Small business owners can lodge old tax returns even if they’re years overdue, according to the ATO.

The ATO has reminded small business owners that while they need to lodge this year’s tax return by 31 October, it’s not too late to lodge returns for previous years.

Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said if, for some reason, an Australian fails to lodge a tax return by deadline, it can be submitted at any time in the future.

If you lodge after the deadline and you owe money, the ATO will charge you interest from the date the debt was due until the date it is settled.

“This interest charge aims to compensate the community for the impact of late payments, to ensure that taxpayers who underpay their tax for a period don’t receive an advantage over those who have paid their tax on time,” he said.

“Our systems for detecting and catching people who are dodging their obligations are more sophisticated than ever. So it is better to just do the right thing and lodge any outstanding tax returns you have before we approach you.”

However, it’s also possible that small business owners will find they’re entitled to a refund when they submit a late tax return.

Mr Whyte said small business owners have several options for lodging a late tax return.

“You can use a registered tax agent who can prepare and lodge for you. You can also lodge a 2014 or 2015 tax return using myTax if you have straightforward tax affairs,” he said.