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Tax 2021: All the dates you need to know to avoid $1,110 fine

Woman on computer. Calendar blocks reading 1 July.
Here are all the major dates. (Images: Getty).

It’s time to dig out your old receipts, call your accountant and fire up the calculator: tax season is here.

According to tax calculator Tax Back, the average Australian will receive $2,600 back on tax.

These are the dates you need to have in your calendar to ensure you don’t miss out.

When can I file my tax return?

The official end of the 2021 financial year falls on Wednesday 30 June 2021. That means that you can begin lodging your tax return from Thursday 1 July 2021.

However, that doesn’t mean you should head to myGov first thing next Thursday morning.

When should I file my tax return?

The ATO puts out the same warning every year: don’t get ahead of yourself, Australia.

Filing your tax return immediately could actually slow down your tax refund.

That’s because your employer has until 31 July to provide the ATO with your year-to-date salary wages, super contributions and PAYG withholding tax.

Your income statement will be marked as “tax ready” once this is done.

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

That means that it could be a good idea to wait until 31 July to lodge, or check through myGov if your income statement is ready.

If you do decide to lodge before this, it just means it could take longer for the ATO to process your claim.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re too hasty to lodge, you’re more likely to have made some errors on your return. These will also jam the processing time, so be careful.

How long will it take me to get my tax refund?

The ATO generally needs two weeks to process electronically lodged tax returns. If you’re filing a paper tax return, you’re looking at a 10 week wait.

Then, if there are items in your return that raise the tax man’s eyebrows, you’re going to need to wait a bit longer while the ATO manually checks.

If you’re lodging several tax returns, or made an amendment to your original claim, that could slow down the progress, as can incorrect personal and financial details.

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

Once the ATO has processed your return, you’ll get a notice of assessment telling you whether you need to pay tax or are entitled to a refund.

When is the deadline for filing my tax return?

If you’re not using professional assistance to lodge your tax return, you normally need to get it in by 31 October.

However, as that falls on a Sunday this year, you will have until Monday 1 November to get it in.

When do I need to get on a tax agent or accountant’s books?

If you decide to get a professional to help you file your returns, you need to be on their books before 31 October.

When is the deadline for filing my tax return with a tax agent or accountant?

If you’re doing your tax with a registered tax agent, you generally have up until 15 May 2022 to get the job done.

However, as H&R Block notes, there are different due dates for different clients so it’s worth double checking .

What happens if I file my tax return late?


If you’ve missed the tax deadline, you’ll be hit with fines increasing for every 28 days it is late.

For the first 28 days that you’re late, the fine is $222, but if you’re really late that can increase to $1,110.

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.

When do I need to pay my tax bill, if I owe money?

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

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

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