When Will You Get Your Tax Refund?

When Will You Get Your Tax Refund?

From today, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) begins processing 2011-2012 tax returns. If you have submitted using e-tax, you should get a refund within 12 business days. That’s slower than the ATO promised last year, and there are some caveats.

The main caveat is that processing takes a week to ramp up, so refunds aren’t expected to start appearing until July 13 at the earliest. If you submitted as soon as e-tax was released, you might not get much speed advantage.

If your return isn’t processed within 12 business days, the ATO aims to process it within 30 calendar days from that point, and will notify you if it takes longer. Last year, the ATO undertook to process 94 per cent of electronic returns within 14 days, but it hasn’t made that specific percentage commitment this time and the overall period is longer. (12 business days can run within 16 calendar days).

Common errors often delay returns. Frequent problems cited by the ATO include incorrect bank account details, incorrect birth dates and failure to include address changes.



  • Ive been using etax for a few years now. I always lodge either on the 30th of June or by the 2nd of July.
    The shortest processing time Ive seen is 15 days and the longest 20 days. I always include the correct details in my return. I think they just use the “wrong details” thing as a weak excuse to shift the blame of long priocessing times.

  • When will I get a refund?? Never!!! When will I have to pay them back because of the Medicare Levy?? Probably about a fortnight after I submit my return… grrrr!

    • The date you will have to pay them if your return ends up that way is Mid November (last year it was Nov 21st). I will have to do that this year, since I earned a fair bit of interest on my savings, which apparently counts as income 🙁

      • Edvard, Like I said on a previous post, a Tax return means they’ve had your money on an interest free loan, a bill means you’ve had theirs and like Xyranius says, you don’t have to pay until way later (Mine was due in may this year)
        Xyranius, of course interest earnt is income. You can avoid this by getting an offset account on your mortgage, but again, a bill is better than a return (in theory)

        • Oh, I plan to get and use an offset account… but this is why I have savings, I am currently saving up for the deposit on my first home. And yes, I understand why interest counts as income, I’m just having a good Aussie whinge at the rules not conforming to what best suits me. 🙂

          There is also the option for people to file their tax through an accountant, and this runs different dates. I think that if you owe the tax office, you will not have to pay until sometime in mid next year. Probably best to look at the ATO website for more information on this.

  • Why the government really have in working people ? I worked last year I did not receive any reform ,are they encouraging people to be welfare dependent?if you earn up to 77000.and have about 18,000 tax what will be your reform?

  • I submitted mine online through etax on 2nd july 2012, I called up the ato check up line and it said my return can take up to 30 days to process and I should hear something by 2nd august 2012. Has anyone else got this message? What does it mean?

  • I had a centrelink debt last year which ate up return but this year I only owe a little bit to finish the debt off, do yyou think this will cause a delay in my return.. (through etax online 2 July 2012)

  • I did mine on the 2nd and still nothing, the status checker can’t even find mine. My girlfriend did hers on the 4th, we work for the same company and she got hers today! Is this an indication that something is wrong or is this common?

  • I lodged mine through E-Tax on the 7th July and still nothing.. @ Bob, this is a standard message that everyone receives if it hasn’t been processed as is the progress checker on the ato’s website.

  • I received my assessment in mail today (no refund expected though). My wife sent hers on 2nd July and hasn’t seen anything yet, so go figure.

    However, the website still says “received on 3rd July”, so I don’t know what the point of the whole checking system is if the data is several days behind.

    You will get your assessment and refund before you’ll get a website update.

    Just another waste of taxpayers money on something that doesn’t work.

    • Mine just came through this morning, lodged on the 3rd July. ATO website has even updated the info that my assessment was issued and sent today.

  • i done mine through e-tax on the 02/07 and still nothing back. I also checked online and they said they cannot find my lodgement however when i check my save etax application it advises i cant make amendements as its been lodged. Where the hell is my refund.

  • Hi
    I logged mine on the 13th, says they recieved it on the progress checker and that’s all it says, should have my return within the next week I hope.

  • I did my tax on line through e tax on the 2nd of July , I checked online but apparently my return can not be found. Like others I’ve rechecked my lodgement and it tells me I can not do anything as it was lodged successfully . Go figure nice work ATO !

  • I’ve had my assessment for a week and the site still has not updated.

    Wife still waiting for hers lodged 3rd July.

    I would love to know how their system actually works. If it were a private company it would have gone bust years ago – just like centrelink.

  • My husband and I both submitted ours on the 12th. He received his on the 20th, yesterday and the site has updated this. I am yet to receive mine and the site is saying it hasn’t been processed (I thought it was just my bank keeping it). As others have said, I wish they would explain why some take longer than others. I know they have looked at it because they told government agencies my details from it. Why can’t they just process it? It’s not like I even have a lot of deductions, my husband has way more.

  • i submitted mine via a tax agent on the 13th of july, nothing so far in my account. ATO website says lodgement recieved on the 13th of july and allow 12 days for processing, I could wait till christmas I suppose. : (

  • I submitted through etax around July 07. After having received tax returns in previous years in a week to two weeks, I expected the same this year. Unfortunately, instead I have received a letter today (30/07/2012) stating that my return would be delayed until the end of August, and that I may receive another letter asking for various details to be verified. The thing is, everyone I know has received the same letter. Some have received a further letter asking for further information. This year, I would hope for everything, but expect your return back by August 31.

  • I submitted mine via etax on the 11th. I have stilll not recieved it so i rang them and they said it can take upto 30 days to process and they are doing mine manually. I have to wait until 10th august until my 30 days is up. Has anyone else had to do this and has anyone else had to wait longer then 30 days this year?

    • Yes i lodged mine on 9th july and i got same replies. Whereas i processed my friends tax on 22nd july and he already got refund that was more than mine. Its crap system.

  • I’m pretty frustrated, I submitted mine on the 17th of July and still nothing. I really need the money so I hope I get it really soon. Before this week ends would be amazing!!! Anyone got any advice of what I can do?

  • If you see the whirlpool archive 1740435 discussion, there are a long list of people who waited several months last year after receiving letters from the ATO. I think this will be quite commonplace this year, so I wouldn’t expect to receive your refund anytime soon, Jerald.

  • I lodged mine on 3rd July via etax. Usually get back in 10 days maximum. Website still says cannot find my details. When I called last week, they said to allow 30 working days. I thought maybe I didn’t lodge it on line properly so went back into file and says I have already lodged it. [

  • I processed 5 returns all online on the 9th July. Only one has received their return. My hubby and I had letters and had to send copies of everything claimed back to them and can expect to wait until end of August. We did ours with a tax agent the last two years, this years claims are the same as previous years,, what a waste of time. And I bet we will have to fight to get our rightful refund.

  • I sent mine through etax on 19th of July and I recieved a mail from ATO yesterday saying that they are reviewing my return and that I may have to wait until 5th of Octorber until I recieve my refund. So frustrating considering I really need the cash to pay some bills. Anyone else recieve the same letter?

    • I logged several eax returns for people who struggle with the whole system on 22nd july,3 out of the 5 got their return within in 10 days .The other 2 have just got a letter saying October as well, the frustrating thing is they both paid over $3000 too much on what they earned due to the employer having ticked the box for a higher rate., neither of them had it explained and they only had one job,they both could only claim no more than $200 in work .expenses,they should get interest as it has been going to the tax office all year .

  • Lodged mine on 2nd August. I expect they will make me wait forever, because of the over $300 in WR deductions.
    So stressful when i need to pay rent. The ATO should be held accountable for a more than 12 business days wait. How about paying the taxpayer interest, for every day they hold back the funds.

  • I lodged mine on 10 July. I received letters from the ATO saying it was going to be held up and the next one requesting more information as my deductions were pretty high. I sent them through via email all of the information they were after and explanations of everything. I was told on Friday 10 August that all of my deductions were approved on their end but now it has to go through the rest of their systems, i.e. centrelink etc and I should receive my refund within 7-10 business days. I think we should be getting paid interest (if there are no issues with the deductions claimed) due to the fact that we are being made to wait so long for something there was nothing wrong with to begin with. If we had to pay they would want it nearly immediately; why should refunding us be any different.

  • My partner did his on the 10th of July and still no tax return. They sent him a letter a week ago saying it was going to be delayed but most of the delays are fixed within the 30 days. They said they would need to check with centrelinj

  • Centrelink, which is odd since he only received one payment the entire financial year which was for a sickness payment. I’m getting pissed off and wish my partner would call them up and demand it back ASAP.

  • Sent my return in on 15th July. I waited 12 days, then waited the full 30 calendar days nice and patiently. On the 31st day. which is apparently today, I called ATO. They have no idea whats holding it up, and tell me to wait another 14 days because my applications has been “escalated.” complete b.s. My return isn’t even that complex as I’m a full-time student living with my parents with not much income.

  • Sent my return on 11 July 2012 and my Husband’s on 12 July 2012. We both received the dreaded delay in processing letter both dated 23 July. Approx 1 week later I received the second letter asking for docs to substantiate claims. As at today, my Husband has not received the second letter nor his return been processed. I would have thought that as we both received the 1st letter on the same date that if he was going to get the second letter he would have got it on the same day as me or not long after. The ato check progress of return tools are hopeless as mine and his say the same thing even though they seem to be at different stages. So I want to know if my Husband is going to receive the second letter or not as it has been long enough especially since I received mine so soon. But there is no avenue where I can find this out as the online tool pretty much says same as calling up and speaking to someone does not get me anywhere either. Seems a bit unfair that we both got this and we were not even claiming that much. It also seems it will just be a waiting game about whether or not he will be getting second letter. Has anyone else experienced this situation? Or has anyone else received the 1st letter and not the second and had their return processed after receipt of the first letter only? If so, how long between the 1st letter and receipt of the the return?

  • I lodged mine through an agent on the 19th of July and 4 weeks later, I haven’t received mine either.

    The ATO’s online service continues to say that it can’t locate my lodgement, so I have to ring them each week to check on the status of my return. I keep getting told that it’s been processed and approved, but I still haven’t received a Notice of Assessment or any money.

    I find it odd that it’s been so slow to return when every year that I’ve done my tax, it’s taken exactly 7 calendar days from submission to appear in my bank account. It’s disappointing.

  • Good luck Clare for me online status check still says we received and will contact you if need anything else. Do you think I should ring them or just Waite.

  • Tesy Im in the same boat as well. I did mine through etax on 19th of july and recieved the letter 2 weeks later saying that it may be delayed until October. I checked online last week for my tax refund status and it now says recieved but not processed and that they will be in touch if they require some more information. Let me know what they say if you get in touch?

  • Just an update. Just checked online and it now says my return has been finalised and refund should be recieved within 5 working days. FINALLY

    To sum it up***
    Lodged through etax on 19th of July
    recieved letter 2 weeks later
    Then just now just checked online saying that it has been finalised and will recieve my refund within 5 days

    So roughly between 35-40 days!!!

  • I lodged on the 4th of July and received a letter stating that my refund has been delayed. I rang again and they decided to put me on a high priority list two weeks ago. On Wednesday I checked my progress of return and it said that it is in it’s final stages and my assessment/or refund will come in the next five days.
    Question: Obviously they had to check something – but does anyone know whether this means an audit and what is the process if it is, Has anyone been audited? and did you received a delay letter followed by in the final stages of processing?

    • Audited yes, you just need to prove to them what you claimed can be backed up with receipts. A delay letter? No. Just the standard “your process will take longer than 30 days”. No dates or timeframes provided. The high priority list is just someone walking over to their table and putting your return back on top of the pile instead of the bottom, doesn’t mean it will get looked at immediately.

  • My partners tax return had a wrong box ticked it was fixed almost 2 weeks ago had the ‘you should receive your note of assessment and tax in 5 days’ still waiting and it’s been almost 14 days. Now it’s saying wait 14 days to get it. Almost been waiting 60 days! I would suggest you keep calling and demanding them to tell you what the hold up is.

  • I lodged my tax return on the 7th of July. After waiting 30 days then told to call back on the 25th if there is no answer, I called back today to find out what is going on. After been on hold for 40 minutes, they still don’t have an answer and I have been on the high priority list for several days already. Same excuse, they don’t know what the hold up is and don’t know when they can pay. I have a prepaid holiday coming up in 2 weeks which costs $7,000 for my wife and I and have no money left to enjoy. My tax return is around $4,000 as a lot of my work consists of travelling overseas and have paid well over $40,000 in taxes last year. Note to ATO – Prepare for an invoice for my time, holiday, interest, phone bills and demand for a handwritten apology from a very senior figure and a Receipt. I want to know what my tax dollars bought.

    • Still nothing. ATO was a client of mine in my previous job. We knew they had issues and the people there in IT were ignorant as hell. They said they had the best systems and people on the job. What a joke. This year I will record their excuses and play it back to them next year when I pay my taxes 2 months late.

  • Lodged mine on the 1st July. rang once on the 1st august with no answers. online check is still not yet processed. havnt bothered ringing up. i guess ill just be patiant till the end of september which will be 3 full months

  • I submitted my return electronically on July 12th but my refund was delayed. After the 6 weeks i contacted them to ask what the problem was and they said that they were waiting for information from my bank about the amount of interest I’d received. I asked if i could send them my statement and they said no. I asked if they had an estimated time frame and they said no. I explained that i wad running out of money and could only afford to buy food for the next week or so and they told me to be patient. I contacted the bank to see if they could speed things up and they said they are not legally required to provide the info until the end of October. Basically nobody gives a dam and i should stop bothering them.

  • Still no answer from the ATO after 2 months. I am sick of this. I called them and they tell me the same thing over and over. I should stop paying my taxes until they pay me my returns and take this shit to court. This is a joke.

  • I am now getting to the point where we should all just give up and realise we aren’t getting it any time soon. They never tell you anything and expect you to wait months for a reason why it’s been delayed. My partner recieved his noa on Tuesday but still hasn’t recieved any money. It’s telling him the amount he Is getting but still no money! Everyone is telling us that you get your noa after they have put the money in your account and it’s making me stress out! The whole reason I made my partner do his tax early was because we were out of money from his surgery an needed the money for our daughters first birthday and now it’s over a months since it was her birthday and still no money! In tired of waiting and sick of their excuses. They can’t even do one thing right when it happens once a year!

  • Still nothing for me either. Called 7 times and emailed them 3 times. No reason provided even after asking and put through 3 people. Lodged on the 7th of July.

  • Mine was lodged on 22 August after they needed extra info. I received at ATO assessment saying what I would be refunded. I chose direct bank deposit and it says my deposit has been forwarded to centrelink. Does centrelink deposit it into my account or is this some form of mistake? I don’t owe centrelink any money.

  • I lodged my tax return on the 1st August on the same day as my partner. He recieved his 10 days later and I still havent recieved my return. Just an e-mail stating that it is delayed. When I phoned to ask what the problem was, I only claimed two items for which I can fax reciepts, the douche bag on the phone said ” I don’t have that information, but I can tell you when your return was lodged” I KNOW WHEN IT WAS LODGED BECAUSE I DID IT!!!!! then you check the progess online and it tells you that your return has been delayed and requires manual processing. This is a joke. What is the point of being able to check the progress if there is no progress. They tax you too much through out the year, generate interest off your money, and then when it comes time for them to so generously return your money too you, its impossible to get it. I do the right thing, don’t make false claims, I have a full time job and I am punished. Time to jump on the dole train and and sit on my butt and do nothing I think. Only way I am going to see my tax money 🙁

    • Did they ask for any additional information?

      I submitted my return on 20th July and haven’t heard any update since. I rang ATO and they couldn’t me anything. The wesbite is showing the same update for the pass several weeks, “We have received your return however it has not yet been processed. We will contact you if we require further information.” 🙁

  • Well I lodged mine on the 6th of August, after almost 30 days a letter saying it was flagged for further review, now a letter today saying my return has to be checked with the information from the employer, its shows the tax i paid they need to check, WHICH MATCHES MY PAYG SUMMARY SO WHY THE HELL CANT I JUST SEND THAT! THEY SAY IT IS DELAYED UNTIL THE 2ND OF NOVEMBER!
    This is what the letter starts with:
    The processing of your recently lodged 2012 tax return will be delayed until we are satisfied that the information in your return is correct. The table below shows the information provided in your 2012 income tax retum that may require further verification: (then it shows my tax of $9336) which matches my payg summary, which matches what THE TAX AGENTS PUT DOWN.
    They have put a time frame down as the 2nd of November!!!

    • Lodged on 23 july, says same thing still received and if takes longer than 42 days then may need manual processing and don’t enquire further until 18th of sep. Do call them or wait on18th.

  • Sorry Jen I was busy can not answer last few days. No they did not ask anything. I rang once to escalate and that’s it. After escalation within 14 days it was in my Account.

  • Mine was lodged by my accountant on 31 August. No news. I am owed $7K. I am a wage earner, so what I claim isn’t anything major – the only reason I am owed $7k is because I havene’t worked this year as I am on maternity leave. My accountant believes that this year the ATO are just refusing to pay any return over a certain amount, to get it entered manually and marry up your group certificate with that of your employer. Which takes months. Last year my return took over three months – apparently I was audited. It annoys me as I employ an accountant to do my fairly simple tax return, I don’t understand why they target low risk people like me.

  • Received TODAY! Lodged 6th August, letter saying delayed, then another saying delayed until NOVEMBER the 2nd, but received the 1st of october, mine to was $7k Happenseveryyear, I think the higher it is the more investigating they do.
    Happy days…. 7 grand!!!!!!!!!

  • Lodged Oct 24th… Letter saying it was delayed Nov 21, still no assessment. I am a non-resident, have been for 10 years and the only AUS income i had last fin year was $420 interest from which no withholding tax was taken. So a very simple return and I owe them money. Odd that it has been delayed! I don’t mind the delay in having to pay at all, but being in the dark isn’t much fun… Would like to know why it was flagged. My Medicare card had expired, but i used the old number so that may have something to do with it…

    Any comments welcome.

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