Tax returns are used to report the income you have earned in the financial year (starting on 1 July and ending on 30 June the following year) and any deductions you wish to claim against that income. The purpose of tax retruns is to determine whether you owe additional taxes or are eligible for a refund.
It isn't only income you earn from your job that you must report in your income tax return but also other forms of income, such as interest you accrue from cash left in a bank account, rental income, or any income derived from the sale of an asset that is subject to capital gains tax.
Your income tax return is lodged with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on or before its due date in order to avoid late lodgment penalties.
In the event that you have paid too much tax in the relevant financial year, you may receive a tax refund, however if you have not paid enough tax, you will receive an assessment for the amount you need to pay. Using a tax refund calculator to estimate your tax refund will help you avoid any unnecessary surprises.
After you have lodged your income tax return, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) issues a notice of assessment. The notice of assessment is an important document as it includes the date your tax return was processed by the ATO and is a summary of your taxable income and tax position for the year and you should keep it with your tax records as a result.
A notice of assessment contains the following details:
your taxable income for the relevant financial year
the tax payable on your taxable income
any credits that are applied to the tax payable
the balance of tax payable or refundable
When do you receive a notice of assessment?
You will always receive your notice of assessment after your tax return has been lodged. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will send you your notice of assessment after they process your tax return or franking credits lodgment.
When you receive your notice of assessment from the ATO will depend on what kind of lodgement method was used to lodge your income tax return:
lodging your tax return by paper lodgement takes the longest. If you lodge by paper you will receive your notice of assessment within 50 business days (10 weeks) of the date the ATO receives the lodgment (this is because it can take up to 7 weeks for paper lodgments to show up on the ATO's systems)
If you lodge your tax return online using myTaxOnline using myTax, you will receive your notice of assessment within 2 weeks
If you lodge your tax return using a registered tax agent, you should expect to receive your notice of assessment within 2 weeks
Where can I find my Notice of Assessment?
You can find your notice of assessment in your myGov Inbox if you have a myGov account. If you are having trouble logging into your myGov account, or you require a paper copy of your notice of assessment you can retrieve one by doing the following steps:
sign into my.gov.au
select ATO from your services
select My profile from the menu
select "Communication" then "History" from the drop-down menu
If you are having difficulty connecting your MyGov account to the ATO, please reach out to us and we can help. The ATO also has some helpful guidelines on how to link your MyGov account to the ATO, which you can find here.
If you misplace your notice of assessment and lose your refund cheque as a result, you will need to contact the ATO for a replacement cheque. After establishing your proof of identity, the ATO will post the replacement cheque to you.
What is a statement of account?
You will receive a statement of account along with your notice of assessment if your account balance differs to your assessment.
This can occur if:
you incur a penalty or general interest charge
the ATO credits interest amounts to you
the ATO offsets credits to other tax debts, including non-pursued debts or debts you have with other government agencies
you have an account opening balance that is not zero
you lodge tax returns for multiple financial years on the same day
What's an amended notice of assessment?
When you receive your notice of assessment you should cross check it against your tax return.
Don't worry if you made a mistake when completing your tax return; it is possible to amend your income tax assessment. You can also contact the ATO for help. If you call the ATO, make sure you have your notice of assessment and a copy of your tax return on hand.
Are there options if I experience serious financial hardship?
If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be able to receive a refund from the ATO quicker than usual.
If this applies to you, you should contact the ATO before you lodge your tax return. The ATO will need to discuss your situation with you and determine whether you are in fact eligible for faster service.
Before you call the ATO, make sure you have the following personal details on hand:
pension or benefit statement
income statement or payment summaries
other documents that demonstrate that you are experiencing serious financial hardship
We understand that tax season can be a stressful time. To take some of the anxiety out of having your tax returns lodged, we recommend you collect together all of the relevant information, keep organised records, and contact a tax agent who can assist you with any tax-related issues.
We have worked with taxpayers and with the ATO for over 21 years and have a great deal of experience and can help you with everything from preparing your tax returns to negotiating ATO Payment Plans and lodgement deferrals depending on your circumstances.
Causbrooks gives you a client manager supported by a team of knowledgeable small business experts. We’re here to take the guesswork out of running your own business.
Get in touch with us to set up a consultation, or use the contact form on this page to inquire whether our services are right for you.
Any advice contained in this document is general advice only and does not take into consideration the reader’s personal circumstances. Any reference to the reader’s actual circumstances is coincidental. To avoid making a decision not appropriate to you, the content should not be relied upon or act as a substitute for receiving financial advice suitable to your circumstances.