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Business owner using laptop to amend their individual tax return

How to Amend a Tax Return

Tax returns and obligations can be a headache, especially for businesses that need to follow complex tax laws and regulations. Every year, towards the end of the financial year you may start gathering the necessary documents, filling in the correct Australian Taxation Office (ATO) forms, and ensuring your business has up-to-date records. 

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of amending your tax return as a small business owner, answering the following questions: 

How can your business amend its tax returns? 

As a business owner, you’re likely familiar with filing your taxes with the ATO. If you’ve filed the wrong tax information you can amend your return

Here are the steps you should take to amend your business tax return:

1. Identify why you need to amend your taxes

If you find an error or omission in your original tax return, you must amend it. This could include mistakes, forgetting to include items or if there was a change in circumstance after your lodging.

For example, errors could include:

  • Making a mistake when answering questions
  • Forgetting to include income, or claim deductions
  • A change in circumstances like receiving a revised payment summary


2. Gather supporting documents

You'll need to find all relevant documentation to support the tax amendment, including receipts, invoices, and bank statements.

3. Prepare an amendment

In most cases you can use the ATO's online services. You must select the option to amend your tax return on the ATO website.

The options available depend on the type of business making the amendment. 

4. Make changes to your return

Make the necessary changes to the new tax return based on the errors or omissions you identified, ensuring all information is accurate. 

5. Submit the amended tax return

Once you've made the necessary changes, you can submit the amended tax return to the ATO. Provide a reason for the amendment and attach any supporting documents.

The process for submitting your amendment vary based on the method you used:

  • ATO online services for business
  • Submit your amendment through the ‘Communication’ menu
  • Select Secure mail, New
  • The topic is Income Tax and the Subject would be Income Tax Amendment (relevant client type)
  • Attach your amendment, tick the declaration and then send
  • ATO Online
  • Select manage tax returns to make amendments
  • ATO app
  • Select ‘View’, ‘Your tax return’
  • Select ‘View tax return’ and then choose ‘Amend’

Please note this is the process as of writing in April 2023 and is subject to change. 

6. Wait for the assessment

The ATO will assess your amendments and let you know if any further action is required. If you're owed a tax refund, the ATO will process it and issue a new notice of assessment.

Grow Your Business with QuickBooks

What is the time limit for submitting an amendment? 

The time limit for submitting a tax amendment depends on whether you're amending your tax return to claim a refund or to correct an error.

By law, there are set time limits for amending your tax assessment, which are: 

  • Two years for individuals and sole traders
  • Two years for small and medium businesses
  • Four years for other taxpayers.

This time period starts from the day after the ATO gives you the notice of assessment for the income year, and you can submit multiple amendment requests within the time limit. 

The time limit provides certainty surrounding your tax affairs since the ATO legally can't amend your tax assessment after the time limit is over.

How does the ATO process a tax return request?

The ATO states, “Just as we accept your tax return information at face value, in most cases we also accept the information in your request for an amendment”. Which means it is processed in a similar manner to a regular lodgment. In terms of time frame, if the ATO receives all the necessary data it can take 20 business days if submitted online and 50 business days if submitted by mail.   

If the ATO believes you have provided the wrong tax information, they may conduct further audits to ensure your returns are accurate. If they discover issues or discrepancies, the ATO may request further information from your business, including Business Activity Statements (BAS) and payroll records.

What about goods and services tax?

Luckily, Airbnb hosts don’t have to pay goods and services tax (GST). GST does not apply to residential lets, which means you are not liable to pay this on the rent even if your turnover from renting exceeds the GST threshold ($75,000).

On the flip side, this means you cannot claim GST credits for any costs associated with running the Airbnb.

How can QuickBooks help?

Understanding your tax obligations is a necessary part of running a business. QuickBooks aid businesses with tracking and reporting their financial transactions through our user-friendly interface to help you file the correct tax reports. 

Streamline your reports and filings with innovative tax software to help ease the stresses of tax filing and reporting. Sign up for QuickBooks today and receive a free 30-day trial

While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information presented as at 12 April 2024, Intuit is not providing you with professional advice and we recommend you obtain your own professional advice. Intuit is not liable for your use of the information presented.


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