We are very experienced in preparing prior year tax returns and you’ll be surprised how quick and painless the process is.
We are fast and highly experienced
We can access online most of the information needed
We prepare tax returns confidentially and without judgement
We prepare Tax returns online & via phone or videocall
What will happen if I don’t lodge my late tax returns?
Well, technically, if you don’t lodge your tax return it is a criminal offence under section 8C of the Taxation Administration Act 1953. However, the reality is that the ATO is very lenient. And it’s not because they have a soft heart. They really can’t afford to prosecute the many thousands of Australians who have one or more overdue tax returns. It would take up far too much of their time, for the small amount of tax they might recoup. That’s because in most cases, people get a tax refund rather than a tax bill.
Having said that, after a number of years the ATO will likely send you warning letters to lodge either by post or via MyGov. If so, the letters will likely get nastier if you continue to ignore them. If the ATO suspects that you owe them tax, then it usually doesn’t end well if you continue to ignore them year after year. The ATO has the option of issuing a default assessment for one or more overdue tax returns. This means they decide how much tax they think you should be paying for a particular year, based on information available to them. Once they issue a default assessment, the only option you have is to object to the assessment within the time limit (usually 2 years). Lodging an objection can be expensive. So it’s a lot smarter to lodge your tax return before it gets to this stage.
Do I need to lodge a tax return for every year?
If you earn more than $18,200 in taxable income it’s likely that you will need to lodge a tax return. However, there are exceptions to this rule of thumb, so please contact us if you’re unsure.
If you don’t need to lodge a tax return for a particular year, we can lodge a “return not necessary” at no cost to you.
How far back can you lodge tax returns?
Normally we only lodge tax returns going back to 2001 as the ATO doesn’t usually chase up lodgement of outstanding tax returns before then. However, we can lodge returns before then if necessary. We have even lodged overdue tax returns going back to 1989! When we lodge multiple years of tax returns it most often results in a large tax refund.
I can’t find all my records, are you able to help me?
Absolutely. We are experienced at locating missing income statements, dividend income, private health insurance etc. We can often estimate your work related deductions without receipts.
How quick will my late tax returns be processed?
Usually they are processed within 3 weeks. Sometimes there can be delays due to the ATO data matching records. If your returns are not processed within 4 weeks please let us know and we will follow the ATO up.
How much will it cost to lodge my late tax returns?
For most situations, our standard pricing as per our pricing page will apply. After we have ascertained your circumstances, we let you know upfront if there will be any change to our standard pricing, for example, due to an abnormally complicated situation.
Provided your estimated refund is sufficient, you can request to have our fees automatically deducted from your refund. This incurs a surcharge of $40 extra per return though.
Fortunately, all Bristax fees are tax deductible on your next tax return, even if the fees relate to multiple prior years!
Are there penalties or fines for late or overdue tax returns?
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) may apply a “failure to lodge on time penalty”. The penalty is calculated at the rate of one penalty unit (currently $222) for each period of 28 days or part thereof that the document is overdue, up to a maximum of five penalty units ($1,110 for each overdue tax return).
The ATO does not normally apply a penalty for a tax return that results in a tax refund or no tax payable. The ATO is more likely to apply a penalty if:
- You have more than 1 tax return outstanding
- You have not complied with a request to lodge your tax return
- You have a poor lodgment and/or payment history
Can FTL penalties and GIC be reduced?
Potentially. In certain circumstances, the ATO may reconsider reducing or remitting FTL (Failure to Lodge) penalties and GIC (General Interest Charge) after you have lodged all outstanding tax returns. These circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- You have a refund available from the tax return instead of owing tax
- You have significant personal or domestic difficulties beyond your control
- You have a severe illness, or you were caring for another person who was sick with a severe illness
- You were involved with a natural disaster
- Other appropriate circumstances considered fair and reasonable
Some of the factors the ATO considers prior to applying the FTL penalty are:
- The compliance history of the entity.
- The effort it took to obtain lodgement.
- The value of the information to be disclosed in the taxation document.
- Whether the entity is aware of their lodgement obligations and the consequences involved in not meeting their obligations.
- Whether the entity had an opportunity to comply.
- The length of time the taxation document is overdue.
- Any contact the entity or their representative may have had with the ATO prior to the due date for lodgement.
Bristax has lodged thousands of overdue tax returns without any penalties. In some cases where penalties have been applied, we have generally experienced success in applying for penalties to be remitted. However, there is no absolute guarantee that the ATO will remit penalties. It is a matter of presenting a persuasive case to the ATO as to why you deserve remission.
What if I can't pay my outstanding tax bill?
The ATO is normally happy to arrange a payment plan. From their point of view, as long as you are making regular repayments, they at least know the tax will eventually be paid back. However, payment plan debts are usually subject to GIC (General Interest Charge). Which is fair enough, since the ATO is effectively a lender. Depending on your circumstances, we can request for GIC to be remitted.
Can I claim work related expenses on my overdue tax returns?
Yes. We discuss with you appropriate work related expenses to be claimed for each financial year. Generally, the more work related expenses that can be claimed, the larger your tax refund or the lower your tax bill will be.
Why should I use Bristax to lodge my late tax returns?
Compared to many other tax agents:
1. We maximise your tax refund. For example, many tax agents won’t claim deductions unless you can provide expense receipts. At Bristax, our expertise enables us to claim certain expenses even if you don’t have the receipts. For more information on our expertise and why it’s so important, see our tax accountants page.
2. We can prepare your tax returns even if you are missing documents. For example, many tax agents don’t know how to prepare a tax return without an employer income statement (aka payment summary). We do.
3. Our simpler process equals faster lodgement. We don’t ask you a whole lot of irrelevant questions, only the questions that matter. Don’t wait months to lodge your overdue tax returns. We can usually prepare outstanding tax returns going back to 2001 within 3 business days of receiving all necessary information. If urgently required, we can prepare and lodge returns within 24 hours from receiving all necessary information.
HOW DO I LODGE MY OVERDUE TAX RETURNS?
Please send us your date of birth and tax file number via the secure contact form below.
We then check your ATO income tax account and clarify exactly what tax returns need to be lodged, any info we need from you, and a quote if you wish to proceed further.
We can usually obtain the following information from the ATO from 2001 onwards:
- Employer income statements
- Bank interest income
- Dividend & managed fund income
- Private health insurance statement
Normally, pricing as per our Pricing page applies, unless there are abnormal complexities.
Let’s get the ball rolling…
Please send us your date of birth, tax file number & mobile phone number via our secure contact form and we will start the process.