What Happens To My Tax If I’ve Been Affected By Natural Disasters?

Posted on 29 November '22 by , under tax.

Natural disasters, be they floods, fires or cyclones, can impact many parts of Australia. When they strike, your tax obligations (personal or business-related) are probably not a top priority.

If your records have been lost, damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster, such as the recent flooding events, there are many ways you can reconstruct them. The ATO can help with reconstruction in the event tax records have been lost or damaged.

Where the tax records are lost or destroyed due to a natural disaster, the ATO will allow time for individuals to get their more pressing issues in order. They provide support by

  •     Allowing lodgment deferrals of activity statements or tax returns without penalties.
  •     Allowing the additional time to pay tax debts without incurring general interest charges.
  •     Making arrangements for tax payments to be done by instalments.
  •     Fast-tracking refunds.
  •     Arranging field visits to help with reconstructing tax records.

The ATO holds and can re-issue or supply copies of tax documents, such as:

  •     Income tax returns.
  •     Activity statements.
  •     Notices of assessment.

If you have lost your TFN, you can still access your tax information by phoning the ATO. They will allow other information to verify identities, such as an individual’s date of birth, address or bank account details.

Employers should have copies of individuals’ PAYG payment summaries and banks should be able to provide bank records that have been destroyed. Registered agents may also have copies of individual records. If your bank charges a fee for replacing bank records and other services to help reconstruct records or provide information due to a disaster, individuals can claim a deduction in the income year that those fees are charged.

If you cannot substantiate claims made in your tax returns or activity statements because records have been damaged or destroyed, the ATO can accept the claim without substantiation where it is not reasonably possible to obtain the original documents.