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Australia Promises Simpler Tax Filing Process

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From July 1, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will provide online and substantially pre-prepared tax returns for those without complex tax affairs.

The changes will be introduced as part of the Government's new MyTax initiative. It is designed to reduce the amount of time needed to prepare and lodge an income tax return. The ATO will prefill certain tax returns with information provided by other organizations, such as banks and employers. Taxpayers will then review or change the data before lodging their return.

MyTax will be run wholly online, and will not require software download and installation. Taxpayers will receive a text message or an email from the ATO advising that it may be right for them.

Taxpayers will be able to use the system if they were an Australian resident for the financial year and have income only from salary, wages, allowances, bank interest, dividends and/or Australian government payments. Their only deductions must come from work-related expenses, or expenses related to interest or dividend income, donations and/or the costs of managing their tax affairs. Finally, the only offsets they wish to claim must be limited to the senior and pensioner tax offset and/or zone and overseas forces tax offset.

Taxpayers will be ineligible if they have any of the following: business income or losses; rental properties; partnerships or trusts; capital gains or losses; foreign income; lump sum payments; employee share schemes, or superannuation income streams and superannuation lump sum payments.