Five-minute tax returns spark surge in DIY lodgement at ATO

Aug 08, 2015

TAXPAYERS eager to grab a quick refund are taking charge of their own tax return in record numbers.

The Australian Taxation Office says the number of people completing their own tax return last month was 20 per cent higher than a year ago, and included more than 10,000 who lodged on July 1.

The ATO has already handed back 1.85 million refunds, worth $4.8 billion, and says new technologies such as its streamlined online lodgement system myTax have driven the surge in do-it-yourself returns.

Assistant commissioner Graham Whyte said completing a return with myTax could take as little as five minutes and be done on a PC, smartphone or tablet.

“Launched last year, myTax only asks questions relevant to the person lodging and automatically includes information provided by employers, banks, government agencies and other third parties,” he said.

Most of this pre-filled data had now been provided, Mr Whyte said. “In many cases, people just need to review the information, add in a few details and click ‘submit’.

 Quick and easy: There was a big swing towards DIY tax returns in July.

The ATO’s records show that in July almost 800,000 self-lodgers used myTax, more than 400,000 used the 15-year-old longer-form e-tax, and more than two million people lodged through a tax agent.

Deakin University senior lecturer in tax and financial planning Adrian Raftery said the lure of getting money back from the taxman was larger for workers today because many were using their own cars rather than company cars, taking work home and setting up home offices where they could claim deductions for equipment, technology and energy use.

“So there’s the likelihood of a greater refund,” he said.

Dr Raftery said the jump in online returns showed that people had become more comfortable sending personal data over the internet. “An element of trust has been built.”

Trust issues: Tax expert Adrian Raftery says workers are now more comfortable lodging personal information on the internet.

He said online self-lodgement had been aggressively promoted by the ATO. The promise of pre-filled data was another positive, but it increased the risk of people getting their tax wrong by filing too soon and missing things such as investment fund income that had not yet been sent to the ATO.

“The ATO systems had a bad July. A lot of newbies have tried lodging returns online but have had a bad experience. It might not be as popular this time next year,” Dr Raftery said.

The ATO plans to retire e-tax next year, and says myTax will be available for all taxpayers, including rental property owners and sole traders. August

Original article published in The Sunday Times Perth Now on 8 August 2015

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/five-minute-tax-returns-spark-surge-in-diy-lodgement-at-ato/story-fnhnv0wb-1227474485531



Comments

"hi very nice post about tax returns spark surge in DIY lodgement at ATO."

By: patrickhollick on Sep 29, 2015 5:42AM

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  • "I think the Tax Commissioner would unfortunately consider it to be a personal expense Anne - like the purchase of a house would be."

    By: Mr Taxman at Sep 19, 2020 12:35AM

    Post: Claiming car expenses

  • "You can claim the 68 cents per kilometre method but that effectively covers all running costs of your vehicle. If you wanted to claim a % of running costs you will need to keep a 12 week logbook. "

    By: Mr Taxman at Sep 19, 2020 12:32AM

    Post: Claiming car expenses

  • "Its ok to choose from November 2019 for the start of your logbook Liezl. You can essentially chose any 12 week period during the year so long as its representative of your travel throughout the..."

    By: Mr Taxman at Sep 19, 2020 12:29AM

    Post: Claiming car expenses

  • "Yes you will be able to claim travel from one business location to another Rebekah"

    By: Mr Taxman at Sep 19, 2020 12:26AM

    Post: Claiming car expenses

  • "You wouldn't be able to claim upright but need to depreciate it Josh over a number of years."

    By: Mr Taxman at Sep 19, 2020 12:24AM

    Post: Claiming car expenses