MoneyTalk Member Liz asks: “How much can I earn without putting in a tax return?”

The short, short answer is the tax free threshold ­— $18,200 — but of course it’s not as simple as that (sigh). The Australian Taxation Office is a government bureaucracy after all…  🙂

Assuming you are an Australian resident over 18 years of age (at the end of the financial year, i.e. as at 30 June) who earned any income at all, a number of other ‘events’ may trigger the need to lodge a tax return.

These include:

  • eligibility for the seniors and pensioners tax offset
  • receipt of an Australian Government taxable allowance or payment (e.g. Newstart, Youth allowance, Austudy, parenting payments, and partner or sickness allowances)
  • any tax withheld from any Australian income
  • any PAYG tax installments paid
  • any business or investment income or loss
  • any superannuation contributions or distributions (employer or personal)
  • receipt of any reportable fringe benefits amount
  • entitlement to the private health insurance rebate (if you did not claim the rebate as a premium reduction and if a spouse is not claiming it)
  • any exempt foreign employment income and $1 or more of other income
  • a child support assessment.


…but you have previously lodged returns, you’re still not entirely off the hook. You should submit a “Non-lodgment Advice” to the Australian Taxation Office.

…and are doing it yourself (rather than via a tax agent), you need to lodge it by 31 October or you could face a penalty.

Better safe than sorry

If you think you may not need to lodge a return, we suggest you double check. Spend a few minutes using the Australian Taxation Office’s Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool.

What are your thoughts?

Is there anything else you’d like to know about income tax?

Join the conversation — leave a comment below and let us know what you’re thoughts are.

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