myTax – The ATO’s free online tax return lodgement solution for individuals.
Note: Etax (the predecessor of myTax) was retired from 1 June 2016 and is no longer available for download.
Signing up to myGov is required for online tax lodgment
To use myTax online a registration at “myGov” is required. The site my.gov.au is administered by the Department of Human Services, and is a single online access point for a range of government services and departments, including the Tax Office, Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support, eHealth, Veterans Affairs and Disability Services.
For myTax tax return lodgements, the myGov registration must be activated (or already be active), and the ATO linked as a “service” enabling you to transact with the Tax Office.
myTax – the online alternative
The myTax online tax return lodgement service is free and is for individual tax returns.
Using myTax is a simple way to lodge personal tax returns, because tax returns can be lodged from practically any device with an internet connection.
Until 2015 electronic lodgement was managed via the desktop e-tax program updated and downloaded on an annual basis. myTax can be used to lodge returns from 2016 onwards.
2014 and 2015 returns may also be lodged online using myTax depending on eligibility. Years before 2014 require a paper return, or lodgement via a tax agent.
Lodging online for the first time? Start here.
A key advantage of using myTax is that data from Tax Office records can be electronically pre-filled to make the process fast and simple.
However the best use of pre-filled information is after sufficient time has elapsed after year, for the information to have been made available to the Tax Office by employers and financial institutions.
It can cause unnecessary hassles if you lodge early and the Tax Office subsequently match differing data to your return, which then would have to be explained or disputed.
For this reason it may be advisable to hold off using myTax for several weeks, so the information you have in your tax return can be checked for accuracy.
To help with this, the Tax Office publish pre-fill status information and availability here.
Paper Tax returns
Whilst myTax is convenient, hard copy paper tax returns can still be lodged using stationery provided by the tax office, or downloadable as a PDF.
In some cases, myTax cannot be used for example if the taxpayer does not have an Australian bank account, a paper return would be necessary.
The “penalty” for using a paper lodgment is the longer processing timeframe, stated by the Tax Office to be 50 days, rather than the standard 2 weeks turnaround (often quicker in practice) offered by electronic lodgment via myTax. If you need to lodge a paper tax return, the Tax Office has guidance here.
This page was last modified 2021-05-29