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How Long Does A Tax Return Take in Australia? A Comprehensive Guide

May 21

Filing a tax return can be a daunting task for both individuals and businesses in Australia. The process is often arduous and complicated and requires a significant amount of attention to detail. Understanding the process and preparing for it in advance is essential for ensuring an efficient filing experience and getting your refund as soon as possible.

In this article, we will discuss how long the tax return process typically takes and the steps you can take to accelerate the filing of your return.


Understanding the Tax Return Process

The tax return process begins when your employer, financial institution, and any other relevant third parties submit your income and expense information to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Once the ATO has received this information, it is processed to determine the amount of tax you owe or the amount of refund you are due.

The ATO then sends you a notification that includes the assessment of your taxes owing or refund due. If you have filed the correct information on your tax return, then the ATO will accept the details without any further action on your part. However, if the ATO finds discrepancies in the information provided, they may require additional documentation or provide you with a notice that requires you to amend your tax return within 28 days.

Lodging A Tax Return: Individual Taxpayers

Once the ATO has sent you the assessment notice, it’s time to file your tax return. The timing of the filing process will depend on whether you use a registered tax agent or lodge your return yourself.

If you use a registered tax agent, you will generally be given a few weeks to complete the filing process. This allows the tax agent to make any necessary adjustments to your return as well as submit any additional documents or information to the ATO. On the other hand, if you lodge your own return online, you generally need to do so within 21 days from the date of assessment.

Lodging A Tax Return: Business Taxpayers

Business taxpayers in Australia should lodge their tax returns within 28 days of the date of assessment. This period gives businesses time to ensure that their returns are accurate and complete. However, businesses can apply to the ATO for an extension of time if they are unable to meet the deadline.

Accelerating The Tax Return Process

If you’d like to speed up the tax return process, there are a few steps you can take. Firstly, make sure that all the information you provide on your return is accurate and complete. This includes ensuring that all the information provided by your employer or third parties is accurate. Secondly, it’s important to double-check your return to make sure there are no errors. And finally, make sure that you submit your return on time to avoid any delays.

Seeking Professional Assistance

If you’re unsure about filing your tax return or need help understanding the process, you can enlist the help of a registered tax agent. Perth Mobile Tax can provide advice and assistance with lodging your return, and they can also help ensure that all the information provided is correct. 

Dealing With Delays

It’s important to note that delays are common when filing tax returns, as the ATO needs to validate the data and make sure that all the information provided is accurate. Common reasons for delays include incorrect information, inaccurate records, or missing supporting documents. It’s also important to note that the ATO’s processing times vary depending on the type and complexity of the document being lodged.

Tracking Your Tax Return

Once you have submitted your tax return, you can track the progress of your application online via the myGov website. You can check the status of your return to see where it is in the process and whether there are any outstanding issues that need to be addressed.


Knowing how long the tax return process takes is important for anyone planning to file their taxes in Australia. As outlined in this article, the timing of the process depends on several factors, including whether you use a registered tax agent, the accuracy of the information provided, and any delays caused by the ATO. To ensure a smooth and efficient filing experience, it’s important to be aware of the steps you can take to speed up the process and seek assistance if needed.