A late tax return penalty can be substantial, but they are entirely avoidable. That is why it is important to know your tax deadlines and any penalties that may apply for failing to lodge on time.

In this article we will cover what an overdue tax return is, what the tax deadline is, what penalties apply for late payment, do you need receipts for overdue taxes, and what should you do if you have missed the tax deadline.

What is an overdue tax return?

An overdue tax return is a tax return that has not been filed by the due date with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). In essence, if you have not paid your outstanding tax before the deadline, it is considered overdue. Failure to do so may result in a late tax return fine.

When is the tax refund deadline?

The tax refund deadline for most people is October 31st every year. The deadline is the last day you can lodge your tax return without incurring any penalties. It is important to lodge your tax return prior to this date as you may incur fines or even imprisonment as failing to lodge is considered a criminal offence.

What is the tax penalty for late payment?

The ATO does not take late tax returns lightly. You can be hit with penalties and charges if you fail to meet your tax obligations. A late tax return fine may include the following:

  • Failure to lodge on time penalty: If you do not file your tax return before the deadline, the ATO may charge you a penalty of one penalty unit for every 28-day period up to a max of 5 penalty units. As of 1 July 2023, the penalty unit amount is $313. That means the maximum penalty for failing to lodge is $1,565.

Put simply, you may be required to pay $313 every 28 days up to a maximum of $1,565.

  • Interest on outstanding debt: The ATO may charge interest on unpaid tax. Which can increase the amount you are required to pay back.
  • Legal action: If you still have not paid your tax after a long period, you can receive a maximum of 12 months in prison. This process is a last resort. The ATO allows you every opportunity to pay your overdue lodgements before resorting to this option.

Please note, the penalties may only apply to you if you have a payable tax return. That means if you have a nil or a positive tax return, the punishments may not apply to you. The ATO may also reduce or completely remove penalties if you have a valid reason that did not allow you to submit a return. For example, you were impacted by a serious illness or natural disaster.

 Do you need receipts for overdue tax returns?

It is a common misconception that you are required to keep receipts to claim all deductions on your tax returns. If you have some type of record that supports your claims of expenses, then you may be able to claim a deduction. Some examples of records you can use include:

  • Logbooks for driving
  • Working from home diaries
  • Income and bank statements

If you’ve got one or more tax returns outstanding, the ATO will catch up with you. Take pre-emptive measures against this and get your tax returns up to date ASAP. We make the catching-up process as painless as possible. Where there’s a possibility penalties can be remitted, we’ll make a case on your behalf to the ATO.

If you have missing income information, we can often fill in the gaps by obtaining pre-filled information sent to the ATO by third parties such as banks and employers. Where you haven’t kept records of deductions, we’ll work with you to establish what you can claim. Contact us today.


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How can we help?

If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to give our office on 08 9221 5522 or via email – info@camdenprofessionals.com.au  or arrange a time for a meeting so we can discuss your requirements in more detail.

General Advice Warning

The material on this page and on this website has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained on this page and on this website is General Advice and does not take into account any person’s particular investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs.

Before making an investment decision based on this advice you should consider, with or without the assistance of a securities adviser, whether it is appropriate to your particular investment needs, objectives and financial circumstances. In addition, the examples provided on this page and on this website are for illustrative purposes only.

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