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ATO offers disaster relief

The tax office has announced it will offer tax help for people affected by the recent Victorian bushfires.

ATO offers disaster relief
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Refunds will be fast-tracked for people affected and they will have additional time to lodge income tax returns and activity statements, the ATO said.

For people within Wye River and Separation Creek, Victoria (postcode 3234), the ATO has automatically deferred the lodgement and payment dates (excluding large pay-as-you-go withholders) for income tax returns due between January and March 2016, and for activity statements due in December 2015, January or February 2016. The new lodgement date is 28 April 2016.

ATO commissioner Chris Jordan offered his sympathy to those affected and said those taxpayers do not need to apply for a deferral or a faster refund.

“If your business or residential address is in one of the identified affected postcodes it will happen automatically. You can visit our website to see the new lodgement dates and check if your region is included. Further postcodes may be added as needed, so check our website for more information,” Mr Jordan said.

“People outside of the identified postcodes that have been impacted by the disaster are still able to contact us for assistance on 1800 806 218. If you are experiencing any difficulties meeting your tax obligations, please contact us so we can assist.

“We understand that for many people their tax affairs are the last thing on their minds right now. When people are ready, we will make sure they are supported in meeting their tax obligations.”

The ATO also said it can provide more time for people to pay tax debts and can help reconstruct tax records where documents have been destroyed.

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