The ATO has given the green light for taxpayers with uncomplicated financial affairs to lodge their returns. It says that the information it collects from employers, banks, private health insurers, share registries and other institutions has now been pre-filled and is ready to go on either myTax (accessed through myGov) if you’re lodging your own return, or through tax portals of registered agents, if you’re using those services.
The ATO notes that income such as amounts from rental properties, government payments, capital gains from the sale of investments, or other income from “side hustles” – in particular sharing economy platforms and any cash received for work performed – can’t be pre-filled, so will need to be manually entered. There are multiple current ATO data-matching programs running, for example in the areas of residential property and ride-sourcing, so it’s important to get your income reporting right the first time this year.
You should also be aware of some changes this year which may negatively affect the amount of refund you receive, and in some cases may result in tax amounts payable. These include the cessation of the low and middle income tax offset (LMITO), and the replacement of the “shortcut” method for calculating working from home (WFH) with the revised fix rate method, which allows claiming 67 cents per hour instead of 80 cents for each hour you work from home.
Due to these and other changes, the ATO reminds that the initial tax estimate you receive from myTax or your registered tax agent may not match the final tax outcome. It’s best to wait for your finalised notice of assessment before making any plans for spending an anticipated tax refund.