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05 August 2015

Survive Your First Time Lodging a Tax Return

Another financial year has ended, which means it’s time to lodge your tax returns. You have until October 31 to settle your tax duties and contribute to Australia’s development. The intricacies of this process can be overwhelming, especially to the first-timers. So we’ve gathered everything tax-payers need to know and presented them in the easiest way to help you get through the process without a headache.

How can you lodge a tax return if you’re overseas?

  • An Australian resident who is overseas during the lodgement period can lodge his/her tax return online. Using myTax is the most convenient way to do it; however, a myGov account that is linked to ATO is also required. myTax can be used directly if you have signed up on e-Tax before.
  • A tax agent licensed by the government of Australia may file your tax return.
  • Through power of attorney, a friend or relative can sign the tax return as your representative.

How can you lodge a tax return online?

Thanks to 21st century technology, it is now possible to lodge a tax return via the Internet. Doing it online is the fastest and easiest way. Set things in motion by completing an online pre-lodgment questionnaire. Questions relate to your earnings and tax deductions for the financial year of 2014-2015. Your answers will be the basis of the system’s recommendation, whether you’ll have to use myTax (simple tax-related conditions) or e-tax (more complex tax-related conditions).

An ATO-linked myGov account is required in order to lodge online. First time lodgers have a few steps to follow:

  1. Get your tax file number (TFN) and prepare any of these papers: birth certificate, citizenship certificate or passport.
  2. Create your own myGov account. Make sure the details are accurate.
  3. Get the unique linking code needed to verify your newly-created myGov account by dialing 12 28 61. Remember that the code is good for only 24 hours.
  4. Sign in to myGov, click the “SERVICES” page and connect it to the ATO. Select the option which says ‘I have a linking code’ and go along the directions as prompted.

Can you lodge a tax return ahead of the schedule?

You are only allowed to conduct the transaction early if:

  • You are going out of the country permanently before the income year ends (June 30).
  • You are a foreign resident who is returning home.
  • You are no longer obtaining income from any Australian-based business, apart from dividends, interest and royalties.
  • You are concluding you Australian residency due to tax purposes.

If you don’t fit in any of these categories, you will have to do the lodgment during the normal schedule, which is from July 1 to October 31.

How do you lodge a paper tax return?

Paper tax returns may be used by individuals. Most often, refunds are received within 50 business days from the day of lodgment. To lodge a paper tax return, the following are needed:

  • Individual tax return instructions.
  • A hardcopy of the paper tax return for individuals.

A pack containing the directives and two paper copies of your tax return can be ordered online through the ATO ordering service and ATO government offices.

It is best to talk to a professional if you need help regarding your tax affairs. This is to avoid discrepancies that could result in future inconveniences. TaskForce has certified accountants who are familiar with the ABCs of taxes. Make an arrangement with them by calling on 13TASK.