Many Australians have rushed to file their tax returns in a bid to get money back.
Many Australians have rushed to file their tax returns in a bid to get money back.

ATO: Five errors catching people out on tax refunds

Cash-strapped Australians rushing to lodge their tax returns are making simple mistakes which are slowing down the processing of their returns.

The Australian Taxation Office's website crashed earlier this month after a record number of people lodged returns.

It is understood 230,000 applications were received in the first two days of July compared to 165,000 for the same time last year.

The ATO's assistant commissioner Karen Foat urged eager Australians to take their time before filing because many were making errors that hold up processing.

"A lot of people who have rushed in to lodge early have left out income out such as employment income, information from banks, bank interest, private health insurance and JobKeeper as an employee and Jobseeker," she said.

"That information is generally ready by the end of July and we tell people who are lodging before then to make sure that information is in there."

The ATO has been inundated with people struggling financially lodging their returns and also others applying to access their superannuation early.

From July 1 through until September 24 eligible Australians can access another $10,000 from their super accounts if they have suffered significant income loss or been made redundant this year.

Shot of a couple using a laptop together while going through paperwork at home
Shot of a couple using a laptop together while going through paperwork at home

Ms Foat said other tax errors included not updating bank details which can cause significant delays in getting money back.

H & R Block's director of communications Mark Chapman urged people to delay filing their tax return until all their information was available.

"The best advice is to generally wait until the second half of July at the earliest if you can," he said.

"There's always the risk if you lodge now you will have to relodge later on if you've missed something out that should have been included."

Some people were also incorrectly calculating the new 80 cents per hour rule for working from home.

"This rate is all inclusive so if you are claiming that, you cannot claim any other working from home expenses," she said.

"For instance you cannot claim depreciation on a laptop as well - you can't."

The ATO is extending this 80 cents per hour shortcut rule through until the end of September.

Taxpayers should also refrain from just doing a carbon copy of last year's tax return because their situation will likely have changed.

For instance if you're working from home your laundry expenses and travel will be different to last year.

TOP 5 MISTAKES

• Leaving out all income for the 2019/20 financial year.

• Not updating the ATO with up-to-date bank details.

• Incorrectly using the 80 cents per hour shortcut rule for working from home.

• Copying last year's return despite circumstances changing.

• Claiming items used as 100 per cent for work use but they are not. For example travel from home to work, tea and coffee expenses.



$50k project gives locals work, readies region for emergencies

Premium Content $50k project gives locals work, readies region for...

“We’ve had two tornado events, two flooding events and several bushfires”

Shocking neglect: Nursing home suffers nine fail govt audits

Premium Content Shocking neglect: Nursing home suffers nine fail govt audits

Aged care: Nine facilities fail audit as damning issues revealed