ATO warning to 1.5 million Aussies: Last chance to avoid $275 fine

Aussies could be hit with a $275 fine if they fail to submit their tax return.

A crowd of people crossing the street in the Sydney CBD and someone filling out an ATO deductions form.
The ATO is still waiting for 1.5 million tax returns to be lodged from last year. (Source: Getty)

While most Aussies are preparing for tax season this year, around 1.5 million have yet to submit their tax returns from last year, according to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Aussies who use a tax agent have until May 15 to submit their taxes before potentially getting hit with a fine, so today is the last chance.

The ATO told Yahoo Finance around 60 per cent of individuals and 95 per cent of companies lodged their tax returns through a registered agent, and the majority were lodged on time.

However, around 9 per cent - or 1.5 million - tax returns remain outstanding, many of which are part of the agent program.

“Clients who have engaged a tax agent and are on the agent’s lodgment program may have additional time to lodge,” the ATO said.

“If you have not engaged a registered agent and you are not on the agent’s lodgment program, it is important to lodge as soon as you can, even if you have missed the due date.

“If you expect a tax bill, don't delay lodging. If you're finding it hard to pay on time, engage with us as early as possible.”

What happens if I miss the ATO deadline?

“We recognise that sometimes people don’t meet their lodgment obligations on time, even with the best intentions,” the ATO said.

“If clients have an obligation to lodge or report by a particular date and they miss the due date, they may receive a Failure to lodge (FTL) on time penalty. The penalty varies depending on the type of entity, and how late the return is.”

For a small business or an individual, the penalty is $275 every 28 days to a maximum of $1,375 for failing to lodge on time.

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