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Why 200,000 Aussies could lose their tax refund

Aussie taxpayers could lose “millions of dollars” in refunds, because of one simple error.

Around 200,000 taxpayers have failed to lodge tax returns, despite being eligible for a refund, the ATO has warned this week.

And if they fail to lodge their tax return by the 31 October deadline, they’ll miss out altogether.

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Worse, the collective dollar losses tally in the millions.

“Some might not lodge because they don’t realise 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,” assistant commissioner Kath Anderson reminded Australians on Tuesday.

More than 2.7 million taxpayers have already lodged their returns online, with another 4.3 million taxpayers lodging by agent.

Anderson acknowledged that some taxpayers might put off lodging their return due to an expected tax debt, but warned that the payment is due on 21 November regardless of whether the return has been lodged.

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“The ATO will help people who may have difficulties paying a tax debt, and work with you to tailor a payment plan to your circumstances. Some taxpayers may even be able to set up a payment plan online depending on their circumstances,” she said.

Most tax refunds are returned within 12 business days, although the ATO warned mistakes can trigger delays.

“If you have already lodged and realise you have made a mistake, don’t stress. You can quickly and easily make an amendment online using myTax or by contacting your registered tax agent.

“Not correcting errors may mean the ATO has to contact you, which may cause unnecessary processing delays,” Anderson said.

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