Centrelink tips for lodging your tax return

Many people lodge a tax return at tax time, which is from July to October every year. Whether you need to lodge one or not, there’s often something to do. 

Check if you need to lodge a tax return

The easiest way to check if you need to lodge one is by using the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool. It’s available at ato.gov.au from 1 July 2024. 

If you need to lodge, and you get payments from us or other income from employment, all these details should pre-fill in ATO myTax through myGov by late July. Using pre-filled information helps to avoid mistakes and the need to amend and resubmit your tax return. myTax will tell you when you’re tax ready.

Understanding what happens and what you may need to do at tax time  

If you get certain payments from us, you can check the amount and deductions for tax you made that financial year on your Centrelink payment summary. You can access this from early July in your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. Some payments don’t show on the payment summary and won’t pre-fill in ATO myTax. You might need to add them to your tax return yourself. This includes disaster and pandemic payments.

If you’re not eligible for Medicare for all or part of the financial year and want to claim the Medicare levy exemption, you can ask us for a Medicare Entitlement Statement (MES). You can claim from March, so claim early to avoid the rush. You need a MES to apply for the Medicare levy exemption in your tax return. The ATO will decide if you need to pay the Medicare levy.

If you get Family Tax Benefit (FTB) or Child Care Subsidy (CCS), we’ll balance your payments after you lodge your tax return, or you tell us online that you don’t need to lodge. What you need to do depends on the payment you get and your family’s circumstances. 

Watch out for scams

Scams and identity theft often increase during tax time. Scammers may tell you to click on a link or ask you to enter your myGov sign in details so they can steal your personal information. 

Be wary of emails, phone calls, texts and social media messages claiming to be from us, the ATO, myGov or another government department. If in doubt, don’t respond.   

To safely access your myGov account and linked services, use the official myGov app or sign in at my.gov.au. 

Prepare for 2024-25

There are things you can do to prepare for next financial year. This includes setting up a deduction for tax from your eligible Centrelink payment or updating your family income estimate, if you get FTB or CCS. 

Read more about how to prepare, what to do and what you can expect next at tax time at my.gov.au/taxtime

When do you prepare your tax return? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: How Centrelink views income from homestay students

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