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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
Yes75.28%90.22%83.55%58.81%
No15.73%6.79%8.55%6.82%
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

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  • Tax return for foreign residents

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  • Paying tax on savings account interest

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  • How to complete a tax return

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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?
    Thanks
    Net

      AvatarFinder
      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.

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