It’s that time of the year again, when tax returns are required to be lodged.
Individual taxpayers have until 31 October to lodge, unless listed with a registered tax agent who can spread their tax return lodgment load over a longer period.
In addition to the eTax Software tax lodgment tool, the Tax Office this year have released their online (cloud-based) myTax service for simple tax returns, which enables lodgement to be undertaken from virtually any device.
If you are expecting a refund of tax, you may be tempted to get your return in quick. But depending on your circumstances, there could be good reason to wait a bit, particularly if you are intending to take advantage of the ability to pre-load or download income and other information from the Tax Office’s electronic records. The pre-load of tax data is made possible through the electronic lodgment options myTax and eTax, and the Tax Office has recommended waiting until August to make use of this feature.
The use of pre-loaded information relies on the Tax Office having the relevant information in the first place, with most of this information coming from third parties such as employers, banks and other financial institutions. So you need to have in mind the possible time frames for the information needed for your return to reach the Tax Office’s system.
Employers have until 14 July to provide end-of-year payment summaries (group certificates) to their employees and then a further period to 14 August to lodge their annual summary with the Tax Office. Other kinds of PAYG summaries (e.g. where ABN not quoted) are not required by the Tax office until 31 October.
Dividend summaries, interest schedules, managed funds and share disposals will normally take some time to be recorded, depending on the financial institutions involved, so that no fixed date can be assumed.
Notably medicare benefit tax statements are available as live information from medicare and therefore should be available immediately. On the other hand Medicare levy surcharge and Private health insurance policy details are not available until early August and may need to be entered manually if not received in time.
From 2013-14 the private health insurance premium rebate information is complicated because of the introduction of an additional indexation calculation mid-year (actually 1 April) – requiring two sets of calculations to determine the correct tax return information. In past years the rebate element has been fairly easy to calculate, with the annual statement acting as confirmation. But now the annual statement in either electronic or hard copy format is essential for ensuring accurate tax return information.
Whether you need to hold off lodging your tax return will depend on how complex it is, and more particularly where all the information is coming from. A good starting point to ensure you don’t miss anything is to review your last year’s tax return, and make a note of all the included items. You could also use a checklist – of which we’ve gathered a few here.
- Tax Office – Information available to pre-fill and expected availability time frames
- Payment summaries
- Health insurance tax offset
- eTax electronic tax lodgment