What to do at tax time

Most people need to lodge a tax return or a non-lodgment advice before 31 October each year.

Decide if you need to lodge a tax return

If you’re unsure if you need to lodge a tax return, you can check using the do I need to lodge a tax return? tool on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

If you need to lodge a tax return

You must do one of the following by 31 October:

  • lodge online using myTax through myGov
  • lodge through the ATO app
  • engage a registered tax agent to lodge it for you
  • lodge a paper tax return.

You can find out more about these lodgment options on the ATO website.

Lodge online using myTax through myGov

Follow these steps to lodge your tax return online through myGov:

  1. Sign in to myGov.
  2. Select Australian Taxation Office from your linked services.
  3. Select Tax from the menu or tab, then Lodgments and then Income tax.
  4. You can now view the tax returns you need to lodge.

You’ll need to link the ATO to your myGov account, if you haven’t already.

If you don’t have a myGov account, follow the steps to create a myGov account. After you’ve created one, you can link the ATO to your account.

Help lodging your tax return

Consider lodging after your information pre-fills

The ATO pre-fills information for you in your online tax return. Pre-filled information can come from employers, government agencies, health funds and banks.

The best time to lodge your tax return is from late July, because by then:

  • your employer has usually submitted your income statement with the ATO and it will be pre-filled in your online tax return
  • other available information, such as details of bank interest, private health insurance and government payments will pre-fill to your tax return for you.

Pre-filled information can save you time and help you get your tax return right. If you don't use pre-filled information, you’ll have to find, calculate, and enter the information yourself.

Find out more about pre-fill availability on the ATO website.

Check you have reported all your income

Some income and payments may not be on an income statement, payment summary or pre-filled in your online tax return. For example, some government stimulus or disaster recovery payments and some investment income. You still need to declare this income on your tax return.

Find out what income you must declare on the ATO website.

Find out what payments don’t show on your Centrelink payment summary on the Services Australia website.

Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Subsidy and Child Support

If you lodge a tax return, your income information will be sent to Services Australia. Services Australia will use this to balance your Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Subsidy.

If you have a child support case, Services Australia will also use this to help work out your child support assessment.

Help and support with your tax return

You may be able to get help lodging your tax return through:

  • the ATO’s free Tax Help program
  • National Tax Clinics that help people who can’t afford professional tax advice and help, because of their circumstances
  • a registered tax agent, who will charge a fee to help with your tax return.

You can find out if you are eligible for Tax Help and National Tax Clinics on the ATO website.

You can find a registered tax agent on the Tax Practitioners Board website.

If you miss the due date or aren’t able to lodge your return by 31 October, contact the ATO.

If you don’t need to lodge a tax return

You need to submit a non-lodgment advice with the ATO.

How to submit a non-lodgment advice to the ATO

You can do this using either:

  • ATO online services through myGov
  • the ATO app
  • a paper form, that you download and submit by post.

You can find out more about how to lodge non-lodgment advice on the ATO website.

Submit online using ATO online services through myGov

Follow these steps to submit a non-lodgment advice online through myGov:

  1. Sign in to myGov.
  2. Select Australian Taxation Office from your linked services.
  3. Select Don't need to lodge a return if it's available. Or select Tax from the menu or tab, then Lodgments, and then Non-lodgment advice.

You’ll need to link ATO to your myGov account, if you haven’t already.

If you don’t have a myGov account, follow the steps to create a myGov account. After you’ve created one, you can link ATO to your account.

Advise Services Australia you don’t need to lodge a tax return

Services Australia will use your non-lodgment information to balance your Family Tax Benefit.

To balance your Child Care Subsidy, you need to advise Services Australia that you or your partner don’t need to lodge a tax return. You need to do this even if you had no income or you’ve already told the ATO.

You can do this using either:

Find out more about advising non-lodgement of a tax return for Child Care Subsidy or Family Tax Benefit on the Services Australia website.

Watch out for scams

Scams and identity threats often increase during tax time.

Be careful of emails, phone calls, texts and social media messages claiming to be from myGov, the ATO, or another government department. If in doubt, don’t respond.

There are many types of scams happening all the time. It can be hard to tell if something is a scam. Stay informed on the latest active scams and how to recognise them.  


Page last updated: 14 June 2024