Do I need to lodge a tax return?

To help you work out if you need to lodge a tax return for the current and prior income years, you can use ATO Do I need to lodge a tax return?  tool.

If you are a working holiday maker do not use this calculator, you will need to read Working holiday makers for more information.

From 1 July 2017 if you have a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt and you’re a foreign resident for tax purposes – you’ll need to declare your worldwide income or lodge a non-lodgment advice. You can do this using ATO online services via myGov or through a registered Australian tax agent.

For more information, see HELP and TSL overseas obligations.

The Study and training loan repayment calculator will help you find out your compulsory repayment or overseas levy amounts.

You’ll need to lodge if:

  • you’ve made personal superannuation contributions which have exceeded your non-concessional (after tax) cap for the financial year, or
  • the contributions you have made have resulted in your concessional (pre-tax) contributions cap being exceeded.

You may also need to lodge if you are in receipt of a capped defined benefit income stream, even where you have not been required to do so for some time.

If you’re unsure if you need to lodge a tax return for earlier years, you can choose from the following links:

Note: If you need to lodge a tax return for years prior to 2008 – go to ATO Prior years individuals tax return forms and schedules and select the relevant year.

What happens if I don't lodge my Tax Return on time?

The ATO may apply a failure to lodge on time penalty if you lodge your tax return late. However, the ATO has a policy not to apply a penalty if your tax return:
– is lodged voluntarily, and
– does not result in any tax payable.

The ATO is likely to apply a penalty if:
– you have more than one tax return outstanding
– you have a poor lodgment history, or
– you have not complied with a request to lodge your tax return.

The amount of a Failure to lodge on time (FTL) penalty is calculated at the rate of 1 penalty unit (currently valued at $210) for each period of 28 days, or part thereof, which a document is overdue, up to a maximum of 5 penalty units. Size tests also apply. Taxpayers classified as medium entities will have the penalty amount multiplied by a factor of 2 and entities classified as large by a factor of 5.

General interest charge (GIC) also applies to any amount that remains unpaid after the due date for payment.

Attention: If you do not lodge by the due date, ATO may issue you a default assessment warning letter (DAWL), and subsequently a default assessment if you do not comply by the due date in the DAWL. Where applicable, an administrative penalty of 75% of the tax-related liability will be applied. This may be increased by 20% for repeat offenders.

Can I check the progress of my tax return online?

To check the progress of your tax return online simply go to (not-available for early tax returns):