ONLY SEVEN DAYS TO LODGE YOUR OWN TAX RETURN

atoThere are only seven days left to lodge your own tax return this year and the ATO is reminding people to get their returns in by 31 October.

“Don’t wait until your horse passes the post at the Melbourne Cup because you’ll be too late,” said Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte. “Another reason not to horse around is that most people get a refund. My best advice is to do it now.”

Here are his four best tips for last minute lodgers:

1.     Use myTax

You do not need to get in a mad rush to get your return in on time. MyTax makes it quick and easy to meet the deadline and more than 50 per cent of people are completing their return less than half an hour.

“MyTax is the ATO’s online lodgement tool. It is automatically prefilled with information we received from third parties, such as your employer, bank and other government agencies, so all you need to do is add in your deductions, check the information and hit submit,” Mr Whyte said.

If you have been using the ATO app’s myDeductions tool you can speed up the time it takes you to complete your return even more by using the tool’s prefill function.

2.     Talk to your tax agent

Make sure if you use an agent contact your registered tax agent before the 31 October deadline.

“Generally, people using a tax agent have a bit longer to lodge, but you need to contact them by 31 October, especially if you are using one for the first time or a different tax agent to last year,” Mr Whyte said.

Make sure your agent is registered by checking the Tax Practitioners Board website at tpb.gov.au

3.     Don’t put off lodging to avoid a debt

The majority of people that lodge late have a debt, but there is no reason to put it off. If you have a tax bill, it will be due on 21 November no matter when you lodge.

“By lodging on time, you’ll know exactly how much you owe. If you think you will have problems meeting the due date, contact us as early as possible and we can work with you to set up an affordable payment plan.”

4.     Don’t worry

“Most people lodge on time, but we understand that sometimes people experience issues that prevent them from meeting their tax obligations.”

You should make every effort to lodge by the due date, but if for some reason you can’t, make sure you lodge as soon as possible. If you make a reasonable or genuine attempt to get it right, you won’t receive a penalty.

Find out more at http://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Lodging-your-tax-return

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