2010 Tax Refunds On Track So Far

If you followed our tax week advice and used e-Tax to submit your return, chances are pretty good you've already received a refund if you're due one. According to the ATO, it has received 2.09 million returns as of July 29, and has issued notices of assessment (with refunds if applicable) for 1.25 million of them. Given that almost a third of the total were received between July 24 and July 29, that means the goal of processing 94% of electronics returns within 14 days is likely to be met (and that's a big turnaround from the delays earlier in the year). [ATO]


    Good to see a government department setting expectations and meeting them too.

    mmm, I've waited 24 days so far with no joy. A lot of people are in the same position as me, check http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1499859&p=31 for a very long list of unhappy taxpayers.

      I'm in the exact same boat and since I currently do not have a job I am in need of that money ASAP!

    Yup. I'm the same.... 30 days so far and still waiting. Called them up today and it has been 'escalated' and I would hear back from them in 14 days...

    Employer was placed into administration last week so that money would have been very handy. Not impressed/surprised.

    I must be in the (furious) 6%. 34 days and counting (submitted 30 June).

      Can you legally submit on June 30? I didn't think payment summaries could actually be sent until after the end of the financial year.

        E-tax let me do it, and the claim is in their system so I guess so?

          Thanks for the update Dan. But if you submitted pre July 1, I'm guessing that means you used your own numbers, not a payment summary, and your claim wouldn't be processed until the ATO got the summary from your employer(s). That was due by July 14, but if it got in on the last day, it's only been at the ATO just over 14 days. Not saying that's the reason, but it's one possible explanation of how the ATO might be four or five days late on its 14 day target.

    I'm still waiting too. Over 3 weeks. I was hoping it would come today so I'd be able to buy tickets in the Virgin Blue sale before it finishes tonight. It's looking less and less likely.

    This must be a PR site for the ATO. thousands have not received their refunds after weeks of excuses from the ATO. lodged mine via etax on July 1 and was told today that the ATO is experiencing a backlog. I'll be lucky to see any money before the end of August. Not good enough. Have a look at the whirlpool forums - over 4000 complaints to date. It seems anyone with a HECS debt is not being processed. Nobody I know has received their tax notice yet. There is a problem at the ATO.

      This is not a PR site for the ATO. The comment re HECS is interesting and I'll follow it up. But let's get some perspective: the immediate Whirlpool thread linked here has 966 posts as I type, not 4000, and that's not 966 individual complaints. Even if it was, that would be 1000 people out of 2.1 million -- less than .05% of the total. Even 4000 would be just 0.2% of those received. Obviously annoying if you're one of those people, but not suggestive of an endemic problem.

    The ATO pretty much ran like clockwork this year. Got the whole thing sent in on July 2, and got the refund on July 16th.

    Hi Angus, At first glance it doesn't appear to be 4,000 posts, although Tecee is correct

    Due to the number of posts the topic has been broken into 5 threads.

    Each thread has 50 pages, with 20 posts a page.
    So, by current counts it is up to 50 X 20 X 5 ( 5,000 posts ! )

    Strange that the mainstream press hasn't jumped on this yet with the issues experienced earlier in the year.

    At time of posting, most recent thread can be found here for anybody interested


      As I said, 5000 posts doesn't equal 5000 individual complaints -- some of the posts on any thread are by the same author. And even if it did, it would equate to under 1% of all the returns received to date. At that level, it's certainly a lesson not to assume you'll get a refund in a given amount of time -- but I still have genuine trouble seeing it as evidence of a massive systemic problem. (Cynically, if there was a massive systemic problem, I doubt the ATO would provide the numbers so speedily.)

    Mine has worked really well this year and, considering that my return has to clear three departments (Tax Office, Family assistance and Child support) to cross check for any owing money, I was quite surprised that the return hit precisely on the 14 day mark.

    Took my sister 14 days, im hoping mine will come earlier this week. I'm still fairly impressed with the effort.

    The tax department spent an astronomical sum of money on a new computer system which ensures that the simplest of tax returns are delivered swiftly.
    The previous system did that already.

    The problem is, tax in this country is not and never has been simple. Most tax returns are still laboriously complex even when using E-Tax.

    My return is overdue and I have pressing reasons to desperately need that money back. I am starting to hear a lot of stories about delays and bungling. It makes this article look a lot like spin.

    I don't have a problem with the ATO; the fact is however, that they're taking longer this year with my return than they have in the past, and, ironically, it's the first year that I've actually needed (or made plans) for the money I'm expecting back.
    Be it as it may, I've called the ATO a number of times, to which I've been told that their 14 day service level agreement has now become 30 days.
    Given that information, I'm lead to understand that everything is not fine, and they are running into issues that we're not being told about.
    I'm not sure where you got the "94% of people have received their returns in time", but if that's the case, I'm unfortunately in the minority. Albeit a ~150000 people minority.
    The comments on whirlpool are all coming from the same people, as I'd imagine if 150000 unhappy citizens were to hit the whirlpool forums all at once, their server might have something to complain about too, but the fact remains: there are a lot of people who have not received their tax return as yet.
    Perhaps 100-200 individual users are connecting to whirlpool forums venting their distress, but they can't be ignored, and all have the one thing in common: a hecs/help debt.
    I too, fall under that category.
    I don't know if it's a coincidence. The ATO don't seem to believe it's an issue, nor do they wish to admit that there is an issue in most cases (although I did get on the phone to one person who agreed to the fact that they were having bugs in their system, and advised that "such is life").

    All we can do is, unfortunately, wait, and relinquish control; which incidentally is as hard to do when it comes to our money as is waiting for the illusive letter to arrive.

      There's no claim 94% of people got their returns on time, as the quoted numbers themselves partly indicate; that's the ATO goal (and "on time" differs depending on submission method). I am following up on the HECS issue with the ATO, as that seems to be a frequent problem.

        Okay, so the "94% of electronics returns within 14 days is likely to be met" comment above should really be removed, as it's merely speculating.
        Conversely, I could speculate the opposite and you'd have no grounds to refute it, just as there are no grounds to support the argument you've originally made.

        Do we actually have ANY facts in regards to the ATO's return rate?
        I'd be interested in having a look at actual data from the ATO, and being able to produce reports to either back up or refute arguments for either side.

        I would like to be told that I'm either right or wrong, with sufficient data to show me either way.

          It's actually all in there, but I'll say it again with the calculations. The relevant numbers direct from the ATO _referred to in the article_ (and linked to) are:

          * 2.09 million returns submitted as of July 29
          * 600,000 of those received after July 25
          * 1.25 million notices of assessment issued as of July 29

          At first glance that suggests an overall completion rate of just above 60% -- but with the big caveat that almost a third of the returns in the total hadn't been in the system for more than five days, and thus don't really belong in a calculation of returns made within 14 days (though some might have been processed already). Exclude those and the rate would be around 84%, though again this doesn't allow for submitted returns that haven't crossed the 14 day target period.

          So yes, there's a degree of speculation involved, but that prediction based on actual data which trends towards a figure much closer to 94% than the reverse. Arguing the opposite would thus be somewhat harder, I'd say.

          And as has been pointed out before, the 6% of returns not in that figure still equates to more than 125,000 returns -- so even if we (wrongly) assumed every post on Whirlpool about the topic represented a unique individual case of someone being delayed, it still wouldn't actually demonstrate that the ATO wasn't meeting its target.

        * Submission method: I would assume we're talking electronically, as the original post refers to e-tax to submit the return.

    ATO were horrible to me last financial year and I hope I dont have bad luck twice. I've noticed a small mistake (100 income left out) on my tax return in nov2009. I've immediately notified them and filled in paperwork to let them know. I was asked to pay just over $1800 extra tax on top of my original tax bill. I knew it was a mistake so I called them up and informed them. This was in dec2009. I was told it could take up to 30 days due to system upgrades. I called once or twice a month until late June 2010 when eventually they've rectified their mistake and I had to pay only about $30 tax on the extra $100 income. In the mean time I was also chased for that debt of $1800 by the ATO... they were embrassingly unprofessional.

    If you've got to wait a week extra on top of the 14 days what's the big deal? I had to wait over 6 months for my problem to be fixed up !

    I dont know why you're defending the etax system so much - it isnt working this year the way it was meant to. I called the ATO again today and was told that I might see my refund at the end of august - that's 8 weeks, not the 14 days that the ATO spruiks. I was told that this is because of a backlog caused by the new system and that returns lodged in the first weeks of July have to be done manually. It's not just whirlpool that's complaining - here's a comment from a tax agent "I am an accountant and tax agent. I can confirm that there is a major problem at the ATO with refunds. I have many clients who have lodged returns in the first week of July and still no refund. These are not clients with HECS debts."
    I asked at work today and most people are still waiting, but then again we're teachers and maybe being singled out this year.

      I'm defending logic -- more or less nothing that's been said so far is inconsistent with the ATO's goal of aiming to process 94% of returns within 14 days -- and as has been said here before, meeting that goal could still mean hundreds of thousands of people didn't get returns in that time frame. The ARN article predates the ATO's own statement.

    Then please explain to me how I (and many others) who lodged over 30 days ago via eTax and still havent received their return, have had their income for the 2009/2010 year updated on the centrelink portal. This figure could only have come from the ATO. Centrelink paid my arrears for the last financial year today, yet I havent recieved my return from the ATO.
    Secondly Accountants have told me that they have recieved notification that ATO is struggling to process returns, that there is a backlog (even though ATO are consistently denying it) and that part of the problem is that the ATO are using the same program that Qld Health Payroll were using.
    I have had this confirmed by 3 totally different Accountants. My research tells me that there is a hush-hush situation going on here and it is related to the Qld Health debacle and the election.
    I have already spoken to the Courier Mail about this and am hoping they will put some journos onto this very interesting case of 'lets pretend it aint happening until after the election'!!!!

    Lodged electronically 7th July .. heading toward 30th day (which is the day i am supposed to call back), what am i going to be told tomorrow ? Wait another 30 days ? Escalate it meaning a total of 44 days ? No HECS or HELP here ... no reason for delay ... just rubbish !!

      i'm in the same boat, but with a HECS debt. I lodged on the 8th of July and nothing. I looked on the website and called the number they gave on the three week period (like they said to do), the automated service told me nothing but that my retun had been lodged and that i "should receive (my) tax return within 14 days, sometimes this may take longer." Well tell me something i don't know, if i was calling in the third week, im pretty sure i was aware of that. It then told me not to call back to the 7th of august, which will be soon. It told me nothing about whats going on or when I should expect it. Terrible service

    Another delayed one here - i have a HECS debt. Lodged on the 12th July, no sign of it yet. My fiance who has no hecs debt lodged his on the 10th and had it back 7 days later.

    I would say that the ATO are probably lying about the whole thing. I have been to quite a few websites with irate taxpayers who, like me, have not received anything and are still waiting. I have no problem with this (apart from the obvious financial hardship of being a sole parent on minimal wage), but the least they could do is be honest and make a public announcement.

    I submitted with etax on the 8th of July. I have hecs and help. No return yet. Automated service confirmed receipt and said to ring back today the 6th. Last year it worked in the 14 days indicated

    Submitted mine on the 1st of July 2010, and still haven't received my refund. I've called them a couple of times to no avail. What I can't come to terms is the lack of honesty on ATO's part. I am grateful for the fact that previous tax returns went smooth without a glitch and can understand the problems that they may be encountering with the new system - but so far ATO have NOT offer any official reason for the delays. As said by others, they keep saying it has been escalated and will sort things out in fourteen days. I mean come on, I've waited more than thirty days for the refund before calling them. On the first call, they said someone will contact me within 48 hours, suprise suprise I didn't receive any calls. Rang them again, and this time said that they can "escalate the matter". Anyways, I have lodged a complaint through the ATO's website - and it states to expect a response within three days - still waiting... maybe I should hold my breath. If we are late with the tax return, we get heavily penalised - what if they are late? probably just a few dollars in interest? a joke.

    As a taxagent we have been informed by the ATO that there is 30 day processing, do not ring prior to 30 days. Unfortunately the ATO website does not state this. There are definitely delays and there is no rhyme or reason to which returns are being delayed although we do know HECS/HELP is an issue and I also think ETP's may be causing concern as well. There seemed to be a bulk process run late last week so we are hopeful that the problems are being rectified although, as with the public, we are officially being told all is fine.

    I submitted mine by etax on 03.07. Still no sign of it. I have been by reconciled by Centrelink, and the Child Support Agency has my 2010 taxable income on record. I am going to have to request a 'please explain' somewhere.

    Submitted 1st July, still waiting... I suggest anyone waiting more then 30 days to lodge a formal complaint through the ATO. I did that and some one rang me up regarding ACTUAL update of tax return. They said I should receiveit within another ten days.. fingers crossed.

    The automated service said mine had been processed on the 12 of August, received the Notice of Assessment on Monday the 16th. Still no sign of the electronic refund, and today (7 days later), the automated line says the application was processed on the 19th of August, and to wait 14 days before enquiring again!

    How can I get the Notice of Assessment back after it was processed on the 12th of Aug, now it's saying it was processed on the 19th!


    How about we re-visit this now? My rturn was lodged on the 6th Aug online via my accountant using the tax agents protal(acknowledged by the ATO).

    The first 14 day service expired with nothing, then the 30 day service window expired - still nothing. I then called them a number of times before finally getting it"escalated" but they also grnated themselves an additional 14 day service window extension. They promised someone would call me alst week to giv me a concise updat as to what the problem is - guess what? That's right absolutely nothing. In my workplace alone (7 people) I have found 4 others going through the exact same thing which leads me to question the ATO's prefomance reporting data.

    Why don't they just admit that this is just another big IT project mismanaged by the government - just like the CMR / ICS snafu Customs had several years back?

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