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ATO warning: Two days left to avoid $222 fine

·2-min read
ATO building
This is your last chance to file your tax return through a tax agent. (Source: Getty)

The date to lodge last year's tax return is fast approaching, with May 15 the final deadline before the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) starts hitting you with penalties.

This deadline is only for people who are lodging their tax return with a registered agent.

Qualified tax professionals are allowed to lodge on your behalf after October 31 - the deadline each year if you lodge it yourself.

However, to qualify for this extension, you usually have to be registered with a tax agent by October 31.

Plus, different rules apply if you lodge through a tax agent and you had tax payable of $20,000 or more in the previous financial year.

If this is you, the deadline moves forward slightly to March 31 the following year.

The due date shouldn’t be a surprise for most people, unless you have been ignoring phone calls and emails from the tax office.

But, in the event you have missed these reminders, it’s important to get in touch with a tax agent immediately to lodge your return.

Mark Chapman from H&R Block said if you did not lodge by the lodgement dates, you would start incurring $222 penalties every 28 days until it is lodged.

“And that can escalate up to five times that amount,” Chapman said.

Beyond that, the ATO may start threatening to prosecute.

What if I have a good excuse?

Not all is lost if you have failed to lodge your tax return on time.

According to Finder research, if you have a stellar history of lodging on time and paying back your debts, a good excuse and rapid action to lodge your return may mean you don’t need to pay the late-lodgement penalty.

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