If you have been affected by a disaster, such as a flood, bushfire or storm, don’t worry about your tax affairs right away. The ATO will give you time to deal with your more immediate problems first and then we can help you to sort out your tax affairs later.
More time to lodge, pay and respond
Your tax obligations can be put to one side until you have dealt with the immediate effects of the disaster – whether you are affected yourself or are helping those affected. The ATO can give you more time if you owe the ATO money, are unable to lodge your return or activity statement, or deal with any other correspondence from the ATO. If you are unable to lodge your superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) statement, we can give you more time to lodge but you will still be liable for the SGC and the nominal interest component (NIC) will continue to accrue. You may be able to vary the amount of your next instalment if you are liable to pay your tax by instalments under the pay as you go (instalments) system. If you’re a registered agent, we can give you extra time to deal with your clients affairs, whether you were affected by the disaster, or they were.
Early access to your money
If you are expecting a refund from an income tax return or activity statement, we may be able to arrange for your refund to be issued as a priority. In limited circumstances, you may be able to access your superannuation to assist you and your dependant.
You may receive assistance from government authorities, charitable institutions, employers, your family, a trade union or other sources. Most one-off assistance payments are tax free, but regular Centrelink payments remain taxable.
Damaged or destroyed property
If your property is damaged or destroyed in a disaster, you may receive an insurance payment. How this is treated for tax purposes depends on the type of property and whether or not the property is income-producing. Repairs to income-producing properties are generally tax deductible in the year you incur them. However, this depends on whether the work you do restores the original condition or goes beyond remedying the damage to the point where it is an improvement or a complete replacement.
Reconstructing your tax records
If your records have been lost or destroyed – whether you are an individual, in business, a registered agent or responsible for a self-managed super fund – we can help you to reconstruct your tax records and make reasonable estimates where necessary.
Fuel tax credits for individuals, businesses and others
Following a disaster, you may need to use taxable fuel (such as diesel or petrol) for generating electricity for domestic purposes; you may then be eligible to claim fuel tax credits. Businesses that are registered for goods and services tax (GST) can claim credits for the fuel tax included in the price of fuel used in eligible business activities to run machinery, plant, equipment and heavy vehicles. Non-profit organisations that are not registered for GST can claim credits for fuel used in operating emergency vehicles or vessels.
Donations to assist disaster victims
Whether as an individual or an organisation, you may wish to collect funds or make donations to help victims of a disaster.