OK, so your tax return is finished and we’ve lodged it with the ATO for you. Now you’re wondering how long it will take until you receive your hard-earned tax refund, right?
While patiently waiting for your tax refund is often frustrating, chances are it’s on its way. However, it is important to bear in mind that sometimes there are delays at the ATO, especially in July. Did you know, the ATO process the bulk of the nation’s finances during July? That’s pretty incredible when you think about it.
So, here’s everything you need to know about the average waiting periods between ATO lodgement to your tax refund arriving in your back account. Plus, a few of the reasons why it may take a little longer than usual.
How long does a tax refund usually take to process?
It is usually quite fast. And because most refunds come so fast, it’s not a good idea to visit a “same day refund” agent.
Electronic tax returns are the quickest and normally processed by the ATO in two weeks. Paper returns are much slower, taking 10 weeks.
When you need your tax refund in a hurry and want to avoid ATO delays, make sure all your details are correct. Prepare your receipts early and only claim eligible tax deductions to avoid ATO complications that will slow down your refund.
How long does it take to get my tax return done at Etax?
You can finish your tax return easily online in just minutes at Etax.com.au. With no appointments or waiting, you can join tens of thousands of Australians by using our number one online tax return service anywhere, any time. And, you’ll have year-round access to qualified Etax accountant advice online using Live Chat, My Messages, or friendly help by phone.
Common reasons for a tax refund delay
While it’s your tax agent’s job to help you check, maximise and lodge your tax return to the ATO in a timely manner, there are some reasons out of our control that may cause a delay in your tax refund such as:
- you didn’t add all your income sources,
- you added unusual deductions for someone in your industry,
- you have an insolvency account and owe money,
- you owe money to child support or another government agency,
- you have an outstanding ATO debt,
- you were just unlucky and the ATO decided to audit returns in your industry or with your type of deductions. (For example, in 2017 the ATO had a close eye on workers in the meat industry, people with car claims and people with rental property deductions).
Note: Even a simple problem where the name you provided is different, or spelled differently to existing ATO records can trigger a time-consuming manual review of your return at the ATO’s office. This can mean weeks or even months of delay. It’s not your tax agent’s fault.
Tracking your tax refund
Track the status of your Etax return by logging into your Etax account and navigating to the ‘My Tax Return Status’ page.
Your return progresses through the following stages:
1) Enter Details
At this stage, you’re in the process of entering your information into the online tax return such as your personal details, income and deductions.
2) Sign Return
Once you’ve signed your return digitally, we’ll take over to check your return for errors and to maximise your refund.
3) Under Review
Our highly qualified accounting team review your return for accuracy. This helps you get the best refund possible and gives you the confidence that a registered tax agent lodged your return correctly.
4) Lodge at ATO
After lodgement, the ATO generally takes 14–30 days to process returns and issue refunds. The ATO does not accept enquiries about your return until 30 days after lodgement. We transfer your refund to your nominated bank account the same day we receive it from the ATO.
What can I do if my tax refund is delayed?
First, wait 30 days from your tax return lodgement date. The ATO won’t take enquiries about delayed refunds until a minimum of one month has passed.
After that, a better tax agent like Etax will already be looking into the delay for you. Call your tax agent and they can help chase it up. It pays to be friendly to your tax agent – if you take it out on them, that’s not fair. Tax agents can really help speed up ATO problems, but they can’t demand action from the ATO.