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How to do a Tax Return in Australia in 2023

tax return

Tax time is nearly here, which means it’s almost time to lodge your 2023 tax return in Australia! We get it: taxes aren’t anybody’s favourite thing. However, they don’t have to be stressful! In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about how to do a tax return in Australia in 2023.

Do I need to lodge a tax return in 2023?

If you’ve earned money while in Australia, then it’s very likely you will need to lodge a tax return.

Most international students living and studying in Australia for more than six months are considered Australian residents for tax purposes, which means you have to declare your income on a tax return.

As a resident for tax purposes, you are also eligible for the tax-free threshold of $18,200.

There are limited circumstances where you might not have to lodge a tax return. To find out for sure, check out Do you need to lodge a tax return? on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

When do I have to do it?

The financial year in Australia ends on 30 June 2023. Tax returns must be lodged between 1 July – 31 October 2023.

How do I lodge a tax return in 2023?

The quickest, easiest way is to lodge your return online at myTax through the ATO website. You’ll be prompted to create a myGov account and link it to the ATO. Then just follow the instructions to fill out your return online.

You can also:

  • Lodge a paper tax return.
  • Use the Tax Help program – this is a program run by trained volunteers to assist people on low incomes ($60,000 or less per year) to do their tax returns.
  • Seek help from a friend or family member; however, they are not legally allowed to charge you a fee.

What will I need?

  • A photo ID (like a passport)
  • Your PAYG Payment Summaries.  After 30 June, your employers should provide you with payment summaries. These provide details of the amount you’ve earned and the amount you’ve been taxed. You’ll use this information to fill out your tax form. Your employer might send you the PAYG summary in the mail or provide it for you online. Employers should give these to their employees by 14 July.

Where do I go for help?

The ATO website is the best place to go with tax questions. Your university’s student or financial services might also offer advice or help with your tax.

How long does it take?

If you lodge your tax return online, you’ll most likely get your refund in roughly two weeks. By mail, it will take about six weeks. Keep in mind that these are simply estimates; processing times may be longer due to a high volume of returns being submitted at the same or other factors.

You can always check your ATO tax return status by logging into your myGov account.

Important reminders

There are a few important things to keep in mind when lodging your tax return, including:

  • Even if you get help preparing or lodging your tax return, you must be the one to sign it and you (nobody else) are legally responsible for the legal accuracy of the information included.
  • If you fail to lodge your tax return on time, the ATO may apply a penalty; in general, it applies one penalty point for every 28 days that your return is overdue. However, the ATO generally doesn’t apply a penalty in cases where a tax return is lodged voluntarily and no tax is payable.

You can find a full overview of important tax return information here.