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Tax 2023: All the dates you need to know to avoid $1,375 fine

Failure to lodge your tax return on time could result in a $1,375 fine.

A person filling out a tax return form and the ATO logo.
Remember to mark down these important dates for filing your tax return. (Source: Getty / ATO)

It’s that time of the year again when Aussies collect their pay slips, receipts and calculators to determine whether they will be getting a tax return, or if they owe extra money to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

While tax time may feel like a bit of a drag, the average Aussie will get around $2,900 back, making the task a little easier to get through.

Failing to lodge your tax return on time could see you cop a $1,375 fine so, it’s important not to miss the cut-off date.

When to file your tax return

Technically, the new financial year begins on July 1, but this year, that lands on a Saturday, so you could file your return on Monday, July 3.


However, the ATO has warned Aussies against filing their tax return too early.

Lodging on the first business day of the new financial year could actually slow down your tax refund while the ATO waits for your employer to provide everything they are required to.

Your employer has until July 31 to provide the ATO with your year-to-date salary, super contributions and PAYG details.

When you log into your MyGov account, your statement will be marked as “tax ready” once this information has been received.

The same goes for information from government agencies like Centrelink, health funds and banks: they have until July 31 to update the ATO.

So, the best option is to wait until your statement is “tax ready”, or until July 31 if you don’t want to be checking your account every day.

When you will get your tax return

It can take anywhere between a few days to 10 weeks for your tax return to hit your bank account.

If you file your return online, it can take up to two weeks, but filing a paper return can take up to 10 weeks.

If you have made a mistake or set off a red flag with the ATO, you’ll be looking at a longer wait while your documents are manually checked.

You can check the progress of your tax return either online, by phone or with your tax agent.

Once your return has been processed by the ATO, you’ll get a notice of assessment letting you know if you need to pay extra tax or are entitled to a refund.

Deadline for filing your return

The deadline to file your return actually differs depending on whether you are lodging yourself or using a professional tax agent.

If you are lodging yourself, you have until October 31 to lodge your return.

If you are using a tax agent, you will need to register with one before October 31 and they will have until May 15, 2024 to lodge your return.

Penalty for missing the tax deadline

If you have missed the tax deadline you can be hit with fines, which increase every 28 days it is late.

For the first 28 days the return is late, the fine is $275, but if you’re really late, that can increase to $1,375.

However, if you’re owed money by the ATO or generally have a good tax history, you can often get the fine withdrawn.

The same goes for if you were unable to lodge due to a natural disaster or an illness.

Deadline to pay ATO if you owe money

If you owe money to the ATO, you need to pay by November 21, regardless of whether you filed on time.

After that date, the ATO will start charging interest on the due amount.

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