Tax Return Deadlines

First of all, you might be wondering: do I really need to lodge a tax return? If you earn over $18,200 a year, the answer is yes! If you don’t, you might still need to lodge a return – our team can help determine what you need to do.

When it comes to lodging a tax return, the deadlines vary. If you are lodging your return yourself, you’ll have until 31 October to do so.

If you’re lodging your return with a tax accountant, you need to engage their services prior to 31 October. You’ll generally be able to submit your return after this date, as accountants and tax agents usually carry their own lodgement deadlines. For example, if you have a good track record of no outstanding tax returns and are lodging your return through an agent, you may be granted an extension to March or May the following year, depending on your circumstances.

Lodging A Late Return

If you’ve missed the deadline, you might be anxious about the consequences. The good news is that it’s not too late. Some people simply become too busy, are overseas, or struggle to manage the complexity of their tax return. If you’re behind on any returns, it’s important you get yourself up to date as soon as possible to avoid a fine.

Lodging a late return can be stressful, but it’s not that difficult. The first thing to do is to contact the experts at Carbon Group. Once we have your approval, we’ll contact the ATO to confirm your lodgement status, what particular returns are outstanding, and what you might need to report. Our team will assist you to clarify your income for the particular year in question. Don’t worry if you can’t remember this, or don’t have it on hand. This information will sometimes be provided by the ATO directly, as it will have been reported by employers or other parties.

At the same time, we’ll research the deductions you may be entitled to. We’ll usually ask you for your bank statements, receipts, and proof of financial status. However late your return, we’ll lodge it quickly and reliably, and can help you address notices or letters from the ATO. Our team can communicate with the ATO on your behalf to negotiate an extension and to ensure your return is lodged within ATO guidelines – thus preventing a hefty penalty.

If you need to lodge a late return, simply contact us to book an appointment or visit us in person. Our friendly, professional team will help you straighten out your taxes without hassle. If we determine you did not need to lodge a return, our Carbon Group team can prepare a non-lodgement form for the ATO that indicates you’re on top of your taxes.


If you don’t lodge your tax return by the yearly cut-off date, the ATO might issue you with a “failure to lodge” (FTL) penalty. The good news is they’ll only do this after taking your circumstances into account. You’re more likely to face a penalty if you’ve missed several tax returns, if you have a poor track record of lodgement, or if you haven’t followed a request to lodge a return. Generally, penalties won’t apply if you are usually timely with your lodgement. The ATO will advise you by phone or in writing if you’ve failed to lodge, and will indicate any penalty amount and deadline for payment.

The fine is recalculated every 28-day period following the deadline, and carries a unit price of $222.

For entities, the fines are a bit different. The penalty rate is doubled for medium entities, which carry a GST turnover between $1 million and $20 million. For large entities with a GST turnover of $20 million or more, the penalty rate is multiplied by 5. And for significant global entities, it’s multiplied by 500.

If time has passed and you’re not really bothered about the fines, the ATO can issue you a default assessment. This is an estimation of your income based on the ATO’s data. While it means you don’t have to find that information yourself, as it’s an estimate it’s got a good chance of being incorrect and you’ll cop a higher level of tax than you really owe.

If things get extreme, the ATO could prosecute you for a failure to lodge – hello, unavoidable fines and potential imprisonment.

The good news is that the ATO doesn’t actually want things to get to this point, and they do care about your circumstances. They may even choose to waive your penalty either in full or in part, especially if you’ve been in a medical emergency, have lost important documents, or have experienced another personal issue making it difficult or impossible for you to lodge on time.

Worried About A Late Tax Return Lodgement? Contact Carbon Group

Launched in 2014, Carbon Group’s passionate about accounting, bookkeeping and financial services delivered with care, accessibility, expertise, and innovation. Our expert, enthusiastic and dedicated team have helped Carbon establish a name for itself as a progressive mover and shaker in the industry. With offices across Australia, we’re able to provide outstanding services to a range of clients, and we love helping individuals and businesses achieve the best outcomes. It’s this approach that has made us the award-winning, trustworthy accountancy firm we are today. If you’d like to speak with us about your tax return or concerns, simply give us a call on 1300 454 174 today or complete our online contact form.