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ATO warns against lodging tax returns too early

ATO warns against lodging tax returns too early. Source: Getty

With 30 June less than a week away, many Australians will be in the preparation stages of claiming deductions for the financial year. 

But the Australian Taxation Office has made one thing clear: don’t lodge your tax return too early.

The ATO sounded the alarm on early lodgement last week, stating if you don’t have all the information about your income, it’s not time to lodge your tax return.

Why?

With the introduction of single touch payroll, income statements have replaced payment summaries, which means all the information is lodged digitally and automatically provided directly to the ATO.

You can view this income statement through myGov, and all the information in your income statement is automatically included in your myTax by the ATO. If you use a tax agent, the agent will also be able to access the information.

But here’s the kicker: income statements show year-to-date salary and wages, PAYG withholding tax and any employer super contributions, but employers have until July 31 to finalise this information.

When this is done, the income statement will be marked as ‘tax ready’.

“We often see people too eager to get a tax refund making obvious mistakes, which can either delay processing the tax return or result in a bill later on,” ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat said.

“It’s important to check that your employer has finalised the information in your income statement and it is marked as ‘tax ready’ before you lodge.”

And it’s not just employers - information from banks, health funds and government agencies will also be automatically inserted into your tax return and, for most people, this will happen by the end of July.

“Lodging once we have included all of your information in your tax return makes it even easier, but if you are lodging before then, make sure the information provided is complete, accurate, and up to date to avoid delays or a debt later on,” Foat said.

When’s the best time to lodge?

You can lodge your return when your income statement is marked as ‘tax ready’.

As the ATO stated employers have until 31 July to ensure all your information is updated, it’s best to wait until this date passes. 

However, if your income statement is marked as ‘tax ready’ before this date, then you can lodge earlier.

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