Happy New [Financial] Year!

It’s been 18 months since I deserted Britain’s chilly climes for Melbourne’s… chilly climes. With weather this cold, it’s suddenly difficult to remember why on earth I moved 10,000 miles away but there are a few things that have been worth the trouble:

  • Considerably better coffee
  • Australian slang (when in doubt, add an ‘o’)
  • Sandy beaches…

…I know that few Melbournians will agree that the city beaches are anything to brag about. However, if you’ve ever sat on the unforgiving rocky shores of UK’s southern coast while your picnic lunch is ravaged by seagulls the size of a small child, you’ll realise there is plenty to be grateful for.

This time last year, I was surprised to discover that, in Australia, tax returns aren’t something that happen magically without my interference. I know from experience that getting your head around tax-time in Australia can be a bit baffling, so here are some answers to the questions I needed answering when it came to lodging my tax return for the first time.

What does it all mean!?

Though there are some exceptions the general rule of thumb is if you’ve earned money, and you’ve been taxed, you need to lodge a tax return.

If you’re a first timer, make sure you

  • have your tax file number
  • have your passport
  • have created a myGov account

Click here to create your myGov account now.

When do I need to lodge my tax return?

Before 31st October. The financial year is dated 1st July 2018 – 30th June 2019.

Can I do a tax return myself?

Yes, you can! Have a look at myTax to start your tax return online.

Who else can help me?

If you visit www.tpb.gov.au/tax-agents you can find a registered tax agent to prepare and lodge your tax return for you. Only registered tax agents can charge a fee for this. If you are using a tax agent, the deadline would be later but they have their own schedules so you need to check with them.

What evidence/paperwork do I need for my tax?

Your tax file number and your PAYG summary, issued by your employer. For a full list of what you can claim and the required documents, please visit this page.

How long does it take?

If you’re lodging it yourself online, you should receive your refund within two weeks. If you lodge it through a registered tax agent, it’s best to check with them directly.

By Claudia Bellwood

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