Missing the tax lodgement deadline isn’t the end of the world, but you do need to take care of it as soon as possible to avoid facing hefty fines from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Here, we explain what happens if you haven’t lodged a tax return for the previous year, and why a registered tax agent is the smartest choice to fix the problem.
What happens if I haven’t lodged tax returns for previous years?
From the moment we first start earning an income, it’s drilled into us that we need to hit the ATO tax return deadline every single year or risk the taxman knocking down our door. Reality isn’t so far-fetched, but that doesn’t mean you can forgo your tax obligations – especially if you’re running a business.
We understand that sometimes life and work get in the way and it’s hard to lodge your tax return on time. The ATO understands that as well. That’s why they recommend you get up to date with your tax returns as soon as possible to avoid a fine – even if it’s been a while since you lodged your last tax return.
Do I really need to lodge all my tax returns?
The ATO needs to understand your tax situation every year you are either working for an employer, working for yourself or running a business with employees. In most cases, that will mean lodging your previous years’ tax returns.
The good news is that it’s easy to find out whether you need to lodge your return for a certain year. For financial years 2018–19 and 2019–20 you can use the ‘Do I need to lodge a tax return’ tool through your myGov account. For financial years starting from 2013–14 you can access the tool without a myGov account – find out how to do that here.
If you haven’t lodged tax returns for earlier income years, it’s advised you contact the ATO immediately and explain your situation. With any luck, you won’t incur any financial penalties.
Lodging with a registered tax agent
It doesn’t matter if you’ve missed this year’s lodgement date by a day or it’s been several years since you last submitted a tax return – the key is to take care of it right now. You can save yourself a world of headaches by doing as the ATO recommends and lodging with a registered tax agent.
A qualified tax professional will understand all the due dates for lodging tax returns, as well as the rules around submitting tax returns from previous years. They may also help you avoid paying a penalty since they are familiar with tax laws and are in constant contact with the ATO.
Find your small business taxation Burnie specialist
Need to lodge your previous year’s tax return but not sure where to begin? Make your life easier – and never again have to worry about an audit from the ATO – by finding a small business taxation Burnie specialist to manage all your previous and future tax lodgements.
Gillet & Associates are small business taxation specialists committed to helping you maximise your tax efficiency. We do it all – tax, payroll, BAS, bookkeeping and more – so you can stay focused on running your business.
For expert tax advice, contact Gillet & Associates today or call us on (03) 6431 8151.