Understanding Early Tax Return in Australia

Handling finances can be confusing, particularly when navigating an overseas tax system. 

If you’re an Australian expat or a foreign investor, this comprehensive guide to lodging your early tax return in Australia for 2024 will take you step by step through the entire process.

Why Consider an Early Tax Return?

Tax return planning is an essential part of financial management. However, expats and foreign investors often overlook the potential benefits of lodging their tax returns early. 

These include getting your refund quicker, avoiding the end-of-financial-year rush, and having more time to identify potential deductions and credits. 

Here are a few potential benefits:

  • Quick Refunds: If you expect to receive a tax refund, filing your return early can help you get your money back sooner. The sooner you file, the sooner the IRS or your tax authority can process your return and issue your refund.
  • Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud: Filing your tax return early reduces the risk of someone fraudulently filing a return in your name. Tax-related identity theft has become a concern in recent years, and by filing early, you can beat potential scammers to the punch.
  • Financial Planning: By filing early, you have a clearer picture of your tax situation, which can be helpful for financial planning purposes. Knowing how much you owe or how much you’ll receive as a refund can assist in making informed decisions about savings, investments, and other financial matters.
  • Peace of Mind: Completing your taxes ahead of the deadline can provide a sense of relief and reduce stress. You won’t have to worry about meeting the tax filing deadline or dealing with the rush that often occurs closer to the deadline.
  • Resolving Issues Promptly: Filing early allows you to address any potential issues with your return promptly. If there are errors or missing information, you have more time to correct them before the deadline.
  • Applying for Loans or Financial Aid: Some financial institutions or educational institutions may require your tax information when applying for loans, grants, or financial aid. Filing early ensures that you have the necessary documentation available when needed.

ATO and MyGov: Your Portals to the Australian Tax System

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the government’s online service, MyGov, are your go-to resources for understanding and managing your Australian tax affairs. Make sure you set up your account on these platforms, as they provide accurate, up-to-date information about your tax obligations and entitlements.

Can You Lodge Tax Return Early in Australia?

Yes, you can lodge your tax return early in Australia. There are specific circumstances under which the ATO allows early tax return lodging, such as if you’re leaving Australia permanently, facing financial hardship, or if you’ve ceased being an Australian resident for tax purposes.

When Is the Earliest You Can Get a Tax Refund?

In Australia, the earliest you can lodge your tax return is July 1. However, if you qualify for an early tax return for one of the above reasons, you could get your tax refund earlier.

Early Tax Return for Financial Hardship

If you’re experiencing significant financial hardship, the ATO may allow you to lodge your tax return early. This scenario usually applies when you have no income for the remainder of the financial year.

Lodge Your Tax Return Early: Understanding Your Options

Knowing how to lodge your tax return early can help you plan ahead. Lodging your tax return early in Australia can be advantageous for various reasons. Here are some options and considerations to keep in mind:

  • myTax Online Service: The myTax online service provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allows individuals with straightforward tax affairs to complete and lodge their tax returns electronically. It opens on 1 July each year, but you can choose to lodge earlier if you have all the necessary information.
  • Registered Tax Agent: Engaging a registered tax agent is an option if you prefer professional assistance with your tax return. Tax agents are qualified professionals who can help you navigate the complexities of the tax system, ensure accurate reporting, and maximise any potential deductions or benefits.
  • Early Preparation: Gathering and organising your tax-related documents and information early can facilitate a smooth tax return lodgment process. This includes documents such as payment summaries, bank statements, receipts, and any other relevant records of income, expenses, or deductions.
  • Estimated Assessments: In certain situations, the ATO may issue an estimated assessment based on available information. This can occur if you have delayed lodging your tax return in the past or if the ATO believes you have a tax liability. By lodging your tax return early, you can prevent an estimated assessment and ensure accurate reporting of your income and deductions.
  • Refunds and Payment Obligations: Lodging your tax return early does not necessarily mean you will receive your refund earlier. The ATO processes tax returns in the order they are received, and processing times may vary. However, if you anticipate a refund, filing early can expedite the process. On the other hand, if you have a tax liability, lodging early provides more time to arrange payment before the due date.
  • Financial Planning and Budgeting: Filing your tax return early provides clarity on your tax situation, allowing you to plan your finances better. Knowing the outcome of your tax return can aid in budgeting, setting financial goals, and making informed decisions about savings, investments, or debt management.

How Do I Claim My Tax Rebate?

Claiming a tax rebate or refund is typically a straightforward process in Australia. Once you have lodged your tax return via MyGov, the ATO will calculate your refund and deposit it directly into your bank account.

Lodging Your Tax Return Early Can Be Beneficial

Being proactive and understanding how to lodge your early tax return in Australia for 2023 can offer numerous benefits. You’ll potentially access your refund quicker, have more time to prepare, and reduce stress knowing your tax affairs are in order.

Ready to lodge your tax return early and experience the benefits? Start your financial journey with us today!

Contact Odin Tax today to successfully lodge your tax returns in Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a few ways you might be able to get your tax return early in Australia, but it’s not always straightforward and depends on your specific circumstances. Here are the main options.

  • Lodge Your Tax Return Early: The official tax lodgement period for individuals runs from July 1st to October 31st. However, you can lodge your return as early as July 1st, which could potentially speed up the processing time and get you your refund sooner. Keep in mind that you’ll need all your income and deduction information ready to go before you lodge.
  • Request Priority Processing: If you’re experiencing severe financial hardship, you can contact the ATO and request priority processing for your tax return. This means they’ll move your return to the front of the queue for processing. You’ll need to provide documentation to support your claim of hardship, such as a Centrelink income statement or a letter from a doctor or social worker.
  • Use a Tax Agent: A registered tax agent can help you lodge your return electronically, which can often be faster than lodging it yourself. They may also be able to identify deductions or offsets that you might have missed, which could increase your refund amount. However, using a tax agent usually comes with a fee.
  • Early Access to Super: This is not technically a tax return, but if you’re experiencing severe financial hardship, you may be eligible for early access to your superannuation. This can provide you with a lump sum of money that you can use to cover your expenses. There are strict eligibility criteria for early access to super, so you’ll need to check with the ATO or your super fund to see if you qualify.
  • Tax Refund Loan Advance: This is a loan that some financial institutions offer that allows you to borrow a portion of your anticipated tax refund before you actually receive it. However, these loans typically come with high fees and interest rates, so they should only be considered as a last resort.

It’s important to remember that there is no guarantee that you will get your tax return early, even if you try one of these methods. The ATO processes millions of returns each year, and the timing can vary depending on a number of factors.

In Australia, if you qualify for an early tax return, you could get your tax refund earlier than the usual date of July 1.

Yes, you can file your tax return online using the ATO’s myTax system, which is a convenient and fast method.

Yes, under specific circumstances such as leaving Australia, facing financial hardship, or ceasing business operations, you can file taxes early.

If you realise a mistake after filing, you can submit an amended tax return to the ATO to correct the error.

A tax advance allows you to access your anticipated tax refund before the end of the financial year, under certain circumstances.

After lodging your tax return via MyGov, the ATO will calculate your refund and deposit it directly into your bank account.

A tax refund loan advance in Australia is essentially a loan that allows you to access part of your anticipated tax refund earlier than receiving it from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It’s important to understand that it’s not actually your refund you’re receiving, but a loan based on an estimate of what you might be due.

There are different types of tax refund loan advances offered by various providers, including fee-based advances, interest-based advances, and visa-specific advances.

The “estimated assessment issue date” you see in relation to taxes in Australia refers to the anticipated date the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will send you your Notice of Assessment (NOA). This document essentially outlines the outcome of your tax return, including:

  • Whether you will receive a refund or owe a debt.
  • The amount of the refund or debt.
  • A breakdown of how your tax liability was calculated.

It’s important to note that the estimated assessment issue date is just an estimate and not a guarantee. The actual date your NOA arrives may be sooner or later depending on various factors, such as:

  • The complexity of your tax return.
  • The workload of the ATO.
  • Any outstanding information or verification required from you.

However, having the estimated assessment issue date gives you a general idea of when to expect your NOA, which can be helpful for budgeting and planning purposes.

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