When can I lodge my tax return? Here's the cut-off date to avoid a fine from the ATO (2024)

The end of the financial year is almost here, which means a lot of Australians are turning their attention to their tax returns.

There are a few key dates to be aware of before you start preparing your return.

Here's what you need to know — including the ATO impersonation scams to watch out for.

When is the end of the financial year?

The last day of the current financial year — which is 2023-24 — is June 30.

The first day of the 2024-25 financial year is July 1.

This year, June 30 falls on a Sunday and July 1 falls on a Monday.

When is tax time?

Not until next week.

You can lodge your tax return as early as July 1, but you do have more than 17 weeks to do it.

The ATO actually recommends submitting your tax return in late July.

This is because the ATO will pre-fill a range of information into your return for you, and this takes them a few weeks to collect.

When are tax returns due?

October 31.

But that's only if you're doing it yourself.

If you're going through a tax agent, you'll be eligible for an extended tax return deadline.

This deadline can vary depending on circ*mstances, but can be as late as May 15.

But it's important to note that if you go through a tax agent you have to book your appointment before October 31 — but that doesn't mean your appointment has to be before October 31.

When can I lodge my tax return? Here's the cut-off date to avoid a fine from the ATO (1)

What happens if I miss the tax deadline?

You'll still be able to lodge your tax return after the deadline, but you may cop a fine from the ATO.

The fine for failing to pay on time is $330.

You'll also be charged a further $330 for every 28 days the return is overdue.

While this amount is capped, it could end up costing you up to $1,650.

When do tax returns get paid?

Within 12 business days.

That's for most electronically lodged current year tax returns.

If you can't lodge electronically, the ATO says a paper tax return can take up to 50 days to process.

When is my tax bill due?

If you owe the ATO a bill, you're going to have to send them the outstanding tax.

This has to be paid in full by November 21.

Interest will apply to any outstanding amount that isn't paid by then.

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What are the tax brackets?

Australian residents are taxed on the amount of taxable income they receive during the financial year.

For the 23/24 financial year, the tax rates are as follows:

Taxable incomeTax on this income
$18,201-$45,00019c for each $1 over $18,200
$45,001-$120,000$5,092 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $45,000
$120,001-$180,000$29,467 plus 37c for each $1 over $120,000
$180,001 and over$51,667 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

The above rates do not include the Medicare levy of 2 per cent.

Now, you might remember there was a lot of debate about Australia's tax brackets a few months ago.

The federal government announced changes to the tax brackets under a policy known as the Stage 3 Tax Cuts, which passed parliament back in February.

But these changes won't take effect until July 1.

This means the old tax rates will apply to the tax return you file for the financial year that's about to end.

But you should notice the changes in your pack packet from July 1 because slightly less tax will be deducted from your take-home pay.

Do I need to do a tax return if I don't earn enough to pay tax?


If you earned $18,200 or less over the whole financial year, you won't pay any tax on that income.

However, you still may need to file a return.

Here's just a few of the reasons the ATO gives for requiring a tax return:

  • Had pay as you go (PAYG) withheld from payments received during the year
  • Had a reportable fringe benefits amount on their income statement or PAYG payment summary
  • Had reportable employer superannuation contributions on their income statement or PAYG payment summary

To find out more, it's best to check the ATO website or use its online Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool.

Where can I find my tax file number?

Your tax file number (TFN) is a personal reference number you use for tax and superannuation.

You can find your TFN:

  • Online through myGov
  • On your income tax notice of assessment
  • On a payment summary or income statement from your employer
  • On your superannuation account statement

If you use a registered tax agent, you can also ask them for your TFN.

Watch out for tax time scammers

Tax time has also increased the amount of scammers impersonating ATO employees.

More than 1,668 ATO impersonation scams were flagged in May.

"Scammers use fake myGov websites to steal your sign-in credentials and gain access to your myGov account," the ATO says.

"Once the scammer has access, they can make fraudulent lodgements in your name and also change bank details so that any payments are redirected to a scammers' account."

Here's how to keep yourself safe from scams this tax time.

Don't click on the link

The first sign of a scam text or email is a hyperlink.

"The ATO and myGov won't send you an SMS or email with a link to access online services," the ATO said in a warning on its website.

"These should be accessed directly by typing ato.gov.au or my.gov.au into your browser."

But it's easy to be tricked by them, because the hyperlink text might look like the legitimate URL or be disguised in a shortened URL.

Here's an example of a scam text message:

When can I lodge my tax return? Here's the cut-off date to avoid a fine from the ATO (2)

And, in an email, the scammer might use branding from the ATO of myGov to look more authentic.

But this imagery is easy to fake.

And here's an example of a scam email:

When can I lodge my tax return? Here's the cut-off date to avoid a fine from the ATO (3)

"The link takes you to a fake myGov website designed to steal your information," a Services Australia website warning says.

"This is also called a phishing link.

"Phishing is a way for scammers to steal your personal information."

Don't open the attachments

Some emails may not have a link, but that doesn't mean they're legitimate.

Some scammers will instead try to convince people to open a PDF sent as an attachment with the email.

But don't click that either.

Scammers play on your fears

Fraudsters will be very specific with their phrasing to trick you into opening these links.

They might use formal, professional language to strike a serious, anxiety-inducing tone.

Here's a bunch of different phrases the ATO gave as examples of scam messages that are being sent:

You are due to receive an ATO Direct refund

You have a new message in your myGov inbox – click here to view

You need to update your details to allow your Tax return to be processed

We need to verify your incoming tax deposit

ATO Refund failed due to incorrect BSB/Account number

Your income statement is ready, click on the link to view

When can I lodge my tax return? Here's the cut-off date to avoid a fine from the ATO (4)

When can I lodge my tax return? Here's the cut-off date to avoid a fine from the ATO (2024)
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