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Free Tax Return

There are a number of ways to get free help to prepare and lodge your tax return or to have questions answered.

Each year, the Australian Tax Office’s Tax Help program has a team of trained volunteers in the suburbs providing free assistance to eligible people on lower incomes ($60,000) with simple tax affairs.

The scheme is limited in scope: It does not provide advice or an estimate of your tax position, or follow up on progress of assessments or other queries.

The scheme is potentially available to a large number of eligible taxpayers, including seniors, students, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, people with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Income qualification for free help

The Tax Help program is generally restricted to taxpayers with incomes of around $60,000 or less and EXCLUDES taxpayers receiving income as a contractor – examples given include a contract cleaner or taxi driver, business income, sale of shares or investments, rental property income, capital gains tax, royalties, trust distributions other than a managed fund, and foreign income other than a pension.

Tax Help volunteers cannot help with business tax returns, partnership and trust matters, capital gains tax or rental properties.

The Tax Help scheme runs from July to October each year, with 31 October being the normal lodgement deadline.

Returns are lodged electronically through the Tax Help scheme, giving the advantage of a quick assessment turn-around time.

Access to the service is only available after registering at myGov and linking to the Tax Office, a process with which the Help team can also assist.

How to get tax help

To obtain Tax Help, call the Tax Office on 13 28 61 to make an appointment between July and October each year.  You will be directed to the Tax Help location nearest to you. Required information to bring to the appointment and other information is set out here.

Tax Clinics – for small businesses and others

For those ineligible for the ATO’s Tax Help scheme, a number of universities around Australia operate a Tax Clinic under the supervision of experienced tax practitioners. The scheme supported by the Tax Office but operates independently.

The Clinics assist unrepresented taxpayers negotiate and manage tax issues and filings.

A list of clinics is published here.

MyTax Online Application

MyTax is a fully online pre-filled tax returns with no software to download is available to taxpayers for free who wish to self-prepare and lodge their tax return. The lodgement program is cloud based, and so can be accessed from any device.

Access to MyTax requires registration at myGov. See access details here.

Further information:

This page was last modified 2022-07-21