Why you need to file your tax return now
Five weeks remain until Australians who are doing their tax returns themselves must lodge.
But don't panic if this means you - we've asked the experts for their advice on the steps you need to take now.
Since July 1 the Australian Taxation Office has received more than 6.93 million individual lodgements and about 5.41 million refunds have been processed.
A massive $13.7 billion has been handed back or an average of $2545.
NOTE THE DEADLINE
Those who are filing their returns without using an accountant need to get sorted before the October 31 deadline, says BDO's business services partner Brendan Balasekeran.
"The first thing people should do is go to the myGov website and go through myTax to lodge," he says.
"There's lots of prefill information already generated there that will be provided."
This includes information provided by the banks, health insurers and government agencies which saves individuals tracking down the information themselves.
AVOID A FINE
H & R Block's director of tax communications Mark Chapman says if individuals are self lodging and don't do so by October 31 they face being fined.
"If you intend to use myTax that is the hard deadline," he says.
"But if you are signed up with a tax agent then you have time until May 15 next year and you have a much longer period to lodge."
Chapman says the late lodgement penalties start at $222 per month and kick in at the start of November and then 28 days another $222 penalty applies.
This goes up by the same amount to a maximum of five times or $1100.
Chapman says unless there is a valid reason not to file in time - for instance a death in the family or illness - you could be stung by the charges.
CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNTANT
Chapman says if you are using a tax agent to make sure you have contacted your accountant before October 31 and this will give you much more time to lodge.
He urges Australians to get their paperwork and relevant tax information sorted to allow enough time to sit down and lodge your return.
"If you don't have enough time get a tax agent to do it," Chapman says.
CALCULATE WORK FROM HOME COSTS
Many people will need to know how to calculate new costs such as working from home expenses which has impacted millions of Australians during COVID-19.
The new arrangement will include a claim rate of 80 cents per hour for all running expenses instead of having to individually calculate costs for expenses such as electricity and gas.
Originally published as Why you need to file your tax return now