Decades of Overdue Tax Returns Appear on ATO Online – Software


Taxpayers are encouraged to submit overdue tax returns that date back decades after the Australian Taxation Office updated its online portal for the 2020 tax period.

Reports of the peculiarity emerged this month, when Australians keen to submit their 2019-20 fiscal year tax returns were alarmed to find one or more “late” returns.

Unpaid returns appear in the “for action” box on the ATO’s online services platform for individuals, which previously displayed deposit information for the past three years only.

This meant that the section appeared up-to-date even when there were years when the ATO files were incomplete and a return or no-accommodation notice had not been filed.

A spokesperson said iTnews the “for action” box had “been updated to show all overdue income tax returns or activity returns rather than the past three years.”

The ministry said the changes were made “in response to comments from taxpayers that only showing bonds from the past three years was misleading.”

“The information relates to the income years in which the taxpayer has neither filed a return nor informed the ATO that he does not need to file a return for that year,” he said.

But the years labeled “overdue” in the “for action” box include years where no income tax return or “no-home notice” request has been filed.

This includes years when a person did not generate any income, but was registered with a tax file number.

“Overdue” years also include those beyond the ATO’s suggested five-year retention period for records.

The changes come as the ATO faces one of its toughest tax times in years, with Australians rushing to submit their tax returns early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of July 9, nearly a million people had would have filed their statements.

The ATO said all taxpayers affected by overdue returns should check whether they need to submit a return or just provide no-housing advice.

This can be done by the ‘do I need to house the tool’ on the ATO website or by contacting a customer service representative.

“Taxpayers can still file their 2020 tax return even if they have pending returns for previous years,” the spokesperson added.


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