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How to amend your tax return if you've made a mistake

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There can be few feelings more dispiriting than the realisation that you've made a mistake on your tax return after you've lodged it.

There are a number of common errors people make.

Many forget to include income such as interest from a bank account or from a previous job; deductions such as motor vehicle or rental property expenses; income from sources such as trusts, investments and capital gains; and additional information relating to the Medicare levy or surcharge.

amend your tax return

Whatever the reason, the last thing you want is to have the ATO getting in touch to audit you because it has spotted a discrepancy.

Thankfully, it is possible - and these days increasingly easy - to make changes to your tax return after you've lodged it.

The ATO allows you to amend your tax return in most cases up to two years after you have received your notice of assessment in relation to the original return.

You can either do this online through your MyGov account or by post, or you can get your tax agent to do it.

When you amend your tax return and lodge it, it is essential you clearly explain why you made the mistake or the reason for the change.

If the amendment results in you paying more tax, the amount of any penalty will, in most cases, be reduced (or remitted altogether) because you have voluntarily disclosed the error or omission.

The important thing is that as soon as you realise the information you have reported to the ATO is no longer accurate, you act to correct it.

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Mark Chapman is director of tax communications at H&R Block, Australia's largest firm of tax accountants, and is a regular contributor to Money. Mark is the author of Life and Taxes: A Look at Life Through Tax.
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