How to catch up if you haven’t filed your taxes

If you are late to file your tax return, the problem can be sorted out faster with the help of a tax professional. Find out more from a tax accountant in Brisbane.

Lots of small business owners and individuals either forget about or don’t get around to lodging their taxes for years. When things start to catch up with them, they respond by continuing to ignore the problem.

Unfortunately, this makes things worse. And the issue doesn’t go away.

Take a look at how to catch up if you haven’t filed your taxes, with the help of tips from a Brisbane tax accountant.

1. Stop ignoring the situation

When it comes to taxes, a problem ignored is not a problem solved.

The ATO keeps records and they will get around to you if you haven’t lodged your tax return. This has become much easier for them with the rise of digital record keeping. Artificial Intelligence can rapidly identify who has a tax file number but hasn’t filed their taxes and automatically take steps to follow up with you.

Fail to lodge and you can be fined up to $1,110 for individuals and considerably more for companies. In extreme cases, you may even find yourself in court.

Read more: What happens if I don’t lodge a tax return

Pre-empt a phone call or letter from the Government and there will be fewer repercussions so act now and get a tax accountant in Brisbane or one in your local area to help you figure out the best next step.

2. Get started

The most important thing is to stop putting it off looking at your tax return and get it done.

Here is some information that will help put your mind at ease:

  • – If you are only late by a few months you may even be able to apply for an extension
  • – If you have good reasons for filing late, natural disaster, or bereavement, the ATO is generally very forgiving
  • – If your return is overdue you may need to pay a penalty but the sooner you get it done the less the penalty will be.

To lodge your tax return, you will need evidence of your income and your work-related expenses. Head over to the ATO website to see what information you need to gather to get started.

It is possible to do everything yourself through the ATO online but that may feel quite intimidating and may not yield the best results. The better option is to seek professional help.

3. Find an Accountant

Speaking of professionals, reach out to a tax accountant in Brisbane or wherever you live and let them know what’s going on.

A good tax accountant will know exactly what to do and how to handle your late return on your behalf.

It is often the case that people are worried that they no longer have the information that they need to file a return that might be a few years old. An accountant knows how to fill in these gaps, get you the best possible rebate, and minimise any penalties you may incur.

If you’re worried about penalties, your accountant will be able to negotiate with the ATO on your behalf. For instance, it is possible to get a payment plan to repay any taxes you may owe. Having a good accountant on your side is essential to get the best possible results and minimise the amount you have to pay.

Case Study

Here’s why it makes sense to get help with a late tax return.

‘Bill’ has a business as a sole trader and generates $150,000 in income per year. He hasn’t filed a tax return in three years. He incorrectly assumed that he would owe $45,000 for each year and is worried he could never pay that amount.

His accountant showed him that once he calculated his expenses, his actual taxable income was closer to $90,000 each year. This meant the yearly tax bill was closer to an average of $27,000.

Bill knew he would have to pay back the money. His accountant negotiated with the tax department on his behalf and it was agreed that Bill would pay in monthly installments. His tax accountant also arranged for him to pay a set amount of tax each quarter going forward so he won’t fall behind again.

Mobbs & Company are tax accountants with offices on the Sunshine Coast, in Brisbane and Caboolture. Contact us for a free initial appointment.

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