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So, the deadline for lodging your tax return has been and gone. Hopefully, you got your return safely lodged by 31 October – the deadline – and can stop stressing about tax for another year.
But what if you missed the deadline?
There are really two scenarios to consider:
If you use a tax agent (like H&R Block) to prepare and lodge your tax return, the chances are you simply don’t need to worry about the 31 October deadline because it probably doesn’t apply to you.
Provided all your prior year tax returns are up to date, you’re probably included in special arrangements that tax agents, like H&R Block, have with the ATO. This allows tax agents to lodge tax returns well after the 31 October deadline. In fact, if you use a tax agent, you may have up until 15 May next year to lodge your return (there are different dates for different clients so it pays to check with your tax agent when your particular deadline falls due).
Remember, to qualify for the extended deadline for tax agent clients, you must have been registered as a client with that agent by 31 October. If you weren’t registered, you can’t access the extended deadlines. You can still lodge through an agent (in fact, it makes sense to do so) but you’ll fall into the next category; the late lodgers!
In that case, you should have lodged your tax return by 31 October and you’re now late. In theory that means you may be liable to a late lodgement penalty. This amounts to $180 for the first 28 days after the lodgement date and increases by a further $180 after each subsequent 28 day period, up to a maximum of $900. Go beyond that and even more unpleasant consequences – including prosecution in extreme circumstances – can apply.
So, it pays to lodge as quickly as possible to minimise the penalties!
Often, if you have a good compliance history with the ATO, it’s possible to get a late lodgement penalty remitted provided you have a good reason for lodging late. The sooner after the deadline you lodge, the easier it is to argue that there are “extenuating circumstances”.
If you’ve missed the deadline and want to minimise (or eliminate) any potential penalties, it is worth gathering together your tax return information and heading to H&R Block. At H&R Block, our consultants will be able to prepare your return with the minimum of stress to you and advise you on your penalty situation.
Remember, don’t delay!
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