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Tax Refund Process: What Happens After I Lodge My Tax Return

Oh boy, you’ve submitted your Tax Return and now all we gotta do is wait for that juicy refund to come back into your account… and wait a little longer… and maybe wait a little longer again… 

What’s taking so long? 

Just remember there’s a lot of people around Australia submitting their Tax Returns during tax time, and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)  isn’t super-human – they can’t instantly access your return and give you your ATO refund. 

Understanding the tax refund process might help you sit tight while you’re waiting. In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about the tax refund process, as well as some tricks to stay calm while you wait. 

The tax refund process – what you can do 

Step 1 – lodge your Tax Return 

Alrighty, first thing is first. Before we can start waiting for your tax refund we need to submit your Tax Return to the ATO. When submitting your Tax Return, let’s make sure we do three things: 

  • Be honest with what you’re putting in your Tax Return 
  • Claim as many deductions as possible 
  • Submit your Tax Return within the Tax Return time frame 

Trying to get your Tax Return bang-on 100% correct all by yourself is an impressive feat – certainly not everyone can do it. Luckily for you though, you don’t have to! 

With One Click Life you can get your Tax Return done in a heartbeat with our all-in-one-place autofill platform. You can also get your Tax Return checked by one of our Accountants to avoid any mistakes and ensure you claim every deduction possible to maximise your refund.

Step 2 – get your Notice of Assessment 

After you lodge your Tax Return, the ATO will send you your Notice of Assessment. Now this is nothing to fret over, it simply tells you when the ATO will be paying your refund, and how much. 

The Notice of Assessment the ATO sends you is somewhat like a receipt for your Tax Return. 

Step 3 – sit back and wait for your return 

Once you’ve gotten your refund, it’s time to sit back, get a drink, relax, and wait for your refund to come into your account. At this stage there isn’t much you can do to speed up the process, so hold tight, it’ll come eventually. 

However, if you want to check the status of your return, you can do so on the ATO myGov portal. 

The tax refund process – what the ATO does to get your refund to you

How long does it take the ATO to process a tax refund? 

The amount of time it takes the ATO to process your refund depends quite a lot on how you submit your refund. You can submit your refund either with a:

  • Tax Return online – 14 to 30 days
  • Or, Tax Return by paper – Up to 50 days 

Is there absolutely nothing you can do to get your refund faster? 

Once it is lodged, probably not. But you can lodge it faster with an online tax platform like One Click Life. Save time with pre-filled income details, suggested deductions, or get live help from a qualified accountant, and submit your Tax Return in as little as 60 seconds.

What is the status of your Tax Return? 

After you lodge your Tax Return with the ATO, your Tax Return will undergo 4 status updates on your Tax Return progress. These status updates are: 

1. Processing 

This means that the ATO has successfully received your Tax Return, and they have started processing it. Nothing much happens at this stage so all you can do is wait.

2. Reviewing 

At this stage your Tax Return is being manually reviewed by the ATO so they can make sure everything you declared is right before they finalise it. While your Tax Return is under review, the ATO may also review previous years lodgements. The ATO may contact you if they need more information. 

3. Balancing account 

The ATO balancing your account will evaluate the result of your Tax Return with other government agencies so they can work out how much you need to pay, or how much you will be refunded. The ATO will contact you if they need more information. 

4. Issued 

This is the final stage. You should be able to see a Notice of Assessment online with myGov, along with a date for when you’re entitled for a refund or liable to pay. 

With this process in mind, why might your Tax Return be delayed?

Reasons why your tax refund may be delayed

Sometimes the ATO might need to take a little longer with your Tax Return. This is no reason to panic, most of the time they just want to take a closer look at something you have declared. 

Here are a couple of reasons why this might happen:

If you lodge an Overdue Tax Return.

The ATO usually prioritises current year Tax Returns before looking at any overdue lodgements from previous years – this may lead to a slower processing time.

If you need to lodge an overdue Tax Return, check out our step-by-step guide

If you lodge an Amended Tax Return.

The ATO would take more time to process this, as they would have to bring up the original lodgement and compare the differences between the two before confirming the changes made are legitimate.

Whilst One Click Life is one of the quickest, easiest & fuss-free ways to lodge your online Tax Return, once you’ve hit ‘lodge’, some things are out of our hands & in the ATO’s.

What to do if your tax refund is delayed 

If your tax refund seems to be delayed, the first thing to do is not panic. Just sit tight and let’s wait at least 30 days first. This is because the ATO won’t take any questions about delays until at least 30 days after your first lodgement, so as to give your refund a chance to come back to you. 

If you are worried you should get in contact with one of our Number’s Geek at One Click Life. We can point you in the right direction and help you track down your Tax Return. 

The simplest way to make your tax refund process as easy as possible? 

“Had an accountant call me back to help complete my tax return and who got me a really good refund when I thought it was going to be payable.”

– Rob

One Click Life offers online Tax Returns at your fingertips in an easy-to-use platform run by industry professionals. 

Taxes, health insurance, and wills can be time-consuming and tedious. Our app allows you to be able to do this fuss-free, giving you a simple way to organise, track and manage all of your life admin in one place.
Let One Click Life take care of your Tax Return and life’s essential tasks, so you can spend more time doing the things you love.