Tax assistance to bushfire victims extended

January 23, 2020

The ATO has extended its package of tax assistance for people impacted by the bushfires in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania as part of the whole-of-government response to the disaster.

Taxpayers in impacted postcodes will now have until 28 May 2020 to lodge and pay their business activity statements and income tax returns. Impacted businesses that pay their PAYG instalments quarterly will also be allowed to vary these instalments to zero for the December 2019 quarter and claim a refund for any instalments made in the September 2019 quarter. The ATO estimates that 3.5 million businesses, individuals and self-managed superannuation funds will qualify for this extension.

The ATO:

  • is fast tracking any refunds due to taxpayers in the impacted regions
  • is remitting any interest and penalties applied to tax debts since the commencement of the bushfires that have been applied to accounts of individuals and businesses located in impacted regions
  • will not be initiating any debt recovery action for those taxpayers in affected areas with a tax debt or outstanding obligation until at least 28 May 2020
  • will consider releasing individuals and businesses from income tax and FBT debts if they are experiencing serious hardship.

Affected taxpayers can vary their income tax instalments to nil without penalties. This also applies if taxpayers end up in a tax payable situation for that quarter once they have lodged their tax return.

The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) will also allow tax practitioners affected by the bushfires more time to lodge their registration renewals.

Duty and land tax relief is also available for taxpayers in South Australia affected by the bushfire