Australian Tax Lodgement Dates

Tax Return in Australia | Important Dates and Information

Nothing makes you feel less like an adult than tax time. So we thought we’d do you all a solid by providing this info for your tax return in Australia.

First off, an important day during tax time each year is October 31st, as it’s the tax return deadline. While you’re here looking at all the days of the year, we thought we’d take this opportunity to remind you of the most important dates during tax time. And we also thought we’d give you the lowdown on things like thresholds and what you can and cannot claim.

When things get busy in business, it’s easy for due dates to sneak up on you. Whether you’re a sole trader, employee, small business, partnership, large company or trust, keeping on top of due dates can help you financially.

If doing your taxes hurts your head, you can always get some help! Accountants live for this stuff. Tax time is their equivalent of a pre-pandemic bush doof. So find yourself a good one, and go give them a great time.

Here are the Super-Important Australian Tax Lodgement Dates:

  • 5 May 2021 – typically this is the deadline for individuals to lodge your return for the previous year. It HAS to be with a registered tax agent.
  • 30 June 2021 – official end of the 2021 financial year
  • 1 July 2021 – the ATO begins to process tax returns from the financial year just ended
  • 14 July 2021 – You should receive an annual Pay As You Go payment summary from your employer on this date. If you don’t, just ask.
  • 16 July 2021 – refunds are typically issued 2-3 days around this date. 
  • 31 October 2021 – deadline for lodging your tax return for the fiscal year 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021. You can submit it late if you use a registered tax agent.

Sole trader (individual in business or working for yourself)Your business income in your individual tax return.31 October unless you lodge through a registered tax agent.
PartnershipYour share of the partnership income. 31 October unless you lodge through a registered tax agent.
TrustAny trust distribution you receive in your individual tax return. 31 October unless you lodge through a registered tax agent.
CompanyAny salary or wages you receive, including any other payments such as director’s fees or income from dividends, in your individual tax return. 31 October unless you lodge through a registered tax agent.

Company tax returns are generally due by 28 February each year.

For more information on lodgement dates, head to the big tax bosses at ato.gov.au.

Tax Return in Australia

Some More Things You Should Know For Your Tax Return in Australia

What does “tax-free threshold” mean?

It’s basically the un-taxed “starting amount” for your personal earnings or income. This applies to sole traders, freelancers and employees. If your total income is less than the tax-free threshold, you don’t have to pay a cent in tax to the ATO.

The ATO’s defines your “income” as the total amount of money you earned from all jobs and other sources. This includes any consulting, contracting or side-jobs, and any interest you received for savings in the bank plus income from any investments you may have.

If you earned less than the tax-free threshold but paid some taxes along the way, you will probably get back all of the tax that was deducted, in your tax refund, after you lodge your tax return. 

Please note that JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments are included in your earnings, and you’ll need to pay tax on those if you earned above the tax threshold in either year.

Financial hardship assistance you received for staying at home after a COVID test (eg. the $450 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment) or any pandemic leave disaster payments do not need to be included in your earnings. 

Depending on your circumstance, the below tables show the amount of tax that needs to be paid for every dollar earned in your tax return in Australia. The below rates do not include Medicare levy.

Australian Resident Tax Rates 2020–21
income before taxamount to be taxed
0 – $18,2000
$18,201 – $45,00019 cents for every dollar over $18,200
$45,001 – $120,000$5,092 plus 32.5 cents for every dollar over $45,000
$120,001 – $180,000$29,467 plus 37 cents for every dollar over $120,000
$180,001 and over$51,667 plus 45 cents for every dollar over $180,000
Australian Resident Tax Rates 2019–20
Income Before TaxAmount to be taxed
0 – $18,2000
$18,201 – $37,00019c for every dollar over $18,200
$37,001 – $90,000$3,572 plus 32.5c for every dollar over $37,000
$90,001 – $180,000$20,797 plus 37c for every dollar over $90,000
$180,001 and over$54,097 plus 45c for every dollar over $180,000
Foreign Resident Tax Rates 2020–21
Income Before TaxAmount to be taxed
0 – $120,00032.5 cents for every $1
$120,001 – $180,000$39,000 plus 37 cents for every $dollar over $120,000
$180,001 and over$61,200 plus 45 cents for every dollar over $180,000
Foreign Resident Tax Rates 2019–20
Income Before TaxAmount to be taxed
0 – $90,00032.5c for every $1
$90,001 – $180,000$29,250 plus 37c for every dollar over $90,000
$180,001 and over$62,550 plus 45c for every dollar over $180,000

Working from home during COVID-19

This might sound silly, but one of the most basic ways to get better numbers from your tax return is knowing exactly what you can and can’t claim for. 

The ATO understands that because of COVID-19, a lot more people – perhaps yourself included – are working from home accumulating expenses that you wouldn’t normally accrue if you were heading into the office on the daily.

It can be tiring and tricky tracking your own expenses, so the ATO has been kind enough to introduce a temporary shortcut method. It’s an easy way to calculate the costs, without all the paperwork and record keeping. It can be applied to all expenses up until the 30th of June 2021.

This shortcut method can be used to calculate your work from home expenses for the 2019-2020 tax return, and the 2020-2021 tax return.

In order to claim a deduction for working from home, you must have spent the money and it must be spent in relation to your work. You must also have a record to prove the transaction. 

Here Are the Expenses You Can Claim in Your Tax Return in Australia:

  • Heating, cooling and lighting expenses as well as the running costs for items you are using for work
  • Cleaning costs for your work area
  • Partial phone and internet expenses
  • Home office equipment (computers, stationary, furniture, phones and furniture up to $300
  • Depreciation for items over $300

Here Are the Expenses You Cannot Claim:

  • Refreshments that your work would normally provide: tea, coffee, choccy biccies, minties etc.
  • Items that are provided by your employer – for example, a laptop, iPad or phone
  • Rent, mortgage interest, water and rates (although there are some exceptions)

Calculating Your Expenses

There are three ways of calculating home office expenses depending on your circumstances. The methods are the:

  • Shortcut method (which is 80 cents per work hour, available 1 March to 30 June 2020 and1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. The shortcut method doesn’t require you to have a dedicated work area, such as a private study. If you use this method, you can’t claim any other expenses for working from home for that period.
  • Fixed rate method (52 cents per work hour)
  • Actual cost method

It’s up to you which you choose. Depending on your situation, there’ll be a method that will give you the best outcome.

Punching The Numbers

Please note, when you are calculating the number of hours you worked from home, you’ll need to exclude any time you took a break from working.

Use this formula to calculate your working from home deductions:
  • For the 2019–20 income year, multiply the total hours worked from home from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 by 80 cents
  • For the 2020–21 income year, multiply the total hours worked from home from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 by 80 cents 

If you use the shortcut method to claim a deduction, jot down ‘COVID-hourly rate’ as the description.

Tax Return in Australia

Records You’ll Want to Keep

You must keep a record of the hours you have worked from home and receipts of your expenses. Store the following responsibly:

  • invoice trackers
  • digital receipts
  • paper receipts
  • rosters
  • timesheets

Knowing what you know now, you’ll want be super organised for the next financial year so you won’t be un-scrunching receipts and searching every coat pocket. Be it a shoebox, folder or a spreadsheet, get yourself some form of filing system for next year.

Now, because paperwork sucks and so does punching numbers, you’ll want to find a reputable accountant. If you do your taxes yourself, you’ll want to find a good way to reward yourself for all that hard work. But perhaps the reward is your return? Maybe it’s a big beer and a big bowl of chippies at the pub? Whatever works as incentive. Just get it done.

For information on working from home, visit home office expenses or speak with a registered tax professional.