Posted by Tax Advisor on 28 August, 2012
The ATO has been a lot better about getting refunds out, but you may still want to check the progress of your tax return
This year the ATO has really stepped up its game on the tax refund front. According to Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo, “This year most Australian taxpayers who are expecting a refund and lodge electronically will have it in 12 business days or less.”
In fact, in July alone the ATO issued 1.4 million refunds amounting to $3.7 billion. That’s a 17% increase over July 2011. Many Australians have already felt the effects of this increased efficiency. I know I’ve certainly heard less squawking about late refunds than in past years.
The source of the improvement seems to be an overhaul of the ATO system in 2010 that allowed it to process up to 200,000 a day. Normally the number of returns it has to deal with is nowhere near this number, but in the peak month of July the improvement has had a huge impact, cutting down the number of delays significantly.
Despite the improvements, some returns will inevitably be delayed – and not always by some fault of the ATO. Your refund could be taking longer than expected if
made an error, such as an incorrect name, gender code, or birth date
- the ATO is waiting for more information, from your employer for example, in order to review your return
- you have a complex return, or
- your return might be among the 22,000 the ATO suspects of tax fraud, including those that overstated refund claims
What you can do
If you’re curious about the status of your refund you can check it online or by phone. Remember, it’s best to wait at least the standard 12 days before contacting the ATO. If the agency can’t finalise your return within 30 days, they’ll send you an email, text, phone call, or letter.
The easiest way to check the status of your return, and your refund, is to do it online using the ATO’s Progress of Return Enquiry Tool. With this online service you can only check individual returns for the most recent financial year and you will need to enter your tax file number (TFN) in order to begin the process.
Alternately you can check the status of your refund by phone at 13 28 61 .
As always, for those procrastinators who still need to file a return, E-Lodge is here to help you take care of all your online tax needs.