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ATO says this is the best time to lodge your tax return

·3-min read
Cash and tax return form
Many Aussies plan on using their tax refunds to pay off their bills this year. (Source: Getty)

There’s a good chance your tax return is now ready to lodge, with key income information now starting to appear pre-filled in the online lodgement system.

Employers have started uploading income statements into the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) online services platform, which can be accessed through myGov.

It’s best to wait until these income statements, also known as payment summaries - and previously called group certificates - have been uploaded into the system to ensure your return is filled out accurately.

Last month, the ATO warned taxpayers to wait a few weeks after July 1 or risk a delayed tax refund.

Assistant commissioner Tim Loh said people who lodged in early July were more likely to make mistakes, which slowed down the process because the tax office was more likely to request more information.

“You can lodge on 1 July, but you are punting with your tax return by risking delays to any refund you are owed,” Loh said.

“If you forget to include everything, you may end up answering questions from the tax office.”

You can log into the ATO app or ATO online services through myGov to check your income statements have been uploaded.

Your account will be marked “tax ready” if income information has been submitted by your employer, the Government and other relevant institutions.

How people plan to spend their tax refunds

Last year, Aussies received an average of $2,900 back in their tax returns.

With the cost of groceries, energy, petrol and housing soaring, Aussies are understandably keen to get their tax returns back as soon as possible.

In fact, 12 per cent of Aussies plan on using their tax refunds to pay for household bills, according to a nationally representative survey by Finder.

The survey found 22 per cent planned to use their refund to pay down debt.

Around 8 per cent would sink these funds into their mortgage, and 7 per cent would pay off credit card debt.

People also plan on using their tax refunds to pay buy now, pay later debt (4 per cent), personal loans (2 per cent) and HECS debt (1 per cent).

Another 41 per cent are hoping to tuck their tax return away in savings.

“Aussies aren't in the mood for splurging this tax season,” Sarah Megginson, senior editor of money at Finder, said.

“As the country heads into an economic downturn, many people are looking to use that extra cash to keep their heads above water.”

Around 9 per cent planned on using their tax refunds for a holiday, and 7 per cent had a shopping spree in mind.

Around 35 per cent weren’t expecting a tax return at all.

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