ATO holds millions in unclaimed refunds after 200k skipped lodgement

With the deadline of 31 October for self-preparers edging closer, the ATO is looking to drive lodgement compliance, with about 7 million completed returns lodged so far this tax time.

Broken down, about 4.3 million taxpayers have lodged via a tax agent, with just over 2.7 million taxpayers having lodged their own returns through myTax.

“We estimate there are 200,000 individual salary and wage earners who are likely to have been either due a refund or owed a small amount of tax, but who had not lodged a tax return. Collectively, these clients have millions of dollars of unclaimed refunds,” said ATO Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson.

“There are a few reasons why Australians might not lodge even if they are due a refund. Some might not lodge because they don’t realize they need to – maybe they are on a low income or haven’t worked recently. Others might be worried about lodging because they haven’t lodged for several years, which often causes them stress and anxiety.”

“We know some people put off lodging because they think they’ll owe money, but for self-preparers the payment is due on 21 November whether or not a return is lodged.”

According to the Tax Office, over 98 per cent of refunds have been issued within 12 business days this year.

However, it has warned against making some common errors, including not declaring all income streams and over-claiming deductions, with over 112,000 tax returns corrected over the first two months of tax time 2018, totalling more than $53 million.


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