Natural disasters take an incredible toll emotionally, physically and financially. In times like this, it’s vital to know your entitlements and where you can go for help.
If yourself or a loved one has been affected by natural disaster, please read our guide below for assistance.
Need more time to lodge, pay or respond to the ATO?
- Do you need more time to lodge? Speak to your tax provider and explain your situation. Your tax agent will be able to apply for an extension on your behalf with the ATO. No penalties should apply if the ATO approve.
- When you’re experiencing financial difficulties as a direct result of a natural disaster, you can ask for extra time to pay a debt that you already owe to the ATO. Speak to your tax agent who can help you with this.
- Fast tracking refunds – simply explain your situation to your tax agent. Should the ATO deem your circumstances appropriate, you will be able to obtain your refund sooner.
- If you need extensions for existing tax debts, speak to your tax agent. They will be able to make arrangements for payment of tax debts by installment.
- You can also request an extension of time from the ATO if you volunteered to help with a disaster clean-up (particularly if you travelled interstate).
Please note: Granting of any extension is at the discretion of the ATO and will be communicated to you in writing if it is approved.
Did you lose your income statements and tax records as a result of natural disaster?
Lost, damaged or destroyed documents can be recovered in several ways.
Speak to your tax provider:
Your tax agent has access to all your documentation, therefore, can provide you with the following:
- Past Income Tax Returns
- Activity Statements
- Notices of Assessment
- PayG summaries and STP statements
- Your tax agent can also provide your TFN. If you wish to contact the ATO directly, we suggest you have you Date of Birth, Street Address and Bank Account details ready. This will help you prove your identity over the phone.
Your bank or financial institution can provide the following:
- Bank Statements
- Interest Statements
- Investment Records
Can I still claim deductions if I’ve lost my expense receipts?
If your receipts, log books and other documentation was lost or destroyed, the ATO will accept claims without substantiation. Furthermore, there must be no other way for you to obtain a copy of the evidence that was lost or destroyed.
The claims must be considered reasonable by the ATO. You can speak to your Etax tax agent to get an idea of whether the ATO will consider your claims as reasonable.
Disaster relief donations
If you’ve donated cash of $2 or more to a disaster relief appeal, that amount is generally tax deductible. In addition, the donation must have been made to a registered charity OR Registered Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR). If you’re unsure whether your donation was made to a registered charity, you can check at https://www.abn.business.gov.au/Search/Advanced.
Tax extensions for disaster-affected businesses
Business owners in areas affected by natural disasters may be eligible for extended deadlines on your activity statements. We suggest you speak to your tax provider for more information.
Please note: The information above should not be relied upon as detailed advice that applies to everyone. Each person’s case will be treated individually by the ATO and any decision made solely rests with them.
Etax Accountants can liaise with the ATO on your behalf to apply for various concessions if applicable. Please contact us and one of our Accountants can discuss your individual circumstances with you in more detail.