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Miss the ATO tax deadline? You can still avoid a $222 fine

Australian ATO tax return forms and a man holding Aussie $50 notes
The ATO deadline to complete last years' tax return is today. (Source: Getty)

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) says you can still avoid a $222 fine if you haven’t lodged your tax return from last year.

The cut-off date to lodge your return is today (May 16), but you could have until June 5 to submit your details and avoid a fine.

The ATO told Yahoo Finance those lodging themselves could avoid a penalty if they lodged their return before June 5, as long as they met all the criteria.

“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for clients to meet their lodgment requirements on time,” the ATO spokesperson said.

“We have a range of support for clients experiencing challenges including lodgment deferrals and assistance with missing information.

“This has been especially important for clients who were impacted by recent natural disasters and need time and assistance reconstructing their records.”

The ATO encouraged anyone who had missed the tax deadline to contact them to seek assistance.

“Where clients have fallen behind and are having difficulties meeting their lodgment obligations we encourage them, or their representative, to contact us and respond to our calls,” the ATO said.

“We cannot help clients who do not engage with us.”

The ATO said if you had missed the deadline, they would contact you through SMS, letters and telephone calls.

“Our approach is to engage, explain outstanding obligations, offer support and assistance and seek to understand their circumstances,” the spokesperson said.

“Where clients do not engage, the ATO will take firmer and stronger actions. This may include failure-to-lodge penalties, which can increase over time, as well as default assessments and ultimately prosecution for failing to lodge a return as directed by the Commissioner.”

If you register with a tax agent, you will be granted even more time to complete your return.

“If more time is needed, agents can apply for an agent-assessed deferral or ATO-assessed deferral using May 15 [or next business day] as the original due date.”

Failure-to-lodge penalties range from $220 for individuals and small businesses and up to $11,000 for large businesses.

“We’ll let the client know in writing that they are receiving the penalty, its amount and the reason,” the ATO said.

“Our approach to penalties is about changing behaviours, and where a client lodges we may remit the failure-to-lodge penalties, because they have met their obligation and we encourage them to do so in the future.”

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