Find Out Where the ATO Sends Your Money After a Tax Return

Find Out Where the ATO Sends Your Money After a Tax Return
Image: Getty Images

We’re nearing the end of July and by now, many of us would have begrudgingly gotten our tax returns done. For the curious few out there, the tax office actually provides a breakdown of where your precious tax money is going and what it’s contributing to.

Taxation, and the distribution of it to crucial services, is a necessary policy for any flourishing society but it’s one a lot Australians tend to bemoan. After a hard week, fortnight or month of work, a certain amount of income is deducted and sent to the government.

It’s meant those who rely on government support payments have become the easy target of conservative columnists looking to channel frustration.

A good way to counteract that fallacy is by telling tax payers directly where their taxes are going to. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is doing just that.

After someone completes a tax return, the ATO delivers a tax receipt to their inbox stating which sectors your tax amount has gone to.

These areas can include welfare, which is broken down into aged, disability, families and unemployed, as well as other sectors such as health, defence, education and transport.

Image: ATO

“The Australian Government thanks you for your tax contribution for 2019-20. This statement details Australian Government debt levels and where your personal income tax would be spent, based on the 2019-20 Budget,” the tax receipt outlines.

“Please note that these figures do not reflect recently announced stimulus measures or new debt levels, which will be reflected in the 2020-21 Budget.”

It’s by no means a new thing — the process was first introduced by the tax office back in 2014 for greater transparency and a bit of casual political point scoring.

Either way, it’s definitely worthwhile if you’ve always been curious about how your tax money is being spent.


  • Actually,Sarah, our taxes do none of these things. Governments that are sovereign entities such as Australia do not collect taxes to aid in its spending. They have the power to create any amount of money they wish. They spend money to meet political objectives. They tax to control inflation, reduce the wealth of the inordinately rich and control our “sins” such as alcohol abuse and smoking. These tax distribution tables are feel good bluffs created to make the voter think that their effort is contributing to the social capital.
    The concept of deficits is another bluff where a government costs a budget and then subtracts the tax revenue to create a so called deficit, and we the voter worry that the nation is overspending and so we say it’s ok to have unemployment, paid child care, underfunded hospitals and schools. That deficit shows how much money is being injected into the economy and so funding employment, production and our personal spending. The more there is of that, the better
    Read The Deficit Myth by Stephanie Kelton

Log in to comment on this story!