Are you miss­ing out on a tax re­fund?

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - YOUR FINANCE | GARDEN HINTS -

HUN­DREDS of thou­sands of Aus­tralians may be miss­ing out on a tax re­fund this tax time. Last year, the Aus­tralian Tax­a­tion Of­fice (ATO) iden­ti­fied around 200,000 tax­pay­ers who failed to lodge tax re­turns even though they were likely to have re­ceived a re­fund. As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Kath An­der­son said many salary and wage earn­ers end up with a tax re­fund. But some are miss­ing out on their money be­cause they haven’t lodged. “Un­for­tu­nately, the tax of­fice can’t re­turn your money un­til you lodge a tax re­turn,” she said. “We es­ti­mate there are 200,000 in­di­vid­ual salary and wage earn­ers who are likely to have been ei­ther due a re­fund or owed a small amount of tax, but who had not lodged a tax re­turn. “Col­lec­tively, th­ese clients have mil­lions of dol­lars of un­claimed re­funds. “There are a few rea­sons why Aus­tralian’s might not lodge even if they are due a re­fund. “Some might not lodge be­cause they don’t re­alise they need to – maybe they are on a low in­come or haven’t worked re­cently. “Oth­ers might be wor­ried about lodg­ing be­cause they haven’t lodged for sev­eral years, which of­ten causes them stress and anx­i­ety. “The key thing to re­mem­ber is that the ATO is here to help; we want all tax­pay­ers to get it right, and we will as­sist them to do so,” Ms An­der­son said. If you haven’t lodged yet, you have un­til Oc­to­ber 31 to ei­ther lodge your own re­turn, or en­sure you are on your agent’s books. Ms An­der­son said some tax­pay­ers may de­lay lodg­ing their tax re­turn when they ex­pect they may have a debt. “We know some peo­ple put off lodg­ing be­cause they think they’ll owe money, but for self­pre­par­ers the pay­ment is due on Novem­ber 21, whether or not a re­turn is lodged,” Ms An­der­son said. “The ATO will help peo­ple who may have dif­fi­cul­ties pay­ing a tax debt, and work with you to tai­lor a pay­ment plan to your cir­cum­stances. “Some tax­pay­ers may even be able to set up a pay­ment plan on­line de­pend­ing on their cir­cum­stances.” For those tax­pay­ers who are en­ti­tled to a re­fund, most re­turns are pro­cessed in less than two weeks. Over 98 per cent of re­funds this year have is­sued within 12 busi­ness days. How­ever, mis­takes in a re­turn may cause de­lays. For more in­for­ma­tion on mak­ing an amend­ment, visit ato.gov.au/fix­am­is­take or to set up a pay­ment plan, visit ato.gov.au/help­with­pay­ing.

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