The tax return deadline for this year fell on Monday 1st November 2021, this is because the 31st October 2021 which is traditional deadline date to submit your tax return fell on a Sunday.

Australian workers who fail to submit their tax return or who haven’t registered with a tax agent by Monday 1st November will run the risk of potentially receiving a fine of anywhere between $222 and $1,110.

However, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is unlikely to charge a fine to workers receiving tax refunds or those who don’t normally submit late.

“If you are unable to lodge on time, we encourage you to contact us or speak with a registered tax agent as soon as possible. If you’re delaying lodgement due to an expected bill you can’t pay right away, we encourage you to lodge this week,” said ATO assistant commissioner Tim Loh.

This is mainly because the ATO wants to see that taxpayers will aim to meet their tax obligations, even if they can’t cover the tax bill immediately.

“We can work with you to tailor a payment plan to your circumstances. In most cases, taxpayers can easily set up their own payment plan online depending on how much they owe.”

Australian workers who decide to lodge via a tax agent will generally have until May 2022 to submit their return, provided they’re on their agent’s books by 1st November 2021.

Since July 2021, the ATO has so far refunded $20 billion to more than 7.2 million taxpayers. However, mistakes like incorrect bank details, forgetting to declare income or claiming ineligible expenses will delay refunds.

“Four out of five people receive a refund with most refunds issued in less than two weeks. This process can’t be sped up, even if you call us. If you want to keep an eye on how your return is progressing, you can do this by logging into the ATO app or via myGov,” said ATO assistant commissioner Tim Loh.

Once DIY taxpayers have submitted their tax return, they will receive an SMS when the ATO is close to finalising the refund. This text should include an estimate for when they should receive a refund.

It has been reported that the average tax refund in Australia this year has been $2,490.

However, this will depend on how much tax a taxpayer has paid over the course of the financial year and their individual living situation.

Australians who are earning up to $126,000 will receive the low- and middle-income tax offset automatically. This provides an offset of between $255 and $1,080, depending on the person’s income.

Tax Return Deadline: Tips for Getting A Bigger Tax Refund 

Here are some tips to help you make it easier to gain access to your much-deserved tax deductions. 

Ask Your Tax Agent Questions – According to figures from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) 74% of Australians use a tax agent to assist them with figuring out every tax deduction that they are entitled to.  

If you aren’t currently one of the 74% it is a good idea to ask your tax agent about tax-deductible expenses and what you can claim. Often by doing so they will most likely suggest an additional deduction you didn’t think about.  

An example of a tax deduction that is not commonly known by the majority of Australian taxpayers is that unless you are paid via your superannuation, you are eligible to claim your income protection insurance premiums.  

Claim Work-Related Mobile Phone Expenses – Australians who use their mobile phone for work-related calls you also claim a percentage of their annual mobile phone bill on their tax return.

To figure out how much you are able to claim, you will need to provide a monthly account statement from a “typical” month, and a calculator. Work out the percentage of work-related calls that were made, and then claim that amount on your yearly bill.

Claiming your mobile phone expenses has the potential to give your tax return a major boost. If 40% of your calls are work-related, and you spend $660 a year on your phone bill. This means you would be eligible to claim $264 of work-related mobile phone expenses on your tax return. For an Australian who earns $60,000, that could mean more than $70 more in your refund!  

Claim Work-Related Car Expenses – Australian workers who are required to use their personal car for employment related reasons besides driving to and from work, are generally able to claim fuel and maintenance costs as a tax deduction.

The method for calculating the deduction can be done in two different ways. The first method is to use a 12-week logbook. This logbook generates numbers that can be re-used for five years. The second method is for the worker to use the cents per kilometre method.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) defines work-related kilometres as “kilometres travelled in your car while you are earning your income”. To be eligible for this deduction you must be the owner of the car and your travel must be part of your working day.

Examples of travel that is part of your working day includes; driving between different offices, driving from one job site to the next or trips to the post office or to the bank (this excludes stop-offs on the way home from work).

You are unable to claim trips between work and home unless you are carrying heavy equipment for work, or transporting heavy tools which are required for you to do your job.