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It’s time to file tax returns, ATO says

The ATO says pre-fill information is now ready for most taxpayers.

The ATO says pre-fill information is now ready for most taxpayers. Photo: Getty

Australians have been given the “green light” to lodge their tax returns, with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) saying now is the time to get your refund sorted as the deadline looms.

ATO assistant commissioner Tim Loh said most taxpayers with “simple affairs” can now lodge their returns with the benefit of pre-fill information that should make the process even easier.

‘Most of the information we collect from employers, banks, private health insurers, share registries, and other institutions is now ready to go,” Mr Loh said in a statement.

“So, if your financial affairs are fairly straightforward, you’ve got a ‘green light’ to lodge – but remember you still need to check your details are accurate before you hit submit.”

Pre-fill information should be automatically available in your return form on the ATO’s MyGov portal, though additional income from rental properties or side hustles must be manually added.

“Just because you’ve got a green light that doesn’t mean you should rush. Take your time and make sure to check that all your information is included,” Mr Loh said.

Tax returns are usually processed within two weeks, but you’ll get an estimated return when you lodge online.

Keep in mind that tax refunds are expected to be smaller this year with the end of the COVID-19 stimulus and changes to work-from-home expenses are claimed.

The shortcut method has gone and has been replaced by a revised fixed-rate method that will require equipment depreciation claims to be made separately.

You can read up on an explanation about the changes to remote work claims here.

Mr Loh said the ATO wanted to remind taxpayers that their returns might be lower this year or even require additional payments.

“In simple terms, if you don’t receive a refund, it just means that you’ve paid the correct amount of tax throughout the year. If you receive a bill, it may mean you didn’t pay enough tax – this can be for a number of reasons,” he said.

Australians who do receive a tax bill this year will need to pay it by November 21, though this date may be later if you’re using a registered tax agent.

‘If you’ve received a bill and you can pay, you need to do so by the due date to avoid interest accruing,” Mr Loh said.

Australians who do end up with a tax bill for the 2022-23 financial year but are unable to afford it can apply for hardship support with the ATO.

That could either be a payment deferral or being put on a payment plan.

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