Aussies who forget to lodge a return facing fines of up to $1110

Australians lodging their own tax return have until the end of October to submit their details or risk a fine totalling more than $1100.

Typically the deadline for submitting your own tax return is October 31 each year.

Because this year October 31 falls on a Sunday, the effective last day to lodge a return is November 1, 2021.

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These deadlines only apply if a person is required to submit a tax return, and they choose to lodge it themselves without using a registered tax agent.

Failure to submit a tax return results in a fine of one penalty unit (or $222) for every 28-day period that the tax return is overdue. The ATO says the maximum fine is five penalty units, or $1110.

If a taxpayer chooses to use the services of a registered tax agent (such as their local accountant or a large tax firm such as H&R Block), they must "engage" the tax agent prior to October 31.

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Despite the ominous fines, the tax office says in many cases it will not apply a penalty at all if it's a one-off situation.

"We recognise that sometimes people don't meet their lodgement obligations on time, even with the best intentions. Generally, we don't apply penalties in isolated cases of late lodgement," the ATO advises.

"We'll warn you by phone or in writing if you've failed to lodge. If we apply FTL penalty, we'll send you a penalty notice stating the amount and due date of the penalty."

If a taxpayer lodges their own tax return and it results in a bill where the taxpayer owes the ATO money, they have until November 21, 2021 to pay that bill – even if they lodged late.

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"Even if you the miss the due date, it is important to lodge as soon as you can," the ATO said.

"If you expect a tax bill, don't delay lodging. The due date for payment when you lodge your own tax return is 21 November even if you lodge late. Interest will apply to any amount you owe after 21 November.

"If you're finding it hard to pay on time, you can request a payment plan."

Australians lodging a tax return for the first time who may be confused about their obligations can read more on the ATO's website here.

Generally speaking – but not definitively – if you are an Australian resident who earned more than $18,200 in the last financial year, you are required to submit a return.

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

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