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May 18 2011

Tax Returns

Tax Returns in Australia

You need to Lodge a tax Return every Year

If you prepare and lodge your own tax return, the lodgment deadline is 31st October, ie: FOUR months after the tax year ends on June 30th.

If you lodge through a registered tax agent, they have their own lodgment deadlines.

However, if you are using a tax agent for the first time, or you are going to use a different tax agent this year, you must contact them by 31 October.

The standard processing time for Tax returns is:

  • Two weeks if you lodged online using e-tax.
  • Six weeks if you post a paper return to the Tax Office.

The above also applies when using a Tax Agent, most of whom do also use electronic lodgement processes.

Use e-tax to do your tax return online.

It’s free, fast and personalised and you can download your individual information into your tax return.

e-tax from the Tax Office is the free tax return preparation software that ensures most refunds are issued in 14 days.

e-tax helps you prepare your income tax return and baby bonus claim, and then lodge online.

It also lets you download your Medicare benefit tax statement details.

To complete your tax return (including baby bonus claim) and lodge online, you will need to download the E-Tax program from:

The alternatives are either doing your tax return using the paper Tax Pack, available free at most newsagents, or using a Tax Agent.

The fee for using a Tax Agent can be about $75 for a standard wage earner with very little than standard income.

Do check first though, as some Accountants charge $200-$300 for a standard return.

Many “Tax Agents” only do tax returns, and are not Accountants as such, although they may work via an Accountant.

All Tax Agents must be registered, and a list can be obtained from the

Two common nationwide Tax Agent companies are H&R Block and ITP.

Tax Return

Every taxpayer must complete an Annual Tax Return, and this calculates any differences in tax over or under paid.

Most people need to submit their Tax return by the last day of October each year, but there are extensions for those who lodge via a Tax Agent.

Some Non-Tax payers should also complete an annual Tax Return, as they may be entitled to a rebate, even without paying anything.

Most Australians end up paying more tax, during the year, than they should, due to various allowances being only claimable at the end of the year, such as Sun Screen protection for outside workers, overtime meal allowance, and various other allowances, and they end up receiving a Tax Rebate shortly after submitting the Annual Tax Return. (This is often within 14 days).

There is also the Education Tax Refund available to many families with children in school, which can refund up to $375 for each primary school child and $750 for each secondary school child, per year.

The Net medical expenses tax offset is also available for those who have spent over $1,500 in the tax year on eligible Medical Expenses. You can claim 20% of the excess as a full Tax Rebate.

Average Tax Refunds in Australia

In 2006-07, 80% of Australia Tax payers received a refund of tax at the end of the year. The average refund was $1,998. The number of tax refunds given was 9.9 million, out of the 11.8 million taxpayers.

The expected average refund for 2008-09 has recently been quoted as $2,351, although about half of all taxpayers expect to get back under $1,000.

More than half of all Australians use a Tax Agent to prepare their tax returns.

What Can you claim as a tax deductible expense?

There are Tax Deductions and Tax Offsets, that can be claimed in your Australian tax return.

A Tax Deduction is normally an expense that you offset against income, which reduces your taxable income, and therefore your total tax paid. Examples of these are:

  • Outdoor workers can claim Sunprotection costs.
  • Overtime workers can claim a meal allowance.
  • Travel between two places of work can be claimed, but not home to work.

Tax Offsets are generally lump sums that will be paid to you for various costs incurred, or as grants made by the Australian Tax Office. Some examples of these are

  • Education Tax Refund Link
  • Medical Tax Offset Link
  • Low Income Tax Offset Link
Links

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