Don’t Go to Jail! Here’s What to Do If You Have Failed to File a Tax Return

We all have good intentions when it comes to filing our tax returns on time.However, sometimes situations occur in life which prevent you from doing so in a timely manner. So, what do you do if you have failed to file your tax return on time?

Firstly, you may be served with an FTL penalty notice. A failure to lodge penalty details your failure to complete and send in your tax returns on time. It is issued when an approved form is not received by a specific date.

If you used a registered agent to file your taxes for you, the penalty can in some cases be cancelled if the lack of submission wasn’t your fault. If the reason for a late tax return was down to the agent, unless they are seen to have being intentionally disregarding the law, you can apply for safe haven provision. This means that the failure to lodge penalty notice, can in effect be cancelled, if you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you gave your tax agent all of the documentation well before the date your taxes were due.

Usually you will receive prior warning if you are to receive a FTL penalty, either verbally or via letter. As a general rule a penalty won’t be applied to people who lodged the following approved forms later than the due date: tax returns, annual goods and services tax, and fringe benefits tax returns if they will result in a tax refund, or you show a zero result, in which you don’t owe anything nor are you applying for tax post here!

If you know that you are unable to lodge your tax returns within the agreed time frame the first thing to do is contact your local tax office and explain the situation. Do this as soon as you are aware that you may be a little late filing, and ask about receiving an extension.

If you are a few days past the due date to submit your tax returns, an FTL – failure to lodge penalty will be applied. The tax offices do however take into account any delays to postal services or transmission errors which may occur during your submission.go to website from

If you are way past the due date for your tax return, your FTL penalty will be calculated from the date your documents were due and will accrue daily. If you have already spoken with your tax office regarding an extension – and you have still not managed to file on time, the penalty will be calculated from the agreed extension date onwards.

If you are served with an FTL penalty you can apply for remittance in part payments or in full.

Tax Return

Failure to present your tax returns on time can be avoided if you plan in advance, organisations such as can assist you in ensuring you aren’t hit with any penalties and you keep on the right side of the law. There is no getting around things, tax returns will need to be paid – regardless of when, you will always have to pay what you owe. It’s better to get things right and communicate with the tax office if you foresee an issue rather than ignore it, because unfortunately it won’t go away.