What if I don’t lodge my tax return by 31 October

It seems that a lot of people do things on the last day. But what are the consequences if you haven’t managed to lodge your tax return by the 31 October due date?

This article is for all those who are trying to lodge by E-tax tonight. E-tax (and tax agent’s electronic lodgement) can lodge tax returns until midnight.


Will the ATO charge a penalty if I am one day late?

No – the ATO usually allows a grace period and is unlikely to charge a penalty if you are a few days late.

Also – the first time you are late the ATO usually send a letter saying that they could have charged a penalty, but didn’t this time.

If you do receive a penalty, it will be $110 per 28 days overdue. If you call the ATO (using the phone number on your assessment) they may remit the penalty based on your circumstances.


Reasons why it is a bad idea to wait until the deadline

  1. If you have a tax payable, it will be due 21 November (3 weeks after 31 October), regardless of when you lodge the return. So holding your tax return to delay the date your tax will be due doesn’t do anything.
  2. ATO servers can only handle so much activity. If there is a day that their servers are agonisingly slow (or break down) it will be the key lodgement dates of 31 October (and 15 May and 5 June for tax agents).

Note that usually the weekend before 31 October is quite busy as well.


Effect on next years’ return – for those with tax agents

For those with tax agents, if you have previous year returns outstanding, these need to be lodged otherwise the current year does not receive the tax agent’s due date (usually 15 May the following year).

Where you were stopped from lodging due to an ATO error (ie. System crash) – the ATO may reverse the effects if call and request this, however in this case, I’d recommend getting returns in by 31 October or as soon as possible thereafter.

To explain the effects – if you 2011 was not lodged by 31 October 2012, then your 2012 return would also be due to be lodged by 31 October 2012 and paid by 21 November. Any interest on overdue tax will accrue from 21 November.

Posted in Tax
  • Arron Dickens

    Good article Scott, I read it with interest.

  • http://www.nomoney.com.au Scott

    Cheers Arron

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