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ATO warning as millions of Aussies ‘rush’ for $1,288 cash boost

Millions of Aussies are counting on their tax refund this year, as cost-of-living pressures continue.

Millions of Aussies are desperate to lodge their tax returns this year and receive a much-needed cash boost. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has been warned to expect an onslaught of early lodgements.

Nearly half of Aussies expect to receive a tax refund this year, according to Finder data shared with Yahoo Finance. Of those, a worrying one in 10 people admitted their refund would be “critical” to their financial wellbeing.

The average Aussie is expecting to receive a refund of $1,288 come July, which would equate to an extra $12 billion being put into people’s pockets this tax season.

Tax return and people
Millions of Aussies are relying on their tax returns to help cope with rising expenses. (Source: Getty/AAP)

Finder personal finance expert Sarah Megginson expects a tidal wave of early tax return lodgements.

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“Millions of people are reliant on a refund this year, with so many households struggling with the cost of living looking for a bit of a reprieve,” Megginson told Yahoo Finance.

“People will be desperate to get their hands on their refunds with some needing it just to keep the lights on.

“It’s possible that a tax windfall could make life a lot more comfortable in the short term for millions of households.”

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Around a quarter of people surveyed said their tax refund was “very important” to their finances, while a further 43 per cent said it would be “somewhat important”.

Women are feeling the pinch the most, with 42 per cent admitting they were relying on their tax refund, compared to 28 per cent of men.

Around 11 per cent of Aussies said they were expecting a tax bill, instead of a refund, this year.

While many Aussies will be keen to get their hands on their tax refund as soon as possible, the ATO has warned people to wait a bit before lodging.

“We see lots of mistakes in July where people have forgotten to include interest from banks, dividend income, payments from other government agencies and private health insurers,” ATO assistant commissioner Rob Thomson said.

This information will usually be automatically pre-filled in your tax return by the end of July. So the ATO recommends waiting a few weeks. This can help you get your tax return right and avoid getting into trouble with the tax office.

“By lodging in early July, you are doubling your chances of having your tax return flagged as incorrect by the ATO,” Thomson said.

Megginson urged taxpayers to make the most of any tax refund they receive, along with the stage 3 tax cuts that will begin from July 1.

“Pay down debt, park it in a high-interest savings account or put it in superannuation to compound,” she said.

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