Tax Refunds: 49,000 People Have Potentially Over-Claimed

Tax Refunds: 49,000 People Have Potentially Over-Claimed

The latest update on tax return processing from the Australian Taxation Office suggests more of the same: the average refund is $2317 and almost two-thirds of people are getting a refund. Nonetheless, it seems some people are trying too hard.

Since July 1, the ATO has received 3.506 million 2010-11 returns, and has finalised 2.474 million of them (around 70.5% of those submitted). 2.261 million have received refunds totalling $5.24 billion, which gives us a 64 per cent refund figure and an average refund of $2317 (very slightly up on when we last calculated the figure).

Two-thirds of people getting refunds seems remarkable, but that doesn’t mean they’re flowing through automatically. The latest ATO update also includes a cautionary note:

We have stopped over 49,000 returns with total refunds claimed of around $190 million that are believed to be potentially fraudulent or include overstated claims.



  • The ATO is actually pulling up a lot of returns that do not need to be stopped as they are perfectly fine. So while this seems like a big number, in reality it is not.

  • Mine went right through and while I got an ok return I still felt a bit ripped off. Somehow I didn’t get taxed enough by my employer to cover my mandatory HECS repayments, so they took extra which ate into my real tax return, including the benefit I receive for having a dependant.

    • That’s not unusual – HECS contributions are often badly calculated, based on anecdotal evidence of mine and my friends. I used my tax return to pay some more back and grab that lump sum repayment discount – when it’s all cleared, it’s a very nice little 5% or so jump in post-tax salary 🙂

      • Karan- totally agree with you. Matthew, i remember when i was paying my HECS down and nearly every year i apparently never paid enough through my employer, and got slammed on my tax refund. If you can, it’s totally worth paying extra amounts off in lump sums.

        It’s an interest free loan true, but its still indexed against inflation. The quicker you can get rid of the debt the better generally.

  • I didn’t claim my tax-free threshold so got a hefty sum back. But because it’s such a large (but legitimate) return, mine is being witheld. Unnecessary!

  • Gosh! 49,000 out of 2.47 million? $190 million? So around 2% of returns “look bodgy”.

    Have a look at Greece, guys. It’s estimated that 5 billion+ Euros/year of tax is evaded. As much as 26% reduction in income tax collection. 10-12% under-reporting of income. In a country with less than half Australia’s population.

    Australians are so honest.

    • Not really suprised although its a shame when you can see that a problem like that contributes to the state of their economy. As much as taxes do suck, they help keep the country afloat. I live in the US right now and its bizzare the mindset of some people here who refuse to pay 1% more per year in tax or some small number for the good of their country, and yet expect an increase in funding to a stack of social services and healthcare. Money doesnt grow on trees.

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