Charles Sturt University logo
Tax time Q&A

Tax time Q&A

by Claire Sams

Paying taxes can be annoying and confusing, but they are an integral part of being an adult. Check out this Q&A full of resources from the Australian Tax Office to help you become a finance boss:

Q: Do I need to pay taxes or lodge a tax return?

A: The ATO’s guidelines can help determine your eligibility to lodge a tax return. If any of these apply to you, you should submit a tax return:

  • Has tax been deducted from your income?
  • Are you an Australian resident? And was your income was more than the tax-free threshold?
  • Are you a foreign resident? Did you earn more than $1 in Australia?
  • Will you be leaving Australia permanently or for more than one financial year?

Tip: use their tax return calculator to see what applies specifically to you!

Q: How much money do I pay?

A: The amount of tax you pay can seem complicated, but don’t freak out! It’s based on your income per financial year, so the more you earn, the more tax you pay. If your income is…

  • Below or at $18 200: you come under the tax–free threshold and don’t need to pay anything. Submit a non–lodgment advice form to confirm why you aren’t paying tax.
  • More than $18 201: you must pay income tax and lodge a tax return.

Q: How do I actually do my taxes?

A: You can lodge a tax return yourself online or pay an agent to do it for you:

  • Online: Use the ATO’s MyTax software It’s available 24/7, works similar to online banking and most information may be pre-filled by your employer or bank. It’s convenient and saves you dollars!
  • Agents: Taxes are stressful, and it helps to have an expert with you. Check that your tax agent is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board. With a minor fee, it’ll save you time and energy!

Q: What is a tax refund vs a tax debt?

A: A tax refund is when you’ve paid more tax than you should have. The difference will be refunded back to you, so you’ll have a small sum to spend or save!
A tax debt is when you haven’t paid enough taxes. It sounds scary but don’t flee the country! The ATO will notify and guide you through. It’s only an issue if you refuse to pay.

Q: When are taxes due?

A: The last day that you can file your taxes is October 31 (yep, we know it’s getting closer and closer). Follow the ATO’s timeline of important dates to stay on track!

Q: What if I can’t pay my taxes?

A: Life happens, we get it. Let the ATO know as early as possible if you’re having issues. Do not leave this to the last minute! Tax Help is a group of volunteers who are trained and accredited by the ATO to help you. Their free and confidential service is available between now and October. The ATO can also make a payment plan for you.

The government does not want you to be stressed and confused when it comes to taxes! So, visit the ATO and get those taxes done.

This is an SSAF funded initiative
Write for Charlie Graphic