Late or overdue tax returns: What you need to know

Posted on April 17, 2023

We understand that sometimes life can get in the way, and you may forget to lodge your tax return on time. This happens for all kinds of reasons, including illness, being too busy, a stint overseas, personal circumstances, or maybe it was just too complicated.

If you have overdue or late tax returns, the ATO will let you know about it. The ATO can apply a range of penalties if you don't take action on your late or overdue tax return lodgements.

It’s never too late to get your taxes up to date and the expert team at JSA Accounting can help you with your overdue or late tax returns. Even if they are several years overdue.

What is a late or overdue tax return?

Tax returns for individuals are considered late or overdue if they are not lodged by 31 October each financial year for individuals who lodge their own returns (not using a tax agent). Failure to lodge your tax return on time can result in penalties and interest charges.

Will I get fined for having late or overdue tax returns?

The ATO may issue a Failure to Lodge (FTL) penalty if you miss the due date for lodging your tax return. The penalty is calculated as one penalty unit for each 28-day period the return is overdue, up to a maximum of five penalty units. The value of each penalty unit is currently $275, so the maximum penalty for an individual's late or overdue tax return is $1375.

However, as registered tax accountants, we can make a case on your behalf to have penalties waived or reduced.

Can JSA help me if I can't find my records from that year?

Absolutely. We know it can be a nightmare to find records from past years. However, as long as you have your tax file number, we can obtain most of the relevant information for the years 2009 and onwards quickly and easily. For records before 2009, it may take a little longer, but we can still obtain the information needed to prepare your return(s).

What are the benefits of using an accountant to lodge overdue tax returns?

Using an accountant to lodge late or overdue tax returns can provide a range of benefits. As tax experts, you can rely on us to ensure your return is completed correctly, and we'll save you money wherever we can. Whether that be by having penalties and interest charges waived or minimised or by maximising your deductions and entitlements.

Can I claim work-related expenses on an overdue tax return?

Yes, you can still claim work-related expenses on an overdue tax return. We will work with you to identify all eligible deductions to reduce your outstanding tax bill. The more expenses that can be claimed, the lower your tax liability will be.

Is late lodgement of a tax return the same as tax evasion?

No, late lodgement of a tax return is not the same as tax evasion. Tax evasion involves intentionally and illegally avoiding paying the correct amount of tax owed. In contrast, late lodgement or non-lodgement of a tax return is simply a failure to meet the due date. While the non-lodgement of a tax return can attract penalties, they are not as severe as the consequences of intentional tax evasion.

What should I do if I haven't lodged my tax return?

Firstly, be proactive. The ATO is less likely to enforce penalties if you show that you are taking steps to keep your tax affairs up to date. As Tax Experts, we make the catching up process simple, and we will deal with the tax office on your behalf. If there is a possibility that the ATO will apply penalties to your overdue tax returns, we will make a case on your behalf to the ATO.

For your peace of mind, make your first step a phone call to us.

JSA can help you lodge late and overdue tax returns.

At JSA, we understand that things do get in the way and non-lodgements can happen. Our team of registered tax accountants can help you to prepare and lodge your tax return confidentially and without judgement.

We can seek to have penalties and interest charges waived or minimised, identify any eligible entitlements and deductions, and ensure that your late tax returns are lodged correctly. We’ll have your tax affairs in order without unnecessary stress.

Contact us today to see how we can help with your late or overdue tax returns.

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