Australia Markets close in 52 mins

3.5 million taxpayers receive tax boost

Bushfire victims have had their tax deadline extended. Image: Getty

The tax payment deadline for millions of Australians will be extended to 28 May 2020 as large swathes of the country grapple with the bushfire crisis. 

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) on Monday announced the 3.5 million business, individuals and self-managed superannuation funds in bushfire-impacted regions will have until that date to lodge and pay income tax returns and business activity statements. 

The deadline had been extended by two months in mid-November 2019, meaning those with a bill had their 21 November deadline extended to 21 January 2020. Now, it’s been extended until 28 May. 

“It’s important to note that we recognise everyone’s situation is different,” tax commissioner Chris Jordan said. 

“We understand there may be situations where additional support or extensions may be required beyond the automatic deferrals that we’ve announced. We’re standing by, ready to work with people who have been impacted on a case-by-case basis and I have made it clear to my staff that I expect them to be flexible, reasonable and pragmatic when considering each request on its merits.”

Jordan said he hoped the extra time would allow people more breathing space. 

“If you’ve been impacted by these bushfires, we don't want you to be concerned about your tax affairs. Now is the time for you, your family and your community. We'll help you sort out your tax affairs later.”

How do I get the ATO tax extension? 

The ATO will automatically apply the deferral to affected taxpayers. 

The ATO has also said it is fast-tracking refunds to those affected and will not be applying any interest or penalties to tax debts since the beginning of the bushfires. 

“If you’ve been affected by this disaster but your postcode is not currently in the identified list, phone our Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for tailored help,” Jordan added. 

University tax service, the UNSW Tax Clinic and tax services company H&R Block also offer free tax consultations to those affected by the catastrophic blazes.

Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter. Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, news and tech news.