It seems like a simple question to ask ‘How long does it take for the ATO to process tax returns?’, but the answer depends on a few key factors.

As long as you have all your income and the amounts properly outlined – including no out of the ordinary deductions – there should be little reason for a delay in processing your refund.

Deadline stopwatch clock

The most important thing is to have your tax return properly completed and checked for any errors or missing deductions. It is often the smaller details that can make a huge difference to how quickly any refund is payable and safely in your bank account.

Having anything that is incomplete in detail or comes under question could raise an issue with the ATO and mean an unexpected delay.

Top reasons why your tax refund is delayed

It is often easy to fall into the trap that your tax refund will be delayed by external influences rather than something that are in your control or those looking after your taxation on your behalf.

It can be specific circumstances that have a significant bearing on your tax refund and both the amount and how quickly it is processed.

There are a number of key factors that can affect your taxable income and these include everything from:

  • Not all your income sources have been included,
  • you already have an outstanding debt to the ATO or other government agency,
  • you are claiming unusual deductions for a person in your industry,
  • the ATO is focussing on audit returns in your industry or with your type of deductions.

It can be advantageous to know when to best lodge your tax return. Accessing your refund amount as quickly as possible means you are ready to utilise those funds.

The ATO commitment

Remember that the ATO is actually there to help you whenever you need it.

Following the tax guidelines and latest legal requirements is important. The sooner any issues are addressed, the better.

The commitment of the ATO is to making things as easy as possible and this is outlined on their website in the following words:

‘We are committed to providing you with accurate, consistent and clear information to help you understand your rights and entitlements and your obligations.

If you follow our information and it turns out to be incorrect, or it is misleading and you make a mistake as a result, we will take that into account when determining what action, if any, we should take.’

Within the Taxpayers’ Charter, the ATO makes a point of the relationship being one based on ‘mutual trust and respect’.

The idea that the ATO is ‘out to get you’ or trying to make life difficult for you is simply wrong and can be counter-productive.

Whilst taxation is rarely a simple and clear-cut matter, a professional accountant can help you make the most of your financial situation and comply with all the legal requirements.

Financial analytics blur

How to make the most of your financial situation

Knowing exactly where you stand with your finances can help you today and for tomorrow.

Rather than asking, ‘how long does it take for the ATO to process tax returns?’, it could be more beneficial to ask ‘how can I have my tax return completed in the most efficient and effective way?’.

The answer is to engage the financial experts at Ruth Watson and Associates. Knowing all of the finer details of taxation and what can and can’t be claimed by you and your business can make all the difference.

Having the experienced team at Ruth Watson and Associates on your side might just be one of the best business decisions you ever make.

For more about how you can make more of your financials, get in contact today.