If you are like a lot of people and are putting off finishing your tax return, consider this your guide to getting through the process before the deadline rolls around.
Last year, Mark Chapman, Director of Tax Communications at H&R Block, walked us through all the key details about tax return deadlines from dates to potential penalties, and we’re bringing it back for the latest tax season. Check out what he had to say below.
When exactly is the tax return cut-off date in 2023?
Don’t panic. You still have time, but tax return deadlines are something you need to keep in mind.
Chapman shared over email that “Tax law says that the latest date for self-lodgers to get their tax returns into the ATO is 31st October. If you lodge after that date, you run the risk of incurring a late lodgement penalty.”
If October 31 lands on a weekend, the cut-off date will be the next business day.
Pop that date into your calendars, friends.
Additionally, he shared that “for businesses, the Quarter 1 BAS due date is coming up on the 28th October“.
What happens if you miss the said tax return deadline?
Imposing deadlines is always a stressful business, but what tends to happen if you miss the cut off date to lodge your tax return is not always clear-cut. There are different possible outcomes depending on a few details. Though, yes, penalties are absolutely on the cards.
“Self-lodgers who fail to lodge a tax return by 31 October could be hit with an immediate late lodgement penalty of $222, increasing by a further $222 for each successive 28 day period that the return remains outstanding, up to a maximum of $1110,” Chapman stressed.
“If you still fail to lodge once the maximum penalty is reached, the ATO can issue you with a default assessment (in effect, an estimate of what the ATO thinks your income is) or they can prosecute you.”
He did point out here, however, that it’s worth noting that “the ATO won’t generally impose a penalty if you are due a refund of tax”.
On the business end of things, fines are very much a possibility, too. Chapman explained, “Businesses who don’t get their BAS in on time also face a failure to lodge penalty which is line with the penalty for not lodging a tax return ($222 for each period of 28 days (or part thereof) that the return or statement is overdue, up to a maximum of $1110)”.
How to get your tax return out the door
Okay, so you want to lodge your tax return as painlessly as possible. What’s the best way to do that?
On this, Chapman explained that it’s probably worth enlisting the advice of a tax agent if you find you’re overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in personally filing your return. A professional can not only offer sound tax advice and help iron out the process, but it takes the pressure of a time limit off you.
“Taxpayers who use a tax agent can usually lodge well beyond that deadline without penalty. The ATO gives tax agents concessional extended deadlines which mean that they can lodge returns on behalf of clients up to 15 May without incurring any penalty,” Champman explained.
If you’re not sure if an accountant is the best move for you, he shared that, generally speaking, “If you are entitled (or believe you are entitled) to claim deductions, either for your business or as part of your job, it makes sense to get an expert to prepare your return in order to ensure that you claim all the deductions you are entitled to”.
In addition to that, if you just feel as though you have no hope of making the October deadline, using a tax agent is probably something worth considering, too. Be aware, however, that “You must be registered with the agent by 31 October in order to benefit from the extended deadline”.
Similarly, with business owners, he stressed that his “advice is don’t bury your head in the sand in the run-up to the BAS deadline. Keep your books and records up to date and the BAS process will be straightforward and you’ll have the necessary oversight of the financial side of your business”.
“Don’t neglect your bookkeeping.”
More tax advice for 2023
Once you’ve lodged your return, here’s how much you can expect to get back this year.
If you’d like more advice beyond how to avoid penalties from missing the tax return deadline, we have plenty more articles that’ll hopefully answer every question you might have.
You can read more about tax time and the due dates associated with that on the ATO website here.
Lead Image Credit: ATO/iStock
This article has been updated since its original publish date.
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