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Guide to Lodging Tax Returns for the First Time

Over 13 million working Australians file their tax return every year. If it is your first time to lodge, it is understandably confusing. However, once you are through with the process, it should no longer be as complicated as it seems. wants to help you lodge as stress-free as possible.

The key to successful lodging is to make sure that you start early. Aim to file on time and understand all the requirements. Finally, you should have accurate figures in the documents you send.

Before you proceed, though, you should first know whether or not you are among those who need to file a tax return. If your answer to any of the following questions is “yes,” then you should begin lodging your tax return this year:

mobile couple lodging tax for first time

  • Are you employed or self-employed with earnings amounting to more than $18,200?
  • Was tax deducted from the payments you received, including wages, during this financial year?
  • Are you a foreign resident who has earned more than $1 in the country?
  • Did you pay the Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment? Note that it does not take your income into account.
  • Do you run a business?
  • Are you a taxpayer who earns less than $18,200, and tax is withheld from your earnings?
  • Are you a taxpayer whom the Commissioner asked to submit a tax return?
  • Are you a minor who is under 18 years old on 30 June? Do you receive income from distributions or dividends that exceed $416? Were credits attached, or was your tax withheld?

If you did answer “yes” to at least one of the questions above, the next step is to know when you should file a tax return. You only need to take note of the tax year. It covers the dates from 1 July to 30 June. Every year, you should lodge on 31 October.

You can send the required documents on your own. However, if you find the process too overwhelming or you have a busy schedule, you can always hire a tax agent. Aside from the convenience of freeing yourself from the whole process, you can also get the advantage of getting a later deadline. Of course, you need to provide all the required documents and information at least several weeks in advance of 31 October. This way, you ensure that your tax is filed properly.

tax lodging expenses first time mobile

Quick Tips for Teens, Part-Timers, or Apprentices

Having your first job is liberating, but you should not forget about your duties, including filing your taxes. Here are some things to understand:

  • Your tax rates could be higher if you are under 18
  • Excepted persons will be taxed the same way as the adults
  • Excepted income will also have the same rate as other workers
  • International students will need to lodge a tax return based on their assessable income
  • Part-timers often have their taxes deducted through PAYG, but tax refunds can be obtained if revenue is lower than $18,200.

Salaries, wages, allowances, and bonuses should all be declared as part of assessable income.

Comprehensive Step by Step Guide for First-Time Lodgers

Lodging your tax return for the first time can be a bewildering experience. However, it is much simpler when you know what to do. If you need guidance, you have come to the right place. We will give you the steps in lodging for the first time. Let’s start:

Basically, the tax file number or TFN is your own reference number. It is used in both tax and super systems. TFNs are essential in lodging your tax because they serve as identification, aside from your identity. Therefore, you should keep it secure and have it ready when filing your tax.

If you do not have your TFN yet, you can apply through the Australia Post, a Services Australia centre, or by post. For foreign nationals and Australians who live outside the country, there are specific rules to follow.

Our guide will help you understand more about the tax file number.

Your Bank State Branch (BSB) number is the identification of banks and their branches in the country. You will know you have the correct BSB number if it has six digits. One easy way to see if you have the right number is to check it online. Just type the location of the branch and click on it.

If you have the number, you can also type the BSB instead to get the details of the bank and branch. Often, you use the BSB number when you need someone to transfer funds to your bank account. Therefore, it is the number you give to the sender.

Along with the Bank State Branch number is the bank account number itself. You can look for it on your bank statement. You will need this piece of information, along with the other two mentioned above, to proceed with your tax application.

There are three main ways to fill out the form:

  • Log into your myGov account and get the form there.
  • Get a copy of the form from the website of the Australian Taxation Office and print it.
  • Order a copy to receive the form right into your mailbox.

Let us first talk about the first method where you can lodge your tax online. Use the myTax service by creating or logging into your myGov account. Follow this link to create one now. Make sure that the username and password are secure. It will serve as your account to access different government services. It helps if you add your phone number so that you can sign in using the code you will receive. It adds an extra layer of protection. If you already have your myGov account, but you forgot the password, recover it here. For those who forgot their username, resetting the account is found here. The next step is to link your myGov account to the Australian Taxation Office. Here’s how:
  • Go to the Services tab on the myGov homepage.
  • Click the link for the Australian Taxation Office.
  • You will need to update how you sign-in by adding your mobile phone if you have not done so.
  • Provide the other needed information to confirm your identity, such as your full name, TFN, and birthdate.
  • You will be asked a couple more questions to confirm further who you are. You will be asked specific questions, such as information coming from your latest PAYG payments, notices of assessment, dividends statements, or super account statements.
If linking your account seems to be a problem because you lack some of the requirements, you can call the ATO to get a linking code instead. You will still have to provide your TFN, Medicare card, or driver’s licence. Once linked, you can access the form and fill it out.

The second method is to download and print the tax return. You can get a copy straight from the ATO website.

Finally, the third option is best for those who do not have a printer. To get a copy of the form, you can order a packet from the ATO office. Online ordering is available, and you will get instructions, along with two copies of the tax return form. You can also get a copy by calling 1300 720 092.
  • Rental income
  • Foreign source income
  • Partnership or trust distributions
  • Capital gains
For people with personal services income, you will need to lodge the business and professional items schedule. It is also required for those who have net income or loss from their business. Deferred business losses (non-commercial) apply as well.

Note that ordering copies of the supplementary section, along with the business and professional items schedule, will not include any instructions. You can only obtain them online through your myTax account.

Lodging online is perhaps the fastest and easiest way. You will need to answer certain questions to get started, such as your income and deductions for the financial year. A pre-filled questionnaire is available to help you fill out the blanks quickly.

You will need to enter information about your income, which you can obtain from your employer or bank. In some cases, you may consult government agencies to get everything correctly. Ensure that you have checked all data against your own records.

  • Log into your myGov account and get the form there.
  • Get a copy of the form from the website of the Australian Taxation Office and print it.
  • Order a copy to receive the form right into your mailbox.
  • Income statements
  • Bank statements
  • Shares or unit trust statements
  • Rental property records
  • Foreign pension or income documents
  • Private health insurance documents

The form is the same as the one you can find online. Fill it out slowly and carefully so you do not make any mistakes. You will need to provide the Australian Business Number of your employer if you get your income from an employer.

If you submit the paper form, double-check it to make sure everything you have entered is correct. Any discrepancies will delay the processing of your tax return. Use a black ink pen and write in block letters. For boxes that need a yes or no answer, place a neat X in the appropriate box.

Claiming deductions is easy if you can list your unreimbursed work-related expenses, which can include:

  • Travel costs for trips to another workplace
  • Full-time or part-time workers who work from home with a computer, Internet, and other similar expenses
  • Uniform purchases, repairs, or hire
  • Self-education expenses
  • Union dues

For a complete list of the deductions that you can claim, you can go to our checklists here.

After thoroughly checking and confirming that you have all the right information on paper or your online application, you can lodge it now.

What if you realised that you had made a mistake after hitting the submit button? The solution is to file an amendment using your myGov account. You can also use this method if you remember that you missed something and you need to add it. Delays should be expected at this point, but you can minimise it by filing for the amendment after you have received your notice of assessment.

If you chose the paper option, you would need to mail the form and the documents directly to the ATO. There is a pre-addressed envelope if you have ordered a packet, which you will use for sending the return. Otherwise, you can address it to the Australian Taxation Office, GPO Box 9845, name and postcode of the capital city of your territory or state.

first tax return


Make everything more manageable with the help of a tax agent. A registered agent can do the filing for you. Ensure that you meet or talk to the agent about your tax return before 31 October. This way, there is plenty of time to compile all the required documents and resources. Deadline extensions can be granted if you use an agent. can aid you in lodging your tax return for the first time. Our agent will request certain details, including your financial situation, income, and other information. Answer all the questions correctly and honestly to make the whole process easier. If you have questions yourself, we will promptly give you the answers or help find them for you.

Prepare your taxes with us. Contact today.

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