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What should I do if I failed to lodge a tax return?

It is not uncommon for individuals and businesses to fall behind with their tax returns. You should always try to lodge your tax return by the due date each year as there can be serious consequences if you fail to do so. If you have missed any returns, you should catch up as soon as possible. Follow these four steps to get your taxes up-to-date. 

Step 1 – Identify which tax returns need to be lodged

Your accountant should be able to determine which tax returns are outstanding. The Australian Taxation Office can also provide you with this information.

Step 2 – Determine which information is required

A meeting with your accountant will assist you in determining which documents are required to prepare your outstanding tax return. You will often need to provide original documents and locating these documents can be an arduous task.

Step 3 – Prepare the tax return

Once the accounting firm has all the information, your tax return can be prepared. On completion, the accounting firm will send you the tax return for your signature and approval. You will also be sent an estimate of your tax liability or refund.

Step 4 – Lodge the tax return

Your accounting firm will lodge your tax return for you. Most tax returns are submitted to the Australian Taxation Office electronically (ie. via the internet) but they can also be sent by post. The Australian Taxation Office will then issue a tax assessment with the final result of your tax liability or tax refund. Your accountant will check the tax assessment and then forward it to you. Your taxes will be up-to-date once you either receive your refund or pay your tax liability.


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