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Do I need to lodge a tax return?

Australian tax collections are used to provide critical services and infrastructure, including our health system, education, roads and railways, defence and more.

It’s also an important annual financial milestone for most individuals and businesses. And while the process tends to have a reputation for being tedious, for most people there is a silver lining in getting that little bit of extra cash at the end.

If you earned any income in Australia this financial year - between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020 - it’s likely you need to lodge a tax return. In fact, most Australians will lodge a return each year.

But how do you know you’re supposed to lodge? If any of the below scenarios apply to you, this is a good indication the ATO will be expecting a tax return from you this year.

1. You’re an Australian resident earning an income

During 2019–20, you were an Australian resident and you either had tax withheld from payments made to you, or paid tax under the pay as you go (PAYG) withholding system.

As an Australian resident, once your taxable income is over $18,200 you’ll need to lodge a return. However this threshold is $416 if you were under 18 years old at 30 June 2020 and your income was not salary or wages.

2. You are eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset

If you’re an Australian senior and your rebate income was more than:

  • $32,279 for singles or widowers
  • $31,279 for those with a spouse living separately (due to illness or aged care)
  • $28,974 for couples living together.

3. You received any government allowances or payments

This includes Jobseeker payments, Newstart or Youth allowance, parenting payments, Austudy payments, disaster recovery allowance and more. For a full list of government payments and allowances that fit into this category talk to one of our tax professionals.

4. You are a foreign resident earning money in Australia

Foreign residents who earn $1 or more in Australia during the tax year are required to lodge a tax return. However this excludes any income where non-resident withholding tax has been withheld.

5. You are leaving Australia permanently or for more than one tax year

If you are an Australian citizen living overseas for more than a year, you will still need to lodge a return and declare all foreign income generated from employment. This is required even if tax has been taken out by the country where you earned it.

If none of these apply to you...

If you believe you do not have to lodge a tax return this financial year, it’s important you complete and send a Non-lodgment advice 2020 to the ATO. One of our professionals can do this on your behalf.

For advice or support to lodge your tax return, or if you’re ready to jump in and get started, arrange an appointment with us today. Your friendly ITP professional can walk you through all the steps to get your return completed as soon as possible.