The Australian Tax Office has urged taxpayers to put off filing their returns via myTax until August while it waits for pre-fill data to arrive from employers, banks, and other third parties.

Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said that over half a million Australians had filed returns using myTax in the first 18 days.

But he urged others to put off doing their tax to avoid making any mistakes.

“My big tip to people planning to use myTax is to hold off until August,” Whyte said.

“By this time, we will have received most the data we need from employers, banks, government agencies and other third parties to pre-fill tax returns.

“For many people, this means all they have to do is double-check the information we have pre-loaded for them, enter any deductions they have and then hit submit.

“Ninety-six percent of people who make mistakes when declaring their income lodge before their pre-fill information is available.”

Australians wanting to file their taxes electronically this year must use the myTax application after the ATO retired the previous e-tax system.

Until this year, myTax has only been available for taxpayers with straightforward tax affairs – others were routed back to e-tax in past years to complete their returns.

While this year the delay to use myTax is to wait for pre-filled information, last year taxpayers couldn’t file with myTax in the first weeks due to a system glitch that prevented returns from being lodged.

Checking deductions as you type

One change that taxpayers will notice with myTax is that it provides real-time feedback if deductions are perceived to be too high.

“This year, for the first time ever, the ATO will be able to check people’s deductions in real-time as they complete their online return using myTax,” Whyte said.

“We want people to claim what they are entitled to – no more, no less.

“If your claims are substantially higher than others in similar occupations, earning similar amounts of income, a message will appear, asking you to check them.”

The ATO this year also offers a separate app called myDeductions, which it says “allows you to snap, save and store your individual income tax deductions all in one place.”

“It is a great way to keep track of your expenses without having to worry about lost and faded receipts,” Whyte said.

“Whether you lodge yourself or with a tax agent, at the end of the financial year simply upload the completed deductions from your device to the ATO and we will pre-fill your income tax return.”

Whyte said so far this tax time over 15,000 people have uploaded their deductions claims from the myDeductions tool.