To determine if you need to lodge a tax return, it is essential to consider various factors related to your income, residency status, deductions, and specific financial situations.
Conditions that necessitate tax return lodgment include the following:
- Tax Withheld: If you received any payments during the income year on which tax was withheld, such as wages, you must lodge a tax return.
- Australian Resident with Taxable Income: If you are an Australian resident and your taxable income exceeds the tax-free threshold of $18,200, you must lodge a tax return.
- Leaving Australia or Extended Stay: If you are leaving Australia permanently or for over one income year, you must lodge a tax return.
- Tax Deductions: If you wish to claim any tax deductions, you must lodge a tax return.
- Child Support Assessment: If you are a liable or recipient parent under a child support assessment for the entire income year and your income was $27,063 or more, you must lodge a tax return.
- Foreign Resident with Study or Training Support Loan: Even if you have no Australian income, you must lodge a tax return if you are a foreign resident with a study or training support loan.
- Foreign Resident Earning Income in Australia: If you are a foreign resident and earned more than $1 in Australia during the income year, you need to lodge a tax return unless:
- Your only Australian-sourced income was from interest, dividends, or royalties, and you paid the correct amount of non-resident withholding tax.
- You are a working holiday maker (417 or 462 visa holders), and your annual taxable income is below $45,001.
Mandatory Tax Return Lodging Conditions
There are situations where it is mandatory to lodge a tax return, including:
Australian Resident with PAYG or Withheld Tax
If you were an Australian resident during the financial year and either paid tax through the PAYG withholding or installment system or had tax withheld from your payments (excluding mining payments).
Eligibility for Seniors and Pensioners Tax Offset
You must lodge a tax return if you were eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset and your rebate income (excluding your spouse’s income) exceeded certain thresholds. The threshold amounts are as follows:
- $32,279 if you were single, widowed, or separated anytime during the year.
- $31,279 if you had a spouse, but either one of you lived in a nursing home, or you had to live apart due to illness.
- $28,974 if you lived with your spouse for the entire year.
Not Eligible for Seniors and Pensioners Tax Offset, but Received a Listed Payment
If you were not eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset but received a payment listed under “Australian Government allowances and payments”, and your taxable income (from your tax return) exceeded $21,884, you must lodge a tax return.
Not Eligible for Seniors and Pensioners Tax Offset or Listed Payment
If you were not eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset and did not receive a payment listed under “Australian Government allowances, pensions and payments 2023”, you must lodge a tax return if your taxable income exceeded certain thresholds:
- $18,200 if you were an Australian resident for the full year.
- $416 if you were under 18 years old and your income was not from salary or wages.
- $1 if you were a foreign resident with taxable income in Australia that did not have final non-resident withholding tax withheld.
- Your part-year tax-free threshold amount where you became or ceased to be an Australian resident for tax purposes.
Other Conditions That Require Tax Return Lodgement
You must lodge a tax return if any of the following applies to you:
- Reportable Fringe Benefits Amount
You had a reportable fringe benefits amount on your income statement or PAYG payment summary related to non-business or foreign employment.
- Reportable Employer Superannuation Contributions
You must report certain employer superannuation contributions made on your behalf. These contributions are classified as “reportable” and should be indicated on your income statement or PAYG payment summary. These contributions may arise from non-business activities, foreign employment, or business and personal services income.
- Unclaimed Private Health Insurance Rebate
You were entitled to the private health insurance rebate but didn’t claim the correct entitlement as a premium reduction, and your spouse is not claiming the rebate for you in their tax return.
- Carried on a Business
You conducted a business.
- Losses and Capital Gains
You incurred a loss, including capital or non-capital loss, on the redemption or disposal of traditional security, or you can claim a loss made in a previous year.
- Superannuation Lump Sum
If you were 60 years old or older and received an Australian superannuation lump sum that included an untaxed element, or if you were under 60 years old and received a superannuation lump sum that had a taxed or untaxed element as a non-dependent.
- Trust Distributions or Partnership Interest
You were entitled to a distribution from a trust or had an interest in a partnership involved in primary production business.
- Exempt Foreign Employment Income
You were an Australian resident for tax purposes and had exempt foreign employment income, along with $1 or more of other income.
- Income Averaging Provisions
You are a special professional covered by income-averaging provisions applicable to authors, inventors, performing artists, production associates, and active sportspeople.
- Dividends or Distributions with Franking Credits
If you received income from dividends or distributions during the tax year that exceeded $18,200 (or $416 if you were under 18 years old on 30th June of the financial year), and these dividends or distributions came with attached franking credits or withheld amounts due to not providing your tax file number or Australian business number, you are required to report this income in your tax return.
- Personal Contributions and Contribution Caps
You made personal contributions (excluding deduction claims) to a complying superannuation fund or retirement savings account and are eligible to receive a super co-contribution, or your concessional contributions exceeded the cap, or your non-concessional contributions exceeded the cap.
- Child Support Assessment
If you were a liable or recipient parent under a child support assessment unless certain income thresholds or payment criteria were met.
If you are responsible for managing the estate of an individual who passed away during the financial year, you should consider the reasons mentioned above on their behalf.
If a tax return is not required for the deceased individual, you must complete the Non-lodgment Advice form and submit it to the relevant authorities.
Foreign Residents with Study or Training Support Loan
If you were a foreign resident in the financial year and had an accumulated Higher Education loan program (HELP), VET Student Loan (VSL), or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt as of June 1, , you must lodge a tax return if the total of your repayment income and any foreign-sourced income exceeded $12,090.
Even if any of the other reasons mentioned above apply to you, you must electronically lodge your tax return if this situation is applicable.
If you received franking credits and are not required to lodge a tax return for the financial year, you are eligible to claim a refund of franking credits.
To do so, you can lodge the “Refund of franking credits instructions and application for individuals” form online or via a registered tax agent.
Notifying Australian Government Payments
If you are not required to lodge a tax return, it is still essential to inform the tax authorities in the following situations:
- Child Support Assessment: If you are a liable or recipient parent under a child support assessment.
- Family Assistance Payments: If you receive family assistance payments, such as Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Subsidy.
When you notify tax authorities about not needing to lodge a tax return, they will request your income details for the financial year. Providing this information is crucial, ensuring you receive your entitled benefits accurately.
You can complete non-lodgment advice online for most income years or via a registered tax agent who can do it for you.
This article is for general information only. It does not make recommendations nor does it provide advice to address your personal circumstances. To make an informed decision, always contact a registered tax professional.