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How to extend your tax return deadline

Anastasia Santoreneos
·2-min read
Tax Time
Tax Time

Australians are reminded that they have until 31 October to lodge their tax return, or they could face a hefty penalty.

Lodging your tax return late consistently could actually be considered a crime, with the Australian Taxation Office prosecuting repeat offenders. Some even land themselves 12 months’ jail.

Even first time late-lodgers can cop fines of up to $1,110, depending on how many days the tax return is overdue.

But if you want to avoid the ATO’s bad books, there is something you can do: get a registered tax agent to lodge your return for you.

“Most registered tax agents have a special lodgement program and can lodge returns for their clients after the usual 31 October deadline,” the ATO states.

How long is the tax return extension?

If the tax liability is less than $20,000, you’ll be granted an extension to 15 May, according to H&R Block.

You will need to engage a registered tax agent prior to 31 October in order to qualify for the extension.

However, you should note that you may not be eligible for an extended tax return due date if you have outstanding tax returns that are yet to be lodged from previous years.

Should I engage a tax agent?

Getting a tax return extension is just one benefit of a tax agent.

In fact, using a tax agent can often lead to bigger tax returns, and it’s a lot less stressful.

“Seventy per cent of all Australians find it far less stressful to leave it to an agent like H&R Block to complete their return,” H&R Block’s director of tax communications, Mark Chapman, said.

“This ensures the return will be accurate and complete, whilst an experienced agent will usually be good at sniffing out obscure tax deductions you didn’t know you could claim.”

What’s more, the tax agent’s fee is deductible.

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