Summer is here - bushfires and other disasters

The ATO has advised that refunds will be fast-tracked for people directly affected by bushfires, and they will have additional time to lodge Income Tax Returns and Activity Statements due between October and December 2013.

"You 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, " says Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan.  You can visit the ATO website here to see the new lodgement dates and check if your region is included.

People outside of the identified postcodes that have been impacted by the disaster are still able to contact the ATO for assistance on 1800 806 218.

If taxpayers are experiencing any difficulties meeting their tax obligations, the ATO will make arrangements on a case-by-case basis.

"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 dealing with their tax obligations."

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

In addition, people donating up to $10 to "bucket appeals" and other disaster relief funds this financial year will be able to claim a tax deduction without a receipt.  For donations greater than $10.00, people should keep a receipt to substantiate their claim.