How to find missing tax records

Have you lost important tax paperwork? Finding a replacement is not as hard as your think. This article shows the quickest way to find lost tax records, including old PAYG Payment Summaries (aka lost group certificates).

ATO pre-filling

The simplest and fastest way to find your missing tax information is to obtain your ATO Pre-filling Report.

The ATO collects information about your income from banks, employers, government agencies and other parties. This information is matched to your tax file number and summarised in your pre-filling report.

This can include:

  • PAYG Payment Summaries from employers (aka group certificates)
  • Centrelink payment summaries
  • Details of private health insurance cover
  • Bank interest
  • Dividend and other investment income
  • Your HELP (HECS) balance for the applicable year

You can get a copy of your most recent pre-filling information when you download e-tax and complete the proof of ID requirements. A registered tax agent can get pre-filling reports their clients as far back as the 2007 income year.

Many people can lodge a return with just the information on their pre-filling report.

How to get a copy of your group certificate

  1. Remember that there is no such thing as a group certificate. Since 2001 they have been called PAYG Payment Summaries. This will save a lot of confusion in dealing with the ATO.
  2. Check your pre-filling report. This is the easiest way to get a copy.
  3. Have a good look for it at home. Don’t be lazy!
  4. Ask your employer. Your employer has obligations to keep tax records, and most will be able to get you a copy within a few days.
  5. Contact the ATO using the form Copies of returns request – individuals and authorised representatives. Fill out your personal details on page 1 and put the relevant years you are missing payment summaries for in section B. This will take 28 days to be sent to you.
  6. If your request to the ATO does not provide you with the information you need you will have to complete a statutory declaration. To complete the form you will need old payslips and bank records to estimate your income.

How to find missing tax records

For PAYG Payment Summaries (aka group certificates) see above. For most other items, ask your accountant for a copy of your pre-filling report. If you still can’t get the information, here are some helpful ways of finding it.

  • Bank interest: For recent years you can probably get a summary of interest on internet banking. For older years, call your bank.
  • Dividends: If you own shares you will probably have received dividends. Your dividend history will be shown on each company’s share registry. The name of the registry will be printed on your dividend statements, and you can log in online. Most companies use Computershare or Link Market Services as their share registry. You can get several years’ worth of tax history online within 5 minutes.
  • Private health insurance: Your private health provider can tell you (a) what period you were covered by health insurance and (b) whether have you already claimed your 30% rebate, or whether you still need to do that on your tax.

With a few phone calls you can get most of your lost records.

Can somebody find my tax records for me?

Glad you asked. The easiest way to get a copy of all your tax records is to get help from a registered tax agent like Beyond Accountancy.

We have access to your pre-filling report records from the ATO tax agent portal, so we know more about your tax history than you do. A pre-filling report can be generated in about 5 minutes and can save a lot of your time in chasing banks, old bosses etc.

Not only that, we can show you the best ways to find your records from other sources, and explain the process where records cannot be found at all.

And once the records are found we have the skill and advice to prepare a tax return for you to get you the best tax result with a 14 day tax refund. We can also set you up so that you are in a better tax position for the future.

Flexible appointment times are available at our office in Bourke St, Melbourne, or we offer online appointments anywhere in Australia or overseas. With an online appointment you don’t need to go further than your home office to get your tax affairs sorted.

To speak to an accountant call 1300 823 011, or click on the contacts link above. You can even book an appointment now using our online calendar.

Even if you don’t want to be a client right now, you can subscribe for free to our tax newsletter.