by Darryl Budge
ATO announces simplified tax return
Australian taxpayers who have simple tax affairs now have access to an easier 10-screen online personal income tax return called MyTax.
Go to www.my.gov.au to access MyTax, which is also available on tablets and smartphones, or to download e-tax, a more complex 200-screen program for Windows or Mac OS.
To use MyTax, you must first register at my.gov.au, the portal for the Australian Tax Office and Centrelink, and link your account to your tax file number.
By filing using MyTax or e-tax, the tax return can be 'pre-filled' with your previous tax return and with information provided by your bank, employer, government agencies and others.
Be aware that it takes the Tax Office until early August to gather the 'pre-filled' information, so you are best waiting until then to do a self-prepared online tax return.
The deadline for lodging self-prepared tax returns is October 31. If you use a registered tax agent you are usually eligible for a later deadline of up to May, 2015. The ATO can apply penalties of up to $170 a month for late lodgement.
What is myGov? A fast, simple and secure online portal to government services, which has replaced Australia.gov.au. Across the bottom of my.gov.au are direct links to members services if you do not wish to create a myGov account.
Creating a myGov account lets you link a range of Australian Government services with one username and password, and it has the following features:
- myGov Inbox: A central and secure inbox where you can elect to receive messages from Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support (plus more services in future). Messages can include online letters, statements and other types of important information. You can be alerted to new messages via email or SMS. (To return to posted mail, specify so in the 'Send us a message' option in your Child Support service, or 'Electronic Messaging and Letters' section in your linked Centrelink service.)
- myGov Profile: Helps you keep your personal details up-to-date and will allow you to make the most of new features, like Tell us Once, that will be introduced to myGov in the future.
- A 'Personally Controlled eHealth Record System' gives you access to a personally managed electronic summary of your health records known as your eHealth record. More info at eHealth.gov.au.
- ProfileSync: If you make a change to your legal name and/or date of birth with a linked Profile member service, it will update your myGov Profile and any other linked profile member services (but not non-profile member services). Other changes, like marital status or address cannot be updated through your myGov Profile.
- Link with a growing range of government services: Medicare, Centrelink, Australian Taxation Office (the newest myGov member service), Child Support, National Disability Insurance Scheme, and Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Need the myGov helpdesk? Contact a member service for specific info about their service, but for myGov questions, ask their helpdesk. Available 7am-7pm, Monday-Friday in local Australian time zones. Call 13 23 07 and select Option 1.