You can access free help from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to lodge your tax return, via its Tax Help program. Here's how it works and how to access support.
What is the Tax Help program?
The Tax Help program is a free service provided by the ATO designed to help with their tax returns, free of charge. Tax help is a community of volunteers who provide expertise and advice for those trying to complete their tax returns themselves. The volunteers don’t actually work for the ATO, but are given full training and support.
Tax Help is designed especially to help people on low incomes or people who would describe themselves as:
- People from non-English speaking backgrounds
- People with a disability
- Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
What can the Tax Help program support you with?
The main way that the program can help you is by helping you lodge your tax return correctly and by the due date. The volunteers can also help you with the following:
- Lodge amendments with previous tax returns
- Claim a refund of franking credits
- Create a myGov account so you can do your taxes online
- Tell you if you don't need to lodge a return
The program is only really able to help those filling out straightforward returns, so if you're filing on behalf of a business, trust or corporation, if your return has many complications, they may refer you to a professional tax service.
How to access help with Tax Help
The volunteers at Tax Help are based in all major cities in Australia and are available to help you during tax season (that's July to October). The volunteers can come to you in your home, or you can receive help and advice over the phone if you'd prefer.
To book an appointment you can call the Tax Help program on 13 10 40.
- Individuals starting from $79*
- Sole trader starting from $150*
- Ride sharing tax returns start from $110*
FinTax Group Offer
Qualified to handle your tax and financial needs.
Help you complete your tax return if you have more than one job, or income from other sources such as investments.
Offers a wide range of services from tax advice to business setup and advisory.
Choosing a tax agent*This is the minimum fee charged for income item tax returns. The price listed on this table is subject to terms and conditions. To find out more or to receive an accurate quote for your tax return, please visit the agent's website to submit an enquiry.
*The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.
Who can help me file my tax return?
There are basically two ways that you can file your tax return, you can do it yourself or you can pay someone to do it. The tax industry is complicated and affects everyone, so it should come as no surprise to you that there is a booming market for qualified professional services that offer help in return for a fee. There are many companies in Australia who provide tax services, and we’ve tried to help you find one by previewing some of the larger companies. You should find the providers listed on the left hand side of this page, but we’ve also linked them below, so you can have a look through and find a service that works for you.Back to top
How do I use a registered tax agent?
If you decide to use a tax service, then you’ve just decided to make tax season a lot easier. The tax services are designed to make things simple for you, so using their service is often a matter of a few steps.
1) Find a tax agent that suits you. We’ve provided full guides of some of the largest tax services available in Australia, so if you’re not sure what you’re looking for have a look through out previews to find the agent that suits your needs.
2) Contact the agent to discuss your return. An informal discussion will come first. You’ll want to ensure that your service is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). This is the legal register of companies that are allowed to provide tax help, if they’re not registered, then they’re operating illegally and should be well avoided. You’ll also want to discuss the fees that they will charge and get an idea of what information they will need from you to ensure that your return is processed swiftly and easily.
3) Begin gathering your financial information. When you’ve agreed to terms with your tax service provider, you will need to start getting your financial statements together. This means you’ll need all your payslips, details about your superannuation, any receipts or bills that you’re claiming as a deduction. If you’re not sure what you’ll need, it’s usually best to bring just about everything and then let your tax advisor decide what is useful and what is not.
4) Pay for your service, hand over your information and go on with your life. Congratulations, you’ve just survived tax season, and it has probably never been easier. Remember, the beauty of paying someone to do your taxes is that you don’t have to do your taxes yourself.
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.
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