The return form is available online from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Individual tax returns can be lodged online, in person or mailed to the ATO as explained in the return instructions.
Each taxpayer is required to file only one personal return each year, unless special demand is made.
If a person is a member of a partnership, they will still have to lodge a personal return.
The partnership also has to put in a return. Although the partnership does not pay any tax, the Commissioner of Taxation uses the partnership return to determine how much partnership income each individual partner should have declared on their personal return.
Filing a return
Individual tax returns are due on 31 October each year.
However, if a taxpayer has received permission to adopt an accounting period ending on a date other than 30 June, the due date will be either 31 October or 60 days after the end of the substituted accounting period, whichever is later.
If an accountant or other tax agent prepares and lodges a person’s return, it may not be necessary for the return to be filed by 31 October. Some agents make special arrangements with the commissioner.
If a return cannot be lodged by the due date, an application may be made to the ATO for an extension of time. That application, which should be made before the return is due, should show why an extension of time is needed. Penalties may be imposed for late lodgement. However, people who do not owe tax are rarely fined for late returns.
People who have not filed returns in the past are more likely to have their penalties waived or reduced if they disclose this to the commissioner before it is discovered.