Tax hacks: How to get your rebate sooner
IF YOU'RE lucky enough to score a tax refund this year, chances are you'll want to get your hands on your sweet, sweet cash immediately.
But unfortunately, there can often be a frustrating and lengthy delay between lodging your return, and your refund actually showing up in your account.
Thankfully, Etax.com.au senior tax agent Liz Russell has shared her top six dos and don'ts to ensure you get your rebate as swiftly as possible.
• Get all of your documentation ready
According to Ms Russell, this includes receipts for work-related expenses, pay slips, bank statements, log books and payment summaries.
• Declare all of your earnings
This can include foreign income, investment property gains, and even money made through trading cryptocurrency.
"The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can tap into hundreds of data sources, including banks, financial institutions and other government agencies, to validate the financial data you've supplied in your tax return," Ms Russell said.
So if the numbers don't match, you can definitely expect to receive a letter from the ATO questioning your tax return.
• Check your personal and bank details are correct
Ms Russell warned Aussies to always check bank details.
"If your tax refund is sent to an incorrect bank account you might not be able to get it back," she said.
"If your name has changed since last year, you should update that information with the ATO before you lodge your tax return to avoid processing delays."
• Rush and miss important information
Ironically, whipping through your form in record time could actually delay your tax refund arriving, as the ATO will hold up processing your tax return if they spot any mistakes or need to query missing information like PAYGs from extra jobs you worked during the year.
"You'll get the job done faster if you go through an experienced tax agent, who will make sure you're claiming all the deductions you're entitled to and not missing any compulsory details," Ms Russell said.
• Panic if you receive a letter from the ATO
Sticking your head in the sand will only delay the processing of your tax refund even further.
"As long as all of the information you've supplied is legitimate, it's simply a matter of supplying the necessary documentation to substantiate the claims you've made in your tax return," Ms Russell said.
• Use tax agents that promise "instant" refunds
According to Ms Russell, there is actually no such thing.
"When you sign a 'same day tax refund' contract, what you're actually getting is a high interest, short-term loan, often with large fees and costly late charges," she said.
"Instant tax refund agents can take as much as 20 per cent or more out of your tax refund and can also charge you a combination of fees and interest that take an even bigger bite out of your wallet."
If the ATO doesn't end up giving you the refund you were expecting, then you will end up owing the whole "instant refund" loan, on top of all the fees and interest.
And if you can't pay it back instantly, you will then be slugged with high interest rates and penalty fees.