Early Tax Return: The Risk You’re Taking When Submitting Too Quickly, According to the ATO

Early Tax Return: The Risk You’re Taking When Submitting Too Quickly, According to the ATO

June 30 has been and gone, folks, and that means it’s time for us all to get moving on our 2024 tax returns. While everyone is going to be at a different place in their preparation for the whole tax time journey, we still have loads of time to get ourselves organised, meaning you don’t need to panic just yet.

In fact, in past years, the ATO has put out statements warning Aussies not to rush when filing their tax returns at the end of the financial year. Slow and steady, right?

In essence, the ATO has shared that you can certainly submit your tax return as early as you like—even on July 1 if you’re eager—but you need to wait for certain documents if you want the return to be accurate. Here’s a quick look at the whole statement and what you should keep in mind for your 2024 tax return.

Why you shouldn’t submit your 2024 tax return early

tax return 2024

In a nutshell, in 2022, Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh issued a statement warning Aussies that they need to ensure they have all the necessary details on hand and have them properly documented before they should consider sending off a tax return to the ATO. The truth of the matter is that, sometimes, statements from your health insurer or bank or whatever it may be, can take a little longer than you might assume – if you rush to file your 2024 tax return early, you might complicate the whole process for yourself as a result.

Loh’s statement read:

“You can lodge on 1 July, but you are punting with your tax return by risking delays to any refund you are owed. If you forget to include everything, you may end up answering questions from the tax office.

“We pre-fill some of the information in your tax return to help you to get it right the first time. We pre-fill information such as your wages, health insurance and interest from banks, this process is usually finalised by late July.

“Thanks to pre-fill, waiting a few extra weeks can make lodging your tax return online quicker and easier.”

If you want to check whether your pre-filled details are up to date or ‘tax ready’ for 2024, you can take a peek in the ATO app or through your myGov account.

In this same update, the ATO shared that people who submit their tax returns early in July are “twice as likely to have their returns adjusted by the ATO”.

“Last July, over 140,000 taxpayers had their 2020–21 tax return amended before the ATO issued their tax assessments,” the ATO’s update shared.

The long and short of it is that submitting your return early not only puts you at risk of missing a document, but you may also forget details because you’re in a hurry. Don’t create stress for yourself later because you didn’t double-check that you had everything properly prepped before submitting.

If you do make a mistake on your tax return, it’s worth noting that you can request an amendment – read more on that here.

The deadline for tax returns on October 31 2024, so take a breath and make sure you’re getting it right the first time.

Lead Image Credit: ATO/MGM

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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