If you’re often fashionably late, this is one thing you want to be on time for: lodging your tax return.
Although it’s not common, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has prosecuted Aussies for failing to lodge their tax return by the 31 October deadline, and offenders could cop a whopping $8,500 fine or 12 months’ jail upon prosecution, according to H&R Block.
“Even though it’s not common, the ATO can and does prosecute for failing to lodge tax returns,” the H&R Block site states.
To be prosecuted, late lodgers would likely be repeat offenders.
"Our decision to take this type of action will not be treated lightly, so before any action commences we will notify you of our intentions (usually by phone and in writing) and allow you sufficient time to bring your overdue lodgments up to date," states the ATO website.
Back in 2018, 65-year-old Judith Ahearn from Geraldton was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence for failing to lodge 91 tax returns and business activity statements.
Ahearn’s sentence followed “years of warnings and notices”, the ATO said, as well as two previous court-imposed fines of $30,000 and $20,000.
“Despite our repeated attempts to engage with Mrs Ahearn to resolve her outstanding tax returns, she has shown a complete disregard for her basic obligations as a member of the Australian community,” ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic said.
But while prosecution is rare, you could still cop a late fee of up to $1,110, with taxpayers charged a $222 penalty unit for each period of 28 days that the return is overdue (for a maximum of five penalty units).
Again, you’d likely be a repeat offender to cop this fine.
“Generally we don't apply penalties in isolated cases of late lodgment. We'll warn you by phone or in writing if you've failed to lodge,” the ATO states.
“If we apply FTL (Failure To Lodge) penalty we'll send you a penalty notice stating the amount and due date of the penalty.”
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