Xero Head of Accounting
Important note: All information is current as of early August 2017. This article is aimed at promoting general awareness of tax dates and deadlines only.
A 2017 tax return is for income earned between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017. It is sometimes called the 2016-17 return. The 2018 tax return is for income earned between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018.
We’ve broken out the key dates for businesses, followed by individuals.
Key tax deadlines for small business owners
If you pay GST monthly
Lodge and pay your monthly activity statements by the 21st of the following month.
December month lodgement and payment is due on 21 February 2018, the same date as January lodgement and payment, if you lodge electronically.
If you pay GST quarterly
Lodge and pay your quarterly BAS by the 28th of the following month if you lodge by paper. If you lodge electronically you may qualify for a two-week deferral.
Tax professionals lodging electronically can lodge and pay by the 25th of the second succeeding month, e.g. for the first quarter of 2017-18 they can lodge and pay by 25 November.
December quarter lodgement and payment is due on 28 February 2018 for all lodgement methods.
Superannuation guarantee contributions
If you pay quarterly superannuation guarantee contributions, lodge and pay them by the 28th of the following month.
December quarter lodgement and payment is due 28 January 2018.
You may receive a quarterly GST or PAYG instalment notice (or both) instead of a BAS. If so, you pay your quarterly instalment notice (form R, S, or T) by the 28th of the following month. Lodge the notice only if you vary the instalment amount.
December quarter lodgement and payment is due on 28 February 2018.
If you elect to pay annual PAYG instalments, you pay your annual PAYG instalment notice (Form N) by 21 October 2017. Lodge only if you vary the instalment amount or use the rate method to calculate the instalment.
Company income tax
Small companies that are self-preparing and with no previous due dates must pay income tax for the 2016-17 financial year by 28th February 2018.
Help with deadlines
Owners of small businesses can reduce their stress and sometimes their tax bill associated by outsourcing tax and other compliance issues to an accountant or bookkeeper. And if you use Xero, your accountant or bookkeeper can collaborate with you online – to help not only with your business’s tax but also with invoicing, bank reconciliation, time-saving apps and more.
This summary does not include dates related to specific industries, consolidated groups, self-managed superannuation funds or payments related to trust arrangements. Users should consult the Australian Tax Office site for more details on tax deadlines.
Key tax deadlines for individuals
People who lodge their returns through a tax agent have later deadlines than those filing on their own. If you need more time, you may wish to use a tax agent. Note that you must be registered with the agent and on his or her client client list before 31 October. This will not only help you avoid late fees, but will help to reduce stress and avoid errors in your return.
If doing your own 2016-17 return: 31 October 2017
If you complete your own personal income tax return, you must lodge a 2016-17 income tax return by 31 October 2017, or risk incurring late tax return penalties. If you are using a registered tax agent, you have much longer (see below).
When must you pay?
If you do your own tax and lodge by the deadline, you’ll need to pay (that is, “payment will be due”) by the later of these two dates:
- 21 days after the deadline
- 21 days after you’re assumed to have received your notice of assessment. (The Tax Office assumes you’re received your notice three days after they send it.)
But if you do your own tax and lodge after the deadline, payment is simply due 21 days after the deadline. So if you are more than 21 days late, you need to pay immediately.
If lodging through a tax agent: 15 May 2018
If a registered tax agent is preparing your return, then things can be very different:
- You may have until 15 May 2018 to have your return lodged.
- In come cases your return can be lodged even later – up to 5 June 2018 – and the Tax Office will waive late penalties, as long as you also pay by that same date.
A few other situations have special deadlines.
For instance, if you have had problems with lodging your return in the past, you may still have to lodge on 31 October 2017, even if you are registered with an accountant.
Even more details
The Tax Office site has even more details on deadlines here.