With enhancements in technology and smarter data, the ATO are able to take a much broader approach to auditing than in previous years. If your tax return differs from what is considered “normal” in your industry and occupation, they are more capable of identifying the discrepancies and starting an investigation.

So, if you think you can get away with adding a few extra deductions or leaving off your side gig, you may want to think again.

What happens if you make a mistake on your tax return

If you realised you made a mistake or left something out on your individual tax return, you can request an amendment to your income tax assessment from the ATO.

Some reasons you may need to fix a mistake include, you:

  • Made a mistake when entering a figure
  • Forgot to report some income, a gain, or a deduction
  • Incorrectly claimed deductions or credits or failed to claim them
  • Had a change of circumstances relating to something you reported after you lodged your tax return.

Whatever the reason, you should correct any error asap. In some cases, there are legal time limits to correcting mistakes. You may incur interest and penalties if the amendment increases the money you owe to the ATO. 1

How to amend a tax return

If you need to lodge an amendment, wait until you receive notification that your original tax return has been processed. This will help reduce future processing delays.

You can use the ATO’s amendment process to correct a mistake or omission in your tax return.

There are a few ways you can lodge an amendment to your tax return, and they are:

  • Online through ATO online
  • Completing a paper amendment form
  • Through a registered tax agent
  • By sending a letter.

There are time limits for lodging an amendment to a late tax return. You’ll need to lodge an objection if you want to:

  • Dispute the law
  • Dispute the facts the ATO used to come to a decision about your tax affairs (including your income tax assessment)
  • Lodge an amendment outside of the time limits.

If your amendment reduces the tax you owe, you’ll receive a tax refund (unless you have other tax debts). If it increases the tax you owe, the ATO treat the amendment as a voluntary disclosure. Your voluntary disclosure needs to be in an approved form. For an amendment to your tax return the approved form is either:

  • An online amendment in ATO online services through myGov
  • The paper form ‘Request for amendment of income tax return for individuals
  • A letter. 2

Use a registered tax agent to ensure your tax return is amended properly

If amending your individual tax return is something you’re nervous about or you simply don’t have the time, then you’re not alone. Our tax agents are here to help you and ensure there are no more issues with your tax return. Avoid the ATO’s fire line and get in touch with our team today.

1 Fix a mistake or amend a return, Australian Taxation Office
2 Correct (amend) your tax return, Australian Taxation Office