ATO charge interest on unpaid tax debts and shortfall amounts – the latter being the difference between the amount of tax we were originally assessed for (or refunds we claimed) and the amount of tax we were eventually assessed for (or credits we were entitled to).
ATO can also commence a reduction of interest charges for shortfall periods where, for example, we’ve made a voluntary disclosure or third parties have been accountable for delays that add to the shortfall period.
If we are dissatisfied with an interest charge we can ask us to remit it. ATO can generally remit (reduce or cancel) interest charges where it is fair and logical in the situation.
Why we charge interest
The purpose of charging interest is to make sure that:
- taxpayers who entire their tax returns correctly and pay their tax on time are not worse off than taxpayers who lodge incorrect returns and pay less tax than they should, even if this is by error
- Government revenue is not disadvantaged by taxpayers who don’t pay their tax on time.