The tax deadlines you need to know


Every year millions of residents and non-residents in Australia are required to submit a tax return to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), either by themselves or through a registered tax agent.

In fact, as of the end of April, the ATO had received more than 13.7 million tax returns from individuals for the previous financial year, including roughly 5.6 million from those who had prepared their returns themselves and eight million which had been filed by a tax agent.

Let's face it though, preparing a tax return can be a frustrating and sometimes confusing process, but knowing the key dates involved can help.

tax dates you need to know

So read on for a run through of the major tax dates and deadlines in Australia that you'll need to know about, as well as answers to some other commonly-asked tax questions.

Key tax dates for 2024

  • June 30: Last day of the financial year
  • July 1: Taxpayers can start to prepare and lodge their tax returns
  • July 14: Final date for most employers to lodge their income statement data
  • October 31: Lodgement deadline for individuals preparing their own tax returns

When can I lodge a 2024 tax return in Australia?

The 2023-24 financial year ends on June 30, which means that tax season in Australia officially starts on July 1. That's when taxpayers can, in theory, begin lodging their tax returns.

Although it may be tempting to get cracking on your tax return straight away if you're doing it yourself - especially if you're expecting a refund - the ATO recommends waiting until the end of July to lodge it.

That's because it can take a couple of weeks or longer for your income statement to be marked as 'tax ready' by your employer. So if you jump the gun and lodge it before that's been done you may just end up having to amend your return.

What is the due date to submit a 2024 tax return?

While tax returns can be lodged from July onwards, the critical date for individual taxpayers to mark in their calendar is actually October 31.

For anyone preparing their own tax return, this is the date that it needs to be lodged before. People lodging their return with the help of a tax agent will also need to have engaged the agent before that date (though agents have more flexibility when it comes to when they'll need to submit a return).

What happens if I miss the October 31 tax deadline?

If, for whatever reason, you're unable to lodge your tax return by October 31, the tax office recommends getting in contact with them as early as possible to work out a solution.

Not lodging a return before the deadline could result in a fine (starting from $313), or even firmer action from the ATO like a default assessment penalty or even prosecution.

How long will it take for my 2024 tax return to be processed?

Most tax returns that are lodged online take less than two weeks to process, according to the ATO, although it could take longer if any manual checking needs to be done.

It's also possible to check the status of the return as it's being processed via the ATO's app, through the myGov portal, or by checking in with your tax agent if you've used one.

If you're due a refund and you've already provided your bank account details to the ATO then the money will be transferred directly into your nominated account. If you have a tax bill you'll be provided with a payment due date on your notice of assessment.

What are the tax rates for 2023-24?

For the 2023-24 financial year, Australian residents fall into one of five income brackets (including the tax-free bracket), each with their own tax rate.

However, from July 1, 2024, a new set of income brackets and tax rates will come into effect for the 2024-25 financial year as part of the stage three tax cut reforms outlined by the government in January.

Is it worth making a voluntary super contribution by June 30?

Australians are able to make voluntary contributions towards their superannuation throughout the year, but given that investment earnings in super are generally taxed at 15%, some choose to make contributions before the end of the financial year in order to be able to claim a tax deduction.

The financial year ends on June 30, but given the potential processing time, those looking to make a contribution before the financial year wraps up will want to give it a bit of extra time.

Just remember that for the 2023-24 financial year the concessional contribution cap is $27,500, which includes employer contributions.

When should I make a voluntary HECS-HELP payment?

Like voluntary super payments, Australians with outstanding student loan balances (like HECS-HELP debt) are free to make a voluntary repayment at any point throughout the year.

Those with the money to spare who are thinking about paying off their outstanding balance in full may want to consider doing so before June 1 though, which is when the indexation rate is applied (and even a few days prior to that date to account for processing time.

By doing so, former students will avoid the indexation rate, plus they may receive an additional tax credit come tax time if the compulsory repayments that were withheld by their employer throughout the year were larger than their outstanding debt.

For more, pick up the June issue of Money, featuring our cover story on how to max your tax return, out now!

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Tom Watson is a senior journalist at Money magazine, and one of the hosts of the Friends With Money podcast. He's previously worked as a journalist covering everything from property and consumer banking to financial technology. Tom has a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Technology, Sydney.