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ATO extends ‘helping hand’ to Aussies making under $60k

·2-min read
The ATO is offering free tax help for Aussies who earn under $60,000 with simple tax affairs. (Source: Getty)
The ATO is offering free tax help for Aussies who earn under $60,000 with simple tax affairs. (Source: Getty)

The Australian Taxation Office wants you to know that they’re “here to help” if you’re struggling to lodge your tax returns.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh said the ATO’s Tax Help program is available for Australians who need guidance in lodging their tax returns online.

“We know that for some, tax can seem overwhelming. The ATO is here to help, giving you the support you need to get it right this tax time,” Loh said.

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The Tax Help program is run by about 750 ATO-trained volunteers and helps around 30,000 people who don’t have complicated tax affairs.

Between July and October each year, Australians can receive assistance preparing and lodging their tax return via myTax, as well as creating a myGov account, lodging amendments, claiming franking credit refunds, and advising the ATO if they don’t need to lodge a tax return at all.

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“We’ve taken steps to continue this vital program, while adapting to the COVID-19 environment,” said Loh.

“In addition to attending a physical tax help centre, volunteers can now help you online or over the phone from the comfort of your own home.”

However, you have to be earning $60,000 or less to be eligible to get help from the program.

You also can’t be working as a contractor, running a business (even as a sole trader), or own a rental property, according to the Tax Help eligibility criteria.

If you’re not eligible for this, the government also funds the National Tax Clinic program, which is more suited to individuals, small businesses, not-for-profit organisations, and charities who can’t afford professional tax advice.

These Tax Clinics are operated by Australian universities that have been funded to run the program. You can find the nearest Tax Clinic in your state or territory here.

How to get assistance from ATO’s Tax Help

To get Tax Help assistance, call the ATO on 13 28 61, select option 3, and then option 2.

Make sure you also have all your essential details prepared.

This includes your myGov user ID (usually your email address and password; your mobile phone; your bank account details; tax file number (TFN); income statements; relevant receipts; and other details.

More information about the Tax Help program can be found on the ATO’s website.

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