The Tax Help program can help with your tax return
If you've earned less than $60,000 or you're a student, pensioner or migrant, the ATO's free Tax Help program can help you to complete your tax return correctly.
Looking for free tax help?
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 people complete their tax return. 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 (less than $60,000 for the year) 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
Here's what the free program doesn't help you with.
- Lodging returns if you're a contractor
- Business tax returns
- If you've sold investments
- If you own a rental property or have any capital gains tax
- If you receive foreign income
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 get 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 28 61 (select option 3, then option 2).
What if you need help, but aren't eligible for the Tax Help program?
If you're not eligible for the free Tax Help program but you want some help with your tax return, a professional tax agent or tax accountant can help you. Unlike the Tax Help program it's not free to use a tax agent, however there are many benefits to doing it. The fee to use a tax agent is around the $100 mark (give or take a bit and could save you lots of money compared to doing it yourself.
A tax agent will be able to help you claim everything you're entitled to, and also make sure you're doing everything correctly and by the due date. Plus, you can claim the cost of using a tax agent as a tax deduction.
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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