Date posted: 22/04/2020

Tax return and payment deadlines deferred by ATO

The tax return and tax payment deferral arrangements announced by the ATO today will be a welcomed relief for hard pressed Australians, businesses and tax agents.

Previously due on 15 May 2020, lodgement and payment has been automatically deferred for 2019 company and SMSF income tax returns. Income tax returns for individuals, partnerships and trusts must be lodged by 5 June 2020 under a 'pay and file' approach.

Chartered Accountants across the nation are currently flat out helping battling Australian businesses with access to Cashflow Boost and JobKeeper entitlements, says CA ANZ's Australian Tax Leader, Michael Croker.

"Immediate cash in the door stimulus measures are obviously important, but more so is holistic advice on how to survive the COVID-19 crisis in the long-term," said Mr Croker.

"Businesses need our support with negotiations with lenders and landlords, identifying cost savings, shoring-up those income streams that remain available and identifying new business models for a post-COVID-19 economy".

Since the revised lodgment and payment dates still fall within the same financial year ending 30 June 2020, taxpayers are urged not to let their tax obligations slip beyond that date.

"More than ever, Australia needs a well-functioning tax system and the ATO's tolerance for missing lodgment and payment deadlines can only extend so far," said Mr Croker.

"For those businesses struggling to find the cash to pay their tax, your Chartered Accountant can negotiate a tax debt payment plan with the ATO who are generally sympathetic to such requests, but usually only if the tax return lodgments are up to date."

"The worst thing a taxpayer struggling with the financial impact of COVID-19 can do is hide and hope the ATO goes away."

Mr Croker expressed appreciation to the ATO officials who worked on the deferral project with professional associations.

"CA ANZ recognises the enormous pressures on the ATO at the moment. The ATO isn't just a tax collector: it's a COVID-19 cash distributor and the eyes and ears of government. Data contained in tax returns is vital to good policy decision-making and administration."

From 1 July 2020, Mr Croker said many tax agents will again be flat out helping individual clients prepare and lodge their 2020 personal income tax returns to access any refund entitlements. 

Further details on tax return and payment deferrals

  1. Lodgment and payment deferrals will be automatically applied to the following obligations that were due on 15 May 2020:
    • Company 2018-19 income tax returns will now be due by 5 June 2020
    • SMSF 2018-19 annual returns will now be due by 30 June 2020.
  2. 2018-19 income tax returns for individuals, partnerships and trusts can be lodged by the 5 June 2020 concessional due date, provided your clients pay any liability by this date.
  3. The lodgment due date for the annual 2020 FBT return for clients that are paper lodgers will be automatically deferred to 25 June 2020. The payment due date for all annual 2020 FBT returns will also be deferred to 25 June 2020, giving all lodgers further time to pay.

Support for tax professionals

Read more about the deferrals on the ATO website

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