time?

ResponseGen ZGen YGen XBaby Boomers
I did not file taxes this year8.99%2.99%7.89%34.38%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1113 Australians, December 2023

When you may not need to lodge a tax return

There are many more circumstances which may mean that you don’t need to lodge a tax return, but working out whether they apply to you can be a confusing process. If you’re at all unsure about whether you need to lodge a return, ask your accountant or registered tax agent for advice that takes into account your unique financial situation.

If you’re certain that you do not need to file a tax return for the previous income year, you will usually need to complete a "Non-lodgment advice" form. This form is available for download from the ATO website or can be submitted through online services, and must be sent to the ATO by 31 October.

How to tell if you need to lodge a return for a previous year

To find out whether you need to submit a return, you can use the ATO’s interactive Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool.

This tool can help you understand your obligations for any financial year dating back to 2012–13 and the ATO also offers links to older tools to help you check your return requirements for earlier years.

Frequently asked questions about tax returns

More guides on Finder

  • Working from home: What can I claim on tax?

    Working from home due to coronavirus and want to know what you can claim on tax? Here's how to claim your home office and other household expenses as a tax deduction this year.

  • How to lodge a business tax return

    The process involved to lodge your business tax return will vary depending on if you're a sole trader, partnership, trust or a company. Here's what's required with each business type.

  • When will I get my tax back?

    Your guide to tax returns and how long you’ll need to wait for your refund to be paid.

  • Tax return deadline: When is my tax return due?

    Your tax return has a different deadline depending on which financial year you're filing for, and whether or not you're using a tax agent. See which tax return due date applies to you in this guide.

  • Australian owner-occupier tax deductions

    Investors aren’t the only ones who can benefit from property tax savings. From home offices to renting out a spare room, there are deductions available.

  • Tax return for foreign residents

    If you're an Australian resident for tax purposes you need to lodge an income tax return. Here's how to tell if you're considered a resident or not by the ATO.

  • Paying tax on savings account interest

    If you earn interest from a savings account, you need to pay tax on that interest at the same rate as the rest of your annual taxable income.

  • How to complete a tax return

    Follow our step-by-step guide on how to lodge a tax return including the information you'll need, the different ways to lodge it and what deductions you can claim.

  • Tax tips: 5 ways to get a bigger tax return this year

    We’ve put together a list of our best tips for boosting this year’s tax return. Maximise your tax refund today.

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms Of Service and Finder Group Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    NetSeptember 6, 2023

    Hi, I am 60, a self funded retiree and receive an superannuation annuity of $4000 per month. I also earn bank interest on a cash investment of approximately $26000 per annum. Do I need to pay tax on my bank interest and lodge a tax return?

      SarahSeptember 7, 2023Finder

      Hi Net,

      Yes, your bank interest is classified as income by the ATO so you need to declare it as income and file an annual tax return.

Go to site