Frequently Asked Questions

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How much tax I will get back?

Please note that we will not be able to answer this question till you lodge your tax return.
The tax refund depends on many factors including your residency status, income and tax you have paid. We also need to consider the work related expenses you have incurred.

When can I lodge my Tax Return?

You have until the 31st October each year to complete and lodge your Income Tax Return. Any return that is lodged after the 31st October may incur a fine of $110 per month thereafter, up to a maximum penalty of $550. To ensure you will not be penalised for lodging a late return, please prepare your return before the due date for lodgement.

What is a PAYG Payment Summary?

You will need to have all copies of PAYG (Pay-As-You-Go) Payment Summaries for the financial year in your possession. The PAYG Payment Summary (formerly the Group Certificate; similar to the P45 / P60 from the UK) is a statement that details both the Gross Earnings and PAYG Tax that was paid for the financial year.

When will I receive the PAYG Payment Summary from my employer?

You should be issued the PAYG Payment Summary at the end of the financial year generally by the 14th July. If, however, you are leaving prior to the end of a financial year, you may request a statement of earnings or similar statement from your employer upon termination, where it should usually be sent to you within 14 days.

Can you complete my tax return if I am missing a PAYG Payment Summary (group certificate)?

Your return can be completed using the details from a copy of the PAYG Payment Summary (your employer can provide this), a letter from your employer detailing the information on the PAYG Payment Summary or by reviewing your pay slips for that period. If you are unable to obtain the payment summary details from an employer a Statutory Declaration would need to be completed.

I received an additional PAYG Payment Summary (group certificate) after I completed last year's tax return. Can I put it in this year's return?

No. A PAYG Payment Summary from a past year cannot be included with the current year tax return. It can only be included in the return for the year to which it relates. You will need to submit an amendment to last year's tax return.

I am three years behind in lodging my tax returns. Will I get into trouble?

You should lodge your outstanding tax returns as soon as possible and before the Australian Taxation Office takes any action to have you lodge these tax returns. Once they have begun any action, it could result in a court conviction. The ATO may charge a penalty of $110 for every 28 days that the return is outstanding. The maximum penalty is $550 even if you are due a refund. In addition, the ATO will charge interest. This is called the General Interest Charge and is levied on any outstanding monies. The rate for the July to September, 2009 quarter is 10.13%.

I have started a second job. Is there anything that I need to do so that I don't end up with a tax bill at the end of the year?

You cannot claim the tax free threshold of $6,000 from more than one employer at a time. It is better to claim it from your main employer. You will pay a little higher rate of tax on the second job but this should ensure that you have paid enough tax on all of your wages for the year.

My wife stays home to care for our children. During the year she worked for one week and has received a Payment Summary showing that she earned $480 and a small amount of tax was taken out. She has no other income and doesn't think she needs to lodge a return because her income is less than the tax free threshold. Is she correct?

Your wife does need to lodge a return even though her income is below the tax free threshold. Any earnings that have had tax withheld, no matter how small, are required to be reported on a tax return. This is the only way to get a refund of the tax paid.

Do I need to bring my partner with me to complete my tax return?

It isn't necessary but it is helpful as they can assist with family details. There are a number of questions concerning dependants, dates of birth and medical details.

I am approaching my 55th birthday and have heard that I may not have to pay as much tax?

If you are still working, you may be eligible for a Mature Age Workers Offset for the tax year in which you turn 55 and any future years that you are working.

The maximum available offset is $500. You will be entitled to the maximum if your net income from working is between $10,000 and $53,000 but may still get a reduced amount if your income from working does not exceed $63,000.If your only income is from investments then you will not be entitled to this offset.

I am covered by private health insurance and will be turning 65 this year. Will my premium be reduced?

Taxpayers who take out private health insurance are entitled to claim 30% of the premium as a tax offset. This can be taken as a reduced premium, a cash refund from Medicare or claimed through the tax return at the end of the income year.

From 1 April 2005 premiums for health insurance policies covering people over 64 years of age have attracted a higher tax offset. If the eldest person covered by the policy is aged 65 or above the offset increases to 35%. Where the eldest person covered by the policy is 70 years or over the offset increases to 40%. Further advice can be sought from the Health Fund or your registered tax agent.

From i July 2010, it is proposed to income test this offset for people whose income exceeds $75,000 for singles or $150,000 for couples. The available offsets will be reduced for those in these upper income ranges using a three tier system.