At the end of the financial year you're expected to fill in a tax return to work out how much tax you should have paid that year. If it turns out you've paid more tax than you needed to, you could get sent a refund. You might end up with extra spending money, or money to pay those outstanding bills!
Do I need to do a tax return?
Not everyone has to do a tax return. To work out if you need to do one, check out the ATO's Do I Need to Lodge a Tax Return? online tool.
How to do your tax return
While it may seem tricky at first, doing your tax should get easier the more often you do it.
The main thing to remember is to keep good records of:
- Your expenses (i.e., what you spend)
- Your income (i.e., what you earn)
Check out the ATO's advice about records you need to keep for more tips on what you should be hanging onto.
There are a few ways you can do your tax return. You can:
- Do it online using myTax
- Fill out a paper tax return
- Get a registered tax agent/accountant to do it for you (see "Getting Help with Your Tax Return" below)
Tax assistance for people with a disability
The ATO can offer a range of help with tax returns to people with a disability, including phone support and audio/video guides. Check out their Services for People with a Disability page for more information.
Getting someone else to do your tax return
You can always pay someone else to do your tax return for you. Keep in mind that while you might have to pay money up front, an experienced registered tax agent may be able to do a better job at working out your entitlements and you may actually save money in the long run.
To find someone you can pay to do your tax for you, try asking around. Your family or friends may have someone they can recommend. You can also find someone to lodge your tax return through the Finding and using a tax practitioner page on the website of the Federal Government's Tax Practitioners Board.
When is my tax return due?
The financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June the following year. If you're doing your tax return yourself (e.g., using myTax or the tax pack), your tax return is usually due on 31 October following the end of the financial year.
For example, if the financial year ends on 30 June 2015, then you have to make sure your tax return is submitted by 31 October 2015.
If you don't submit your tax return by 31 October there's a chance you could get fined and have to pay a Failure to Lodge on Time (FTL) penalty.
Note that if you're doing your tax return with the help of a registered tax agent or accountant, the 31 October deadline doesn't apply.
Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
Your primary source of information about tax with information for individuals and businesses.
MoneySmart - Income Tax
Tax refund tips from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).