Average Tax Refund Now Above $3000

When the ATO issued its first update on tax return processing for 2011, its figures suggested the average refund that people were receiving was a measly $8.38. As more returns get processed, that figure has changed dramatically.

The ATO has now separated figures for 2010-2011 from returns from earlier years, which goes a long way to explaining why that initial average was so low (delayed returns are more likely to owe money than be due a refund).

As of July 13, the ATO has received 570,000 2010-2011 tax returns, and processed 107,000 of them. Of those, 92,000 people got a refund, and the total value of the refund pool is $290 million. That’s an average refund of $3158. (I’d expect the average figure to drop over time — the incentive to submit a return early is much higher if you’re due a large sum).

Having processed less than 20% of returns, the ATO appears to be somewhat behind on its stated goal of dealing with 94% of electronic returns in 14 days. However, since the July 13 figure technically falls inside the 14-day period from July 1, a subsequent update might show a better result. We’ll have to wait and see.


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